South Dakota justices decide they lack jurisdiction in Marty Indian School case

Capitol News Bureau
KELO scales of justice court

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — State Circuit Judge Bruce Anderson was correct when he ruled South Dakota didn’t have jurisdiction in a lawsuit brought by a former principal against Marty Indian School and some of its school board members and faculty, the South Dakota Supreme Court has decided.

Chief Justice David Gilbertson wrote the unanimous decision that was publicly released Thursday.

Timothy Stathis was principal at Marty Indian School on the Yankton Sioux Indian Reservation. He was dismissed December 1, 2017. The Yankton Sioux Tribe operates the school, which receives funding from the federal Bureau of Indian Education.

The chief justice said Judge Anderson’s dismissal of the case aligned with a previous decision by the state’s high court regarding federal preemption in a suit that a non-Indian brought against another tribal government.

“Together, the (federal) Self-Determination Act and the (federal) Tribally Controlled Schools Act show a clear intent of Congress to preempt state court entanglement into the education of Indians living on the reservation. MIS is a legal entity of the Yankton Sioux Tribe,” Gilbertson wrote.

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