Relevant Court Cases

Elk v. United States (2009)  Full Court document as PDF

A court victory by a Native American woman from Wounded Knee, S.D., may pave the way for Navajos who have been injured by federal government officials to get compensation.

The woman, Lavetta Elk, received a judgment from a federal judge requiring the federal government to pay her $600,000 after she was sexually assaulted by an Army recruiter in his car in January 2003.

Judge Francis Allegra based his ruling on a “bad man” provision in the April 28, 1868, treaty between the government and the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

That provision provides that if “bad men” among the whites commit “any wrong” upon the person or property of any Sioux, the federal government will reimburse the injured person.
This marks the first time that a federal court has made such a ruling.

United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians (1980)  Full Court document as PDF

United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, 448 U.S. 371 (1980), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that: 1) the enactment by Congress of a law allowing the Sioux Nation to pursue a claim against the United States that had been previously adjudicated did not violate the doctrine of separation of powers; and 2) the taking of property that was set aside for the use of the tribe required just compensation, including interest.

The money was refused by the Sioux Nation as they wanted return of the land.