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The Nation

May 14, 1987

The Yakima Tribal Council defied the U.S. Justice Department and refused to return to federal custody five Indians facing prison terms for selling fish caught out of season, a lawyer said. The traditional tribal fishermen were convicted of violating the federal Lacey Act in a 1983 trial in U.S. District Court and were sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to five years. They had been arrested after federal and state agents purchased 106,000 pounds of fish illegally caught in the Columbia River in Washington state. But the Yakima Nation filed charges against the five last August to demonstrate the tribe's sovereignty over its members and to establish the tribal court as the proper forum for such cases. The jury in that case found them not guilty April 29.

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