Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota

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The band is asking District Judge Georgia Dawson to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks to condemn 1.4 acres the band owns in Cass County because it is a sovereign nation and immune to the proceedings. The Cass County Joint Water Board filed condemnation proceedings March 7 against the band and former landowner Roger Shea. The board plans to build a dam nearby to control flooding along the Maple and Sheyenne rivers. West Fargo attorney Steve McCullough argues the court has jurisdiction over the land. "The thing being argued about is the land, not the tribe,'' McCullough said. Judge Dawson will hear arguments June 6. The land is along the Maple River in southwestern Cass County. Shea traded the land last year to the Turtle Mountain Band for a stack of blankets and beadwork, saying he hoped the land transfer would stall the dam project. The condemnation action was filed against him as well as the tribe because the water board believes he still holds grazing rights to the land.