Pueblo of Jemez v. United States

Attorney: Kim Jerome Gottschalk

In July 2014, NARF filed an amicus brief on behalf of the National Congress of American Indians in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit supporting the Jemez Pueblo’s claim of aboriginal title to land purchased by the United States and put into the Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico. (Read NARF’s related press release.)  The district court had denied the pueblo’s claim, holding that the Indians Claims Commission Act transmuted all aboriginal title claims into monetary claims and the pueblo should have sued under that act for loss of its aboriginal title.

Oral argument in the appeal was held November 13, 2014 at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. On June 26, 2015 the Court of Appeals issued a favorable decision remanding the case to the district court where the pueblo will have an opportunity to prove up its aboriginal title.

United States has filed a petition for rehearing en banc and Pueblo of Jemez was asked to, and did, respond. The Court denied the petition for rehearing on November 20, 2015.

It is unclear if the United States will petition the Supreme Court for a grant of certiorari.