Judge signs order to dismiss tribe suit
Scott Brodfuehrer | Wednesday, January 28, 2004
A federal judge has signed an order to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Hannahville Indian Community against Notre Dame and the U.S. Government once either a settlement is reached or the government grants additional land for the tribe’s reservation.The lawsuit claimed that part of Notre Dame’s campus belonged to the tribe, which is a successor of the Potawatami Tribe. The suit claimed the state of Indiana illegally transferred land belonging to the Potawatami to Notre Dame.Under the first option, Notre Dame spokesman Matt Storin said that if a settlement is reached, it would likely not require payment by the University. The second option for dismissing the suit would require the President of the United States to issue an Executive Order directing the Secretary of the Interior to give non-contiguous land to the tribe in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois to be added to the tribe’s reservation.The tribe’s reservation is currently located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where it owns and operates Chip-In’s Island Resort and Casino in Harris, Mich.Robert Miller Jr., the chief judge for the South Bend division of the United States District Court, signed the order of dismissal Monday. It followed a stipulation of dismissal that was filed Jan. 22 by Michael Walleri and John Hamilton, attorneys for the tribe, and University Deputy General Counsel William Hoye that called for dismissal if either of the two options were met.Storin said the University does not have a preference for either option, but would be happy to see the lawsuit end.”We have from the beginning had every confidence that we have proper title to the land,” Storin said.