In a win for Hogen Adams’s clients, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has held that the 1854 Treaty of La Pointe prevents the State of Wisconsin from levying property taxes on tribes or tribal members within the four reservations in Wisconsin established by that Treaty. The state had contended that it could tax any reservation lands that ever passed out of Indian ownership, even if currently held by a tribe or a tribal member. The Seventh Circuit disagreed, concluding that, “in light of [the] historical evidence in the record,” the 1854 Treaty “is best read to promise tax immunity even for reacquired lands.”
The affected tribes are the Lac Courte Oreilles, Bad River, Red Cliff, and Lac du Flambeau Bands of Lake Superior Ojibwe (Chippewa). Vanya Hogen led the firm’s team, which included Andrew Adams III, Peter J. Rademacher, and Leah K. Jurss. The case is Lac Courte Oreilles, et al. v. Evers, et al.