- Associated Press - Friday, May 12, 2017

SEATTLE (AP) - A judge has dismissed an American Indian tribe in Washington’s lawsuit against the federal government, ruling the council that filed it wasn’t recognized as a legitimate governing body.

The Bellingham Herald reports (https://goo.gl/Z2U7sx ) U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour’s ruling Thursday was the latest move in a legal clash over the Nooksack Tribe’s decision last year to remove 289 of its members.

The council said those people didn’t have strong enough blood ties to the tribe. The lawsuit claimed the federal government was wrongfully withholding $13.7 million over the council’s actions.

But the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs decided it wouldn’t recognize any actions by the tribal council because the terms of several members had expired and no election had been held.

Coughenour said if tribal leadership was recognized after new elections then that leadership could initiate an action against the federal government.

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Information from: The Bellingham Herald, https://www.bellinghamherald.com

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