Mille Lacs Band Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin shared the following message with Band members on Wednesday, December 23, regarding the Band's current lawsuit with Mille Lacs County et al.:
On Monday, December 21, the Federal Court issued a ruling on the Band’s lawsuit against Mille Lacs County, the County Attorney and County Sheriff. The ruling addresses several threshold issues in the case. It does not address the merits — that is, whether the Mille Lacs Reservation still exists and the scope of the Band’s law enforcement authority within the Reservation.
In the ruling by Judge Susan Richard Nelson, the court determined that it has “jurisdiction” to hear the Band’s case, that the Band has “standing” to pursue its case, and that the County Attorney and County Sheriff are not “immune” from the Band’s claims. In ruling that the Band has “standing,” the court agreed with the Band that the actions of the County Attorney and County Sheriff had interfered with the Band’s law enforcement authority and that their actions had harmed Band police officers, the Band police department and public safety on the Reservation.
These rulings mean that the Band’s case can proceed to a decision on the merits. The parties are currently preparing motions that will address the Reservation boundary issue. Those motions will be filed in February and argued in March 2021.
For the Chief Executive's video update, see https://youtu.be/_PHeRsZ0yho.