A Reference Site for Law
Welcome to CrowLaws.org, a website for anyone interested in Crow tribal law.
This website is intended to be a resource for Crow tribal members, Crow Tribal Court practitioners, and anybody else interested in the law governing the Crow Tribe.
Thank you for visiting this website and please check back soon for updates.
Last Update: July 8, 2013
CrowLaws.org sought an administrative appeal from a March 2012 FOIA denial from the BIA (Crow Agency Superintendent) for public documents showing Interior Department approval of Crow tribal budgets.
The following are links to the FOIA appeal documents:
Update: The Department of the Interior, Solicitor's Office, responded to the appeal by writing letters dated May 8th, 2012 indicating that the statutory timeframe under FOIA would not be honored by the agency. This matter will now proceed to federal court.
July 2013 Quarterly Legislative Session
The legislative session was called to order on Monday, July 8th with a recess until Wednesday, July 10th.
June 17, 2013 Special Legislative Session
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May 7, 2013 Special Legislative Session
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April 2013 Quarterly Legislative Session
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March 5-6, 2013 Special Legislative Session
The Crow Legislature passed a bill for an act to amend Title 23 of the Crow Law and Order Code (Crow Tribal Gaming Ordinance). The bill was signed by Chairman Old Coyote, but later implicitly repealed by a subsequent legislative act which also sought to revise the Crow Tribal Ordinance, but with technical revisions made.
The Legislature also passed a tribal joint action resolution giving final approval to a coal lease ("Tract I" of 1904 Ceded Strip) with Westmoreland Resources, Inc, authorized the exploration of coal resources in Tract I, and amended the Fiscal Year 2013 Tribal Budget to authorise the expenditure of $500,000 received as the initial approval bonus from Westmoreland. The tribal resolution has been signed into law by Chairman Old Coyote.
The Legislature also passed a legislative resolution titled: "A Resolution of the Crow Tribal Legislature to Honor God for His Great Blessings Upon the Crow Tribe and to Proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord of the Crow Indian Reservation."
These items will be made available on CrowLaws.org soon.
February 1, 2013 Special Session
The Crow Legislature passed a bill for an act which authorized the expenditure of $2.25 million, as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2013 Tribal Budget. The Executive Branch Chairman signed the bill into law.
Please check back soon.
January 2013 Quarterly Session
The Crow Legislature passed a bill for an act which amended Title 8D of the Crow Law and Order Code (Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act of 2009).
The Legislature also passed a tribal joint action resolution giving final approval to a coal development agreement with Big Metal Coal, LLC (a subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy, Inc.). The Executive Branch Chairman signed the tribal resolution into law.
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December 20th, 2012 Special Session
The Crow Legislature passed a bill for an act authorizing the Fiscal Year 2013 Tribal Budget. The Executive Branch Chairman signed the bill into law.
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December 12th, 2012 Special Session
The Crow Legislature passed a bill for an act titled "An Act to Amend the Crow Traffic Ordinance to Regulate Rates and Services Provided by Commercial Towing Companies" with a 14-0 vote. This legislation (CLB 12-04) was vetoed (pocket veto) by the Executive Branch Chairman.
The Legislature also passed a legislative resolution establishing a tribal policy providing semi-annual cost of living expense payments to the elected officials of the Legislative Branch. This resolution, LR 12-10, will be made available on CrowLaws.org soon.
October 2012-November 2012 Special Session
The Crow Legislature did not adopt any legislation and did not pass any legislative resolutions or confirm any nominations during the October-November 2012 special session.
October 2012 Quarterly Session
The Crow Legislature did not adopt any legislation and did not pass any legislative resolutions or confirm any nominations during the October 2012 regular session.
October 1-2, 2012 Special Session
The Crow Legislature passed an amended version of the Executive Branch Chairman's proposed fiscal year 2013 budget, providing for a three-month extension of the 2012 fiscal year at adjusted spending authorization levels.
The Executive Chairman signed the bill into law under protest on October 4th.
