In re Matter of the Estate of William Big Spring, Jr.Annotate this Case
Appellants appealed the order of the district court denying their motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction over the estate of their father, the decedent. At issue was whether the district court erred when it assumed subject matter jurisdiction over the probate of the estate when the decedent was an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe and all of his estate property was located within the exterior boundaries of the Blackfeet Reservation at the time of his death. The court overruled State ex rel. Iron Bear v. District Court and held that the Blackfeet Tribal Court had exclusive jurisdiction over the probate of the decedent's estate and assumption of subject matter jurisdiction by the district court was impermissible because Montana and the Blackfeet Tribe had not taken the necessary steps for Montana to assume civil jurisdiction over the Blackfeet Reservation.