The Hoopa-Yurok cases in context




n    Nonmember Indians’ claims to tribal timber in the Short and related cases produced, over a period of 30 years, an urgent need for the Hoopa-Yurok Settlement Act.

n    Now, Congress must act pursuant to Section 14(c) of the 1988 Act.


1950 Hoopa Valley Tribe Constitution approved

n    1933 Hoopa Constitution replaced

n    A,B membership rolls [lists] approved; C roll in 1953

n    Opinion: Rights of the Indians of the HVR (Feb. 5, 1958)

n    Timber sales on Hoopa “Square” feasible after World War II


Short v. United States (filed March 27, 1963)

n    Williams family hired Harold Faulkner, Esq.

n    1967--court directed 3,323 plaintiffs to intervene

n    1975 or later--528 more plaintiffs (Ackley, Aanstad cases, etc.)


Mattz v. Arnett (Supreme Court 1973)

n    Klamath River Reservation still exists

n    1855 reservation was ideal for Yuroks

n    KRR was added to the “Square” reservation in 1891

n    Opinion: 412 U.S. 481


Short I (Court of Claims 1973)

n    All “Indians of the Reservation” must share in revenues distributed

n    No vested rights existed in 1864-91

n    Extension of Square in 1891 gave additional Indians equal rights with those of the Square

n    Opinion: 202 Ct. Cl. 870, portion at 486 F.2d 561


BIA implementation of Short I

n    70/30 split of revenues began in 1974 when certiorari denied

n    70% account “Indians of the Reservation” clarified in 1975

n    Gerard Plan” for Hoopa and Yurok tribes announced in 1978; later changed to issue by issue” process

n    “Reservation-wide” account replaces 70/30% accounts


Beaver v. Interior blocks Yurok organization

n    Injunction: halts Yurok election

n    Referendum rejects Gerard Plan

n    Judgment: restricts BIA efforts to aid Yurok tribal government


Short II (Court of Claims 1981)

n    Yurok tribe won’t be substituted in lieu of the individual plaintiffs

n    Qualification standards for Indians of Res. based on HVT membership

n    Opinion: 661 F. 2d 150

n    Cert. denied 455 U.S. 1034 (1982)


Short III (Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit 1983)

n    Motion to dismiss case denied

n    Jurisdiction exists under 25 U.S.C. 407 (timber)

n     A-E standards and “manifest injustice” exception approved

n    No declaratory judgment intended

n    Opinion: 719 F.2d 1133

n    Cert. denied 467 U.S. 1256


Short IV (Claims Court 1987)

n    Damages payable based on per capita distributions only

n    No damages from Hoopa tribal government expenditures

n    Plaintiffs have no right to “escrow” funds

n    Opinion: 12 Cl. Ct. 36


Puzz v. Interior Department (N.D. Cal. 1988)

n    BIA must run reservation and consult with all Indians of the Reservation

n    Community Advisory Committee process established

n    Hoopa Tribal Council advisory only

n    Opinion: 1988 WL 188462


Congressional proceedings on Hoopa-Yurok Settlement

n    House Interior & Insular Affairs Comm. Hearing on H.R. 4469 (June 21, 1988)

n    Senate Indian Affairs Comm. Oversight Hearing (June 30, 1988)

n    Congressional Research Service report to House Interior & Insular Affairs Comm., on questions re H.R. 4469 (Sept. 13, 1988)

n    Senate Indian Affairs Comm. Hearing on S. 2723 (Sept. 14, 1988)

  House Report 100-938 Part 1 (Sept. 16, 1988)

n    House Judiciary Comm. Hearing on H.R. 4469 (Sept. 30, 1988)

n    Senate Report 100-564 gives full explanation



Pub. L. 100-580, Hoopa-Yurok Settlement Act (Oct. 31, 1988)

n    Reservation divided when Hoopa claims waived

n    Settlement Roll prepared based on Short standards

n    Funds divided based on rolls (and waivers)

n    Suits must be in Court of Federal Claims

n    Act partly codified at 25 U.S.C. 1300i et seq.


Section 14(c) report, 25 U.S.C. 1300i-11(c)

n    Secretary recommends to Congress after suits

n    Additional appropriations needed to implement terms of Act

n    “Any modifications to the resource and management authorities established”

n    No judgment payable until after Sec. 14(c) report


Karuk v. United States (complaint filed 1990)

n    Claimed rights in Square and Extension taken by HYSA

n    Similar complaint filed by Ammon group (like Short plaintiffs) (1991)

n    Similar complaint by Yurok Tribe (1992)

n    All Yurok members also in Ammon (plaintiff groups overlap)


Short V (Court of Federal Claims 1992)

n    Plaintiffs get interest on their damages because trust funds earn interest

n    Opinion: 25 Cl.Ct. 772


Shermoen v. U.S. (9th Cir. 1992)

n    Dist. court dismissed claims of Yurok plaintiffs and Resighini tribe

n    HYSA unreviewable in case without Hoopa and Yurok tribes as parties

n    Sovereign immunity not defeated by suing councilmen

n    Opinion: 982 F.2d 1312

n    Cert. denied 509 U.S. 903 (1993)


Heller, Ehrman v. Babbitt (D.C. Cir. 1993)

n    Short plaintiffs’ attorneys seek share of Settlement Fund

n    Dist. court enjoined part of HYSF payments

n    Attorneys can’t get monies except in Court of Federal Claims, so Ct.App. dismissed

n    Opinion: 992 F.2d 360

n    Subsequent CFC case Duke, Gerstel v. U.S. settled


Short VI (Court of Federal Claims 1993)

n    No damages for Hoopa $5,000 per capita authorized by HYSA

n    Plaintiffs not entitled to escrow funds

n    Heller firm not disqualified

n    Opinion: 28 Fed. Cl. 590


Karuk Tribe v. United States (Court of Federal Claims 1993)

n    Plaintiffs’ claims threaten Hoopa exclusive rights in HVR

n    HVT can intervene to protect its interest under HYSA

n    Opinion: 28 Fed. Cl. 694


Short VII (Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit 1995)

n    Short IV, V and VI  are upheld

n    2,612 plaintiffs (or their heirs) paid

n    $23,561 maximum payment

n    Opinion: 50 F.3d 994


Karuk Tribe v. United States (Court of Federal Claims 1998)

n    Plaintiff tribes and individuals had no vested property rights taken by HYSA

n    Opinion: 41 Fed. Cl. 468


Karuk Tribe v. United States (Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit 2000)

n    CFC Karuk Tribe rulings upheld

n    Opinion: 209 F.3d 1366

n    Cert. petitions denied 523 U.S. 941 (2002)



n    All court challenges to the Settlement Act have failed. 

n    Now, Congress must act on the Secretary’s “Section 14(c)” Report.