CLB 12-03: An Act to Provide for the Extension of the Fiscal Year 2012 Tribal Budget for Three Months in Order to Authorize the Expenditure of Tribal Revenue and Continue the Operations of Crow Tribal Government
August 29th, 2012 Special Session
The Crow Legislature passed two legislative resolutions in a special session held on Wednesday, August 29th, 2012.
LR 12-08: A Resolution of the Crow Tribal Legislature to Authorize an Administrative Appeal of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Approval of Illegal Grazing Permits in the Big Horn Mountains Issued by the Executive Branch Chairmn Black Eagle
LR 12-09: A Resolution of the Crow Tribal Legislature to Call a Meeting of the Crow Tribal General Council for the Purpose of Receiving a Report from the Legislature
July 2012 Quarterly Legislative Session
The Crow Legislature passed several joint action resolutions introduced by the Executive Branch Chairman which serve as limited waivers of the Crow Tribe's sovereign immunity for purposes of various agreements with the State of Montana.
JAR 12-05: Resolution Approving the Crow Tribe's Limited Waiver of Sovereign Immunity in the Pending Montana Coal Board Grant for Tribal Water Treatment Plant in Crow Agency
JAR 12-06: Resolution Approving the Crow Tribe's Limited Waiver of Sovereign Immunity in the 2012 Montana Department of Commerce ICED Program Agreement
JAR 12-07: Resolution Approving the Crow Tribe's Limited Waiver of Sovereign Immunity in the Master Agreement Between the State of Montana, Department of Public Health and Human Services and the Crow Tribe
The Crow Legislature also voted with a two-thirds majority as required to override the Executive Branch Chairman's veto of a joint action resolution originally passed in April 2012 which seeks to establish and recognize the No Water Cultural District of the Crow Reservation as a matter of Crow tribal law. This tribal resolution, Joint Action Resolution 12-02, will take effect on the first day of the October quarterly session unless the Executive Branch Chairman refers the legislation to the Crow Tribal General Council via referendum.
The Crow Legislature did not pass any bills or legislative resolutions and did not have any nominations for any tribal positions requiring confirmation.
May 24th, 2012 Special Legislative Session
The Crow Legislature passed one joint action resolution and two legislative resolutions during the May 24th, 2012 special session.
The joint action resolution ratified and gave final approval to a proposed lease of tribal sand and gravel to the Crow Tribal Transportation Department. The tribal resolution, Joint Action Resolution 12-03, took effect upon signature by the Executive Branch Chairman on June 1st, 2012.
LR 12-06: A Resolution of the Crow Tribal Legislature to Modify the Fiscal Year 2012 Legislative Branch Budget
LR 12-07: A Resolution of the Crow Tribal Legislature to Protest the Legality of Executive Branch Chairman Cedric Black Eagle’s April 27th,2012 Waiver and Release of Claims on Behalf of the Crow Tribe, and to Protest the Waiver and Release of Crow Allottee Claims by the Secretary of the Interior
Please click here for a copy of the official Legislative Branch press release.
Chairman Signs April 2012 Legislation into Tribal Law, Vetoes No Water Resolution
The Executive Branch Chairman has signed Appendix B to the Crow Coal Mining and Reclamation Code into law.
The Chairman also signed the Loose Livestock Bill into law, as well as the joint action resolution to establish a junk vehicle abatement program.
The Chairman, however, enacted a pocket veto of the joint action resolution which sought to recognize and establish the No Water cultural district of the Crow Reservation.
April 2012 Quarterly Legislative Session
The Crow Legislature passed two bills, two joint action resolutions, and one legislation resolution during the April 2012 regular session.
The two bills were as follows: An Act for the Protection of Stray Animals and the General Public ("Loose Livestock Bill") and Appendix B to the Crow Coal Mining and Reclamation Code.
The joint action resolutions were as follows: a Joint Action Resolution to Establish a Junk Vehicle Abatement Program and a Joint Action Resolution to Recognize and Establish as a Matter of Crow Tribal Law that the No Water Region of the Valley of the Chiefs District Shall be a Cultural District of the Crow Reservation.
The legislative resolution gave special recognition and honor to the military career of Julia Kelly, a Crow tribal member, for 28 years in the U.S. Army.
