Chief Raymond Yowell

Yowell Case Against BLM For Grazing Fees Dismissed

Thomas Mills
3/1/12

On February 21st, Raymond Yowell traveled the 305 miles between his home in Spring Creek, Nevada for his hearing in Reno, Nevada. The hearing was in regards to his $30 million lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management and the Treasury Department for grazing rights. Yowell is suing following the confiscation and selling of his cattle by the government in 2002, followed by a bill for $180,000 towards unpaid grazing fees.

Judge Robert Jones listened to the prosecution of four lawyers as they went over years of decisions that Yowell had made during his term as chief of the Western Shoshone. When Yowell got a chance to defend himself he told the judge that decisions made during his term in office had nothing to do with the case at hand as he was being prosecuted as an individual, they were his cattle and not the tribes. He told the judge, “[y]ou did not go after George Bush after he retired, for decisions he made when he was President, why are you going after me for my decisions?”

After waiting 60 days for his hearing, Yowell spent 45 minutes presenting his case before Jones dismissed the lawsuit. The Judge also rescinded a previous courts decision to garnish Yowell’s social security check. Yowell says, “the judge threw me a little bone, but I am not sure if I still owe them anything.”

Yowell was left with many questions on his trip home, but the biggest one was how to proceed at this time? He said he was waiting for the “Order of the Court” and hoping to find someone who might be able to help him proceed ahead.

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