DENVER — A panel of federal judges in Denver is deciding whether the City of Riverton and surrounding lands remain legally Indian Country.
A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Tuesday in a case that revealed longstanding tensions between Wyoming’s two Indian tribes and non-Indians.
The case hinges on how judges interpret a 1905 decision by Congress that threw open some 1.4 million acres of the Wind River Indian Reservation to settlement by non-Indians.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2013 ruled that the land remained legally part of the reservation. It addressed the issue in approving an application from the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes to be treated in a manner similar to a state under the federal Clean Air Act.
Wyoming and local governments appealed the EPA determination.