In June, 2006, the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, represented by NARF, filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in an effort to enforce express promises made to the Tribe to build the a Reservoir Project. The Nemaha-Brown Watershed Joint Board # 7, the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the State of Kansas made these promises to the Tribe over a decade ago. In the intervening years these parties have been actively developing the water resources of the watershed, resulting in the near depletion of the Tribe's senior federal water rights in the drainage.
By early August 2007 the parties expressed an interest in taking a break from the litigation track to explore mutual benefits from settlement. The US, the State and the local watershed district all concede the existence of the Tribe's senior Indian reserved water rights; the real issue ultimately will be the amount of water to satisfy the Tribe's needs, and the source or sources of those rights. The Tribe and the US are also discussing funding to quantify the Tribe's water rights. We continue with active negotiations with the State and the local water interests on an agreed quantity of water for the Tribe.