In re Crow Water CompactAnnotate this Case
At dispute in this case was the Crow Water Compact - an agreement among the United States, the Crow Tribe, and the State - which recognizes a Tribal Water Right of the Crow Tribe and its members in a number of sources of water that abut or cross the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana. Here, a group of Crow tribal member Allottees - persons who hold interests in parcels of former Tribal land mostly created by the General Allotment Act - objected to the Compact in the Water Court, claiming that the United States breached its fiduciary duties to the Allottees by failing to protect their water rights in the Compact and failing to adequately represent them in Compact proceedings. The Water Court dismissed the Allottees’ objections. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Water Court (1) applied the proper legal standard of review in dismissing the Allottees’ objections; (2) did not exceed its jurisdiction by dismissing the Allottees’ action rather than staying consideration of the Compact pending resolution of the Allottees’ action in federal district court; and (3) did not err in determining that the Allottees have rights to a share of the Crow Tribal Water Right and that the United States adequately represented the Allottees during the Compact negotiations.