Please click here for the official Legislative Branch press release.
In addition, two bills which the Legislature passed in the October 2011 regular session which were vetoed by the Tribal Chairman and which the vetoes were overridden in January 2012 regular session became tribal law the first day of the April 2012 session. These bills are as follows:
CLB 11-06, sponsored by the Mighty Few District, directs the Executive Branch to enter into a memorandum of agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the purpose of investigation and enforcement of federal and tribal eagle protection laws.
CLB 11-05, sponsored by the Black Lodge District, rescinds CLB 02-17 and requires Legislative Branch final approval on all future waivers of Crow tribal sovereign immunity.
March 14th, 2012 Special Legislative Session
The Crow Legislature passed two legislative resolutions during the March 14th, 2012 special session.
The first resolution, LR 12-03, was a notice to the Crow Tribal Department of Transportation that the current sand and gravel operations in the Big Horn District are authorized to continue until further notice.
The second resolution, LR 12-04, called upon Montana's Congressional Delegation to take all necessary and proper measures to impeach and remove Chief Montana U.S. District Court Judge Richard Cebull for his racist e-mails sent on February 22nd, 2012.
January 2012 Regular Legislative Session
The Crow Legislature passed two legislative resolutions during the January 2012 quarterly session.
The first resolution, LR 12-01, is a recommendation to Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to appoint William Yellowtail to the National Council for Native American Farmers and Ranchers.
The second resolution, LR 12-02, is the establishment of a salary rate for the Legislative Branch Staff Attorney.
The Legislature also overrode the vetoes of the Tribal Chairman from legislation passed in the October 2011 regular session.
December 15th, 2011 Special Legislative Session
The Crow Legislature passed two legislative resolutions during the December 15th, 2011 special session.
The first resolution was the establishment of a Legislative Branch Staff Attorney position.
The second resolution gave final approval to the land transfer request by the Crow Tribe to the Bureau of Indian Affairs as contained in Tribal Joint Action Resolution 10-01.
The final approval resolution will be made available on CrowLaws.org soon.
November 21st, 2011 Special Legislative Session
The Crow Legislature passed a legislative resolution which modifies the fiscal year 2012 Legislative Branch budget to increase the budget line item titled "salaries" by $16,800 and to reduce the budget line item titled "contracted services" by the same amount. The measure passed with a 15-0 vote.
A copy of this resolution will be made available on CrowLaws.org soon.
October 2011 Regular Legislative Session
The Crow Legislature passed two bills. One, sponsored by the Mighty Few District, directs the Executive Branch to enter into a memorandum of agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the purpose of investigation and enforcement of federal and tribal eagle protection laws. The second, sponsored by the Black Lodge District, rescinds CLB 02-17 and would require Legislative Branch final approval on all future waivers of Crow tribal sovereign immunity.
These bills were vetoed by the Executive Branch Chairman Cedric Black Eagle.
September 29th, 2011 Special Legislative Session
The Crow Legislature passed a bill for the fiscal year 2012 tribal budget, which had been introduced by the Executive Branch Chairman prior to the July 2011 regular session. The bill has been signed by the Executive Branch Chairman and approved by the Secretary of Interior's designee.
In addition, the Legislature passed a legislative resolution which denied the confirmation of tribal prosecutor Diane Cabrera. Crow tribal law (CLB 05-01) requires the tribal prosecutor to be confirmed before taking office.
CrowLaws.org will post these documents as soon as they become available.
September 14th, 2011 Special Legislative Session
The Crow Legislature passed a legislative resolution which established due process protections for Legislative Branch employees and called upon the Crow Executive Branch to recognize that tribal employment should be considered a property right protected by the due process clause of the 2001 Crow Constitution and the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968. The resolution also announced that a top priority of the Legislature will be to adopt legislation to amend the Crow Nation Workforce Protection Act to establish a property interest in tribal employment protected by the due process clause.
CrowLaws.org will post this resolution as soon as it becomes available.
