FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND
case comes to the Court on stipulated facts and exhibits and
a deposition of James M. Robinson, Jr. The parties deemed a
considered the deposition, exhibits, the parties'
proposed findings of fact and conclusions of laws, and
briefs, the Court makes the following:
Cheyenne Enterprises (Cheyenne) is a trucking firm engaged in
hauling logs and wood chips. It is owned and operated by
James M. Robinson, Jr. (Robinson), as a sole proprietorship.
The Northern Cheyenne Tribe has no ownership interest in the
Robinson is an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe
and lives in Busby, Montana, which is within the boundaries
of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation (Reservation).
January 1990 Cheyenne had a fleet of approximately six
trucks. One was a truck for hauling wood chips. The other
trucks were logging trucks.
not in use the trucks were parked on property owned by
Robinson which was located outside the Reservation boundaries
in Ashland, Montana. Maintenance on the trucks was performed
at the Ashland property or in Billings, Montana, which is
also outside the Reservation. An above-ground gasoline
storage tank was also located on the Ashland property and was
used by Cheyenne employees to fill up the trucks. (Refueling
was also done on the Reservation.)
Cheyenne's trucking operations were not limited to the
Reservation. It conducted substantial business activities
outside the Reservation and within the State of Montana.
Logging trucks transported logs from logging sites inside the
reservation to sawmills outside the Reservation. The company
regularly hauled chips from the Northern Cheyenne Pine
Company, a sawmill located outside Reservation boundaries in
Ashland, Montana, to Forsyth, Montana, which is also outside
Reservation boundaries. The usual route between Ashland and
Forsyth traverses the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. The
total driving distance between the two towns is 80 miles, of
which 35 miles are on the Reservation. Of the 35 miles
through the Reservation, most of the miles are on U.S.
Highway 212, the remainder on State Highway 39. A Montana
highway map shows that the route is the shortest one over
January 1990 Cheyenne did not maintain a trucking terminal
within the Reservation. However, Robinson considered the
office where his bookkeeping was done to be Cheyenne's
office. That office was in Lame Deer, Montana, which is
within the Reservation, but was owned or rented by the
bookkeeping service. Robinson did manage his business
primarily from the Reservation. He typically delivered
paychecks to his employees while on the Reservation but at
times he delivered them in Ashland.
hired both Indians and non-Indians. It utilized Montana Job
Service to secure employees. Montana Job Service did not
maintain an office on the Reservation.
provided some of his employees with lodging at a house which
was located on his Ashland property.
C. Anderson (Anderson), the deceased husband of the
petitioner, was hired by Cheyenne in February 1989. Anderson
was notified of the job opening through the Montana Job
the next eleven months Anderson was a driver for Cheyenne.
While he occasionally drove a logging truck, he was primarily
responsible for transporting wood chips from the sawmill in
Ashland to a rail site in Forsyth. On one occasion he also
picked up a trailer in Kansas and brought it back to Montana.
also performed some mechanical work on trucks. The mechanical
work performed by Anderson was done at Robinson's Ashland
Anderson's employment, the truck used for hauling wood
chips was kept at Robinson's ...