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Tribal cigarettes supplier not protected

BOISE – Tribal sovereignty doesn’t protect a corporation located on a New York Indian reservation that ships illegal cigarettes to a retailer on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

Native Wholesale Supply is a corporation, not a tribe or a tribal member, the Idaho justices held in a nine-page ruling. Therefore, it can’t sell cigarettes that are illegal in Idaho and aren’t a part of the nationwide tobacco settlement with states.

The company, a supplier on New York’s Seneca Reservation, argued that Idaho had no business interfering with shipments of more than 100 million Canadian cigarettes since 2004 to Warpath Inc., a Coeur d’Alene reservation business owned by a tribal member. Neither the Coeur d’Alene Tribe nor Warpath was a party to the Native Wholesale Supply case. More here.

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Cindy Hval
Cindy Hval is a freelance columnist for the Voices neighborhood sections. Her Front Porch column appears twice a month in the Thursday Voice.