August 25th, 2011 Special Legislative Session
The Crow Legislature passed two legislative resolutions: one which disciplined Senator Two Leggins (Black Lodge) for being found guilty of an alcohol-related offense and one which amended the title of the Treaty Committee of the Legislature to now be be known as the "Treaty Rights and Crow Tribal Cultural Committee," with jurisdiction over the development and review of laws and policies pertaining to Crow tribal culture.
CrowLaws.org will post these resolutions as soon as they become available.
Special Session on July 27th
The Crow Legislature passed a legislative resolution which denied the Executive Branch Chairman's request for a modification to the fiscal year 2011 tribal budget. Click here for a copy of Legislative Resolution 11-11.
Crow General Council Meets for First Time in 10 Years
The constitutional governing body of the Crow Tribe, the Crow Tribal General Council, met for the first time in just over ten years on Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 at the Apsaalooke Center ("multi-purpose building") in Crow Agency. The Council meeting included presentations by the elected Executive Branch officials and various other tribal officials. The Crow Legislature did not take part in the General Council meeting.
July 2011 Regular Session
CrowLaws.org will make available all legislation passed during the July 2011 regular session as soon as it becomes available.
Special Session on July 5th
The Crow Legislature passed two legislative resolutions: Legislative Resolution 11-09 calls for a federal investigation into the financial activities of the Executive Branch and Legislative Resolution 11-10 establishes a house rule requiring a written and signed delegation of authority to speak on behalf of the Tribal Chairman concerning pending legislation.
Special Session on June 29th
The Crow Legislature passed a legislative resolution which modifies the Legislative Branch budget.
CrowLaws.org will post this resolution as soon as it becomes available.
Tribal Secretary Calls for July 23rd General Council Meeting
For the first time in over ten years, the Crow Tribal General Council appears to be meeting after Tribal Secretary Scott Russell June 28th announcement. the meeting is scheduled to take place at the Apsaalooke Center (multi-purpose building) from 9:30 a.m. to about 5:00 p.m. Under the 2001 Constitution, the General Council is supposed to meet twice each year to receive reports from the Executive Branch and Legislature. No meetings under the 2001 Constitution have ever taken place.
Legislature Files Writ of Mandamus Against Tribal Court Administrator
On June 17th, 2011 the Legislature filed a petition for a writ of mandamus against the Crow tribal court administrator and appellate court clerk Donna Falls Down. The writ seeks to compel Falls Down to provide a copy of the post-2002 decisions of the Crow Court of Appeals to the Legislature (the public currently does not have access to the decisions). The writ was filed with the Crow Court of Appeals panel assembled for CV 10-346 (Black Eagle v. Legislature, which includes Judge Carolynn Fagan, Judge Heather Corson, and Judge Carrie La Suer).
Update: the Crow Court of Appeals has not responded to the petition as of August 24th, 2011. Donna Falls Down is no longer employed with the Crow Judicial Branch and it appears doubtful any response or acknowledgement of the petition from the Appellate Court will be made to the petitioner.
Executive Branch and Legislative Branch Constitutional Disagreements Going to Tribal Court
The Tribal Chairman has sued the Crow Legislature to declare CLB 11-01 (FMA amendments) unconstitutional; Click here for a copy of the lawsuit (CV 11-193), which was filed on June 10th, 2011.
Updates: On July 8th, 2011 the Crow Tribal Court, Chief Judge Julie Yarlott presiding, issued a temporary restraining order against the Chairman and the Legislature from enforcing the FMA amendments. This TRO was issued upon motion by the Chairman (through an amended complaint) seeking a restraining order against the Legislature, which the Legislature argued violated Rule 9 of the Crow Rules of Civil Procedure (for failure to seek leave of the court to amend a filed complaint). On July 29th, 2011 Judge Yarlott issued an order consolidating CV 10-346 (Chairman's suit against Legislature to declare CLB 10-02 unconstitutional), CV 11-193, and CV 11-207 (Legislature's petition for a wirt of quo warranto to prevent the Chairman from enacting "Executive Branch resolutions") into one case ruling that the three cases shared "common issues of law or fact." Judge Yarlott ruled that the Chairman's amended complaint did indeed violate the Crow Rules of Civil Procedure, but the order effectively continued the TRO sua sponte (note: while the TRO only applies to the Executive Branch Chairman, it may be perceived by the Judicial Branch to apply to all officers of the Crow Executive Branch, including the other elected Executive Branch Officials).
