U.S. Court of Appeal 9th Circuit Opinions
Case Summaries - April 18, 2000
MANYBEADS v. US (4/18/00 - No. 90-15003)
Action alleging that Accommodation Agreement permitting plaintiffs and other
Navajo families residing on Hopi land to obtain 75-year leases on home sites
and farmlands at no cost violated plaintiffs' Free Exercise rights was
properly dismissed, as the Hopi Tribe, a necessary and indispensable party,
was not made a party to the action.
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U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
MANYBEADS v USA
YELLOWWOMAN YAZZIE, ASHKIE
BITSI, IRENE YAZZIE, BLANCHE
WILSON, WALDINE YAZZIE, DAN
R. YAZZIE, BESSIE BEGAY, MAE
WILSON TSO, ASKIE TSO, EARL
TSO, SAM W. TSO, BETTY A.
TSO, FIONA TSO, JOE BENALLY,
VIOLET ASHKIE, LOUISE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
DONALD P. HODEL, in his
official capacity as Secretary
of the Department of Interior,
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
UNITED STATES BUREAU OF
INDIAN AFFAIRS, ET AL.,
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the District of Arizona
Earl H. Carroll, District Judge, Presiding
Argued and Submitted April 10, 1991
Submission Withdrawn May 10, 1991
Argued and Submitted
February 22, 2000--San Francisco, California
Filed April 18, 2000
Before: Harry Pregerson, John T. Noonan and
David R. Thompson, Circuit Judges.
Opinion by Judge Noonan
Lee Phillips, Flagstaff, Arizona, for the plaintiffs-appellants.
Katherine Hazard, United States Department of Justice,
Washington, D.C., for the defendants-appellees.
Tim Atkeson, Arnold & Porter, Denver, Colorado, for the
amicus Hopi Tribe.
NOONAN, Circuit Judge:
Jenny Manybeads et al., (Manybeads) appeal the dismissal
by the district court of their suit against the United States. We
affirm the dismissal for want of a necessary and indispensable
party, the Hopi Tribe.
The past history of this litigation has recently been set out
in Clinton v. Babbitt, 180 F.3d 1081 (9th Cir. 1999). We need
not repeat what we said there. Suffice to say that Manybeads
challenged the constitutionality of 25 U.S.C. S 640d et seq.
(1994), contending that it violated the Free Exercise rights of
the plaintiffs. The district court dismissed the complaint for
failure to state a claim. On appeal, we arranged for mediation.
A Settlement Agreement was reached between the Hopi Tribe
and the United States and an Accommodation Agreement
agreed to by the Hopi Tribe, the Navajo Nation, and represen-
tatives of individual Navajos. By this agreement, provision
was made for plaintiffs here and other Navajo families resid-
ing on Hopi land to obtain at no cost 75 year leases on home-
sites and farmlands within land awarded by court decree to
The Manybeads plaintiffs remaining in this case are dissat-
isfied with the Accommodation Agreement and press their
contention that they are being denied religious freedom.
In the district court and now before us the Hopi Tribe
argued that it is a necessary and indispensable party and that,
as it has not waived its sovereign immunity and is not a party,
the suit should be dismissed.
 Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 19(a)(1) provides that a party is nec-
essary if, in its absence, complete relief cannot be accorded
those already parties. The Hopi Tribe is a necessary party
here. Manybeads cannot be afforded complete relief without
undoing the Accommodation Agreement, which limits the
rights of Navajos on Hopi land, and without undoing the Set-
tlement Agreement by which the Hopi Tribe is entitled to
compensation for what is conceded to the Navajos.
 The Hopi Tribe is also a necessary party in terms of
Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 19 (a)(2): it "claims an interest relating to
the subject of the action and is so situated that the disposition
of the action may (1) as a practical matter impair or impede"
its ability to protect that interest. As we have held in Clinton,
180 F.3d at 1089, the Hopi Tribe qualifies as a necessary
party under both parts of Rule 19(a).
 The Hopi Tribe is also indispensable as Rule 19(b)
defines indispensability. A judgment in Manybeads' favor
would upset two agreements, long and carefully worked out,
by which a balance was struck between the interests of the
Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe, peaceful relations between
the two Indian sovereigns was secured, and substantial mone-
tary compensation was obtained and is to be obtained by the
Hopi Tribe. Manybeads argues that she is not attacking the
two Agreements, only the 1974 statute that led to them. The
practical effect, however, of what she seeks in having the
1974 statute invalidated would be the undoing of the Agree-
ments to the substantial prejudice of the Hopi Tribe. No rem-
edy or relief would lessen the prejudice. No judgment in the
Hopi Tribe's absence will be adequate. Clinton , 180 F.3d at
One factor favors Manybeads. If the action is dismissed for
nonjoinder, her Free Exercise claim will go unredressed. This
factor is not a light one. Congress, the First Amendment pro-
claims, "shall make no law . . . prohibiting the free exercise
[of religion]." This freedom -- the first freedom enshrined in
the Bill of Rights -- is fundamental in our structure of gov-
ernment. It is a freedom that has sometimes been successfully
asserted against invasion by school boards, municipalities,
and states. It has never been upheld by the Supreme Court
when asserted against Congress. In principle there is no rea-
son why it should not prevail against congressional intrusion.
But this principle cannot be asserted when a sovereign, not a
party to the case, will suffer substantially from its vindication.
 The United States contends that it can adequately repre-
sent the Hopi Tribe, and that there is no need to join the miss-
ing sovereign. The contention is weak because it is the reverse
of what the government contended in the district court. The
contention is contradicted because the government is a trustee
not only for the Hopi Tribe and the Navajo Nation but for the
very plaintiffs in this case. By the explicit terms of 25 U.S.C.
S 620d-9(c) and (d), the government must protect the property
and personal rights of the individual Navajos subject to relo-
cation. The government, if it undertook to act for the Hopi
Tribe, would stand on both sides of the question. The govern-
ment cannot represent the tribe. In so concluding, we do not
suggest that it is the United States' trust responsibility to the
Navajo Nation that creates a conflict of interest preventing the
United States from adequately representing the Hopi Tribe.
There is no such conflict of interest because the Navajo
Nation is not a party to this suit. This suit implicates only the
interests of individual plaintiffs who are members of the Nav-
ajo Nation, and not the interests of the Navajo Nation itself.
A necessary and indispensable party is missing. The judg-
ment of dismissal is AFFIRMED.