February 7, 2023
Yesterday, Utah Constitutional Defense Assistant Attorney General Lance Sorenson argued in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that the Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation, one of eight federally recognized tribes in Utah, be allowed to hunt and fish on their ancestral territory, including in parts of Idaho, according to the Fort Bridger Treaty of 1868.
Utah sided with both the Northwestern Band and the Federal Government, arguing the Tribe reserved its right in the treaty to hunt and fish on the same land that they had done so for centuries. Idaho has interpreted the treaty to require tribal members to live on nearby reservations or relinquish their hunting and fishing rights. Some tribal members have been fined by Idaho law enforcement for hunting without an Idaho license, which sparked this legal challenge.
The case was appealed to the Ninth Circuit after a Federal District Court Judge ruled in favor of Idaho. The three-member panel will deliberate the case and issue a ruling in the coming months.
Read the Appellant’s Opening Brief here.
Read the Utah Amicus Brief here.