Judge Yarlott's July 29th order also contained language with ordered the parties to negotiate a compromise and, if no settlement is reached, to employ the use of a mediator to facilitate a settlement.
Notably, the Legislature's preemptory arguments of the Chairman's lack of standing and the sovereign immunity of the Legislative Branch never having been waived so as to allow this type of suit were denied by Judge Yarlott. The parties together on August 9th motioned the lower court for a stay of all deadlines for either party to submit an appeal to the Crow Court of Appeals (which currently does not have a legislatively-confirmed Chief Appellate Judge).
Crow TERO Regulations Are Final
On June 1st, 2011 the Crow Tribal Employment Rights Commission promulgated regulations pursuant to the 2009 Crow Nation Workforce Protection Act. Please click here for a copy of the regulations.
April 2011 Regular Session of the Crow Tribal Legislature
Crow Agency, Montana --
The April 2011 Regular Session of the Legislature concluded after only two days of business on Wednesday, April 13th with two veto override votes (see: official Legislative Branch press release), a Joint Action Resolution passed which seeks to establish a stronger Crow Office of Veteran's Affairs, and two Legislative Resolutions, one which establishes a Legislative Branch policy for Legislative Branch vehicles and one which expresses to Westmoreland Resources (the owner/operator of the Absaloka Mine) that all Crow workers should be paid fair and just wages, as required by the 2004 Lease Agreement with the Crow Tribe.
Full copies of each legislative item will be available on CrowLaws.org soon.
Crow Tribal General Council Approves Crow-Montana Water Compact and Crow Water Rights Settlement Act
Crow Indian Reservation, Montana --
With an unofficial vote tally of 2323 in favor and 938 opposed, the enrolled adult members of the Crow Tribe decided on the March 19th Reservation-wide referendum vote to move forward with a water compact between the Tribe, Montana, and United States.
February 22nd Special Session of the Crow Tribal Legislature
CLB 11-03: A Bill for an Act titled "An Act to Amend the Election Ordinance to Establish and Affirm the Procedures for Tribal Ratification Votes, Including the Crow Tribe-Montana Water Compact and the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlment Act of 2010." Note: Chairman Black Eagle signed this bill into law.
LR 11-03: A Resolution of the Legislature for the Confirmation of Janine Pease as Cabinet Head of the Crow Tribal Education Department.
In Re Matter of Leroy Not Afraid, 2010 MT 285
December 22nd, 2010
Helena, MT -- Once again, Leroy Not Afraid challenges the bounds of Crow tribal sovereignty and, once again, he proves his case right. Judge Not Afraid wins before a strong majority of the Montana Supreme Court on the question of whether or not his 2009 campaign for Crow Tribal Chairman violated state law since at the time he was a sitting county justice of the peace. The Court ruled in Judge Not Afraid's favor.
Congressional Passage of the Crow Water Rights Settlement Act
Washington, D.C. -- With the U.S. House of Representatives taking action in approval on November 30th, 2010 (the U.S. Senate had previsouly passed the measure), the Congress effectively passes the Claims Resolution Act of 2010, which includes (as Title IV) the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlment Act. President Obama signed the legislation into law on December 8th.
Crow Tribal Bar Exam Enjoined by Tribal Court through Lawsuit Filed by CrowLaws.org Founder/Editor Jay Harris
Crow Agency --
Holding that Eldena Bear Don't Walk did not administer the January 2010 bar exam in a way that was fair on its face and did not grade Harris's exam fairly and impartially, the Crow Tribal Court on June 11th, 2010 enjoined Bear Don't Walk from administering the exam in the future. As of August 2011 the injunction is still in effect. Click here for a copy of the order granting a temporary injunction.
Update: On March 6th, 2012 a special panel of the Crow Court of Appeals reversed the lower court, ruling that sovereign immunity bars any suit against Eldena Bear Don't Walk for her administration of the Crow bar exam. Click here for a copy of the opinion.
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