Category Archives: Conflicts of Law

Native American Tribe Asserts Sovereignty Over Dispute Between Members: Does Tribal Council or Court Determine Rights at the Poospatuck Reservation?

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Our Courts regularly and routinely resolve mundane and general differences between Federal and State Law (e.g. the FAA v. the CPLR). But, as a recent case illustrates, the Court is sometimes confronted with more unusual and specific conflicts of law.

The Unkechaug Indian Nation is an Indian tribe recognized by the State of New York, which occupies the Poospatuck Reservation in Suffolk County. In this action, the Nation sought a declaratory judgment and a permanent injunction enforcing the Tribal Council’s April 12, 2018 decision and order confirming the right of Curtis C. Treadwell, a blood-right member of the Nation, to possess the whole of certain real property known as 198 Poospatuck Lane, including a disputed portion thereof, referred to by the defendant Danielle Treadwell, another blood-right member of the Nation, and SmokesRUs, Inc., as 194 Poospatuck Lane, all of which lies within the bounds of the Reservation. The Nation sought declarations that a 2010 certificate conferring possessory rights to the property on Curtis was valid, while a purported 2013 certificate conferring possessory rights to the disputed portion of the property on Danielle was null and void.

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