Friday, October 3, 2008

Legal status of Nickelsville: update

Turns out that UIATF (United Indians of All Tribes Foundation) leases the 20 acres that Daybreak Star is on from the City of Seattle. The federal government deeded land that used to be Fort Lawton to the City of Seattle, on condition that the City lease 20 acres of it to the UIATF.

The City contends that the lease requires the UIATF to abide by city land use codes, and that hosting Nickelsville would be a violation of those codes. The posted 72-hour "Notice to Remove" signs Thursday afternoon. The Northwest Justice Project has filed an injunction on Nickelsville's behalf, and the City has agreed to hold off on sweeping Nickelsville until after the court hearing Monday morning.

I was not at the legal meeting this afternoon, between NJP and Nickelsville, so I don't know what arguments they are actually using. From my own experience (not as a lawyer, but as a party involved in some relevant court cases) these are the arguments I think could be used:

  1. The showdown between UIATF and the City over the People's Lodge established that, as Bernie Whitebear stated at the time, "We have the development and the administrative authority over our property."

  2. The King County Court decision in 2001 that the City of Seattle has been wrong in denying a permit for El Centro de la Raza to host Tent City 3 established that a homeless encampment does not automatically violate land use codes.

  3. A) Churches have the constitutional right to host homeless shelters or encampments on their property, and local governments have only the authority to establish reasonable health and safety standards for those uses. This has been well-established in court.
    B) Surely Native Americans have an equal right on their property.
We'll all find out on Monday morning. Stay tuned...

blog comments powered by Disqus