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State v. Buchanan

Supreme Court of Washington
978 P.2d 1070 (Wash. 1999)


Buchanan (defendant) was arrested and prosecuted by the State of Washington for hunting and killing an elk out of season in the Oak Creek Wildlife Area. Buchanan was a member of the Nooksack Tribe, and he argued that he was not subject to Washington’s hunting laws, because Nooksack treaty rights allowed him to hunt on any open and unclaimed lands in the Nooksack Tribe’s original territory. Under the Treaty of Point Elliott, the Nooksack ceded their lands to the United States, but reserved the right to hunt and fish on open and unclaimed lands. In response, Washington argued that: (1) the Nooksack’s treaty rights only allowed hunting on open and unclaimed land within the territory ceded to the United States, or where the Nooksack traditionally hunted; (2) the Oak Creek Wildlife Area was not open and unclaimed land; and (3) the Nooksack’s hunting and fishing rights expired when Washington became a state under the equal-footing doctrine.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning

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