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Federal Court Limits Tribe’s, Secretary’s Options When States Balk at Gaming Compact

A federal district court in New Mexico has issued a decision finding that the U.S. Department of the Interior’s regulations permitting the Secretary of the Interior to adopt Class III gaming procedures for a tribe lacking a...more

Second Circuit Issues Decision in Payday-Loan Regulatory Case

In a clash of competing sovereigns’ interests, the Second Circuit recently upheld, for now, the authority of the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) to regulate online payday loans made by Indian tribal lenders to...more

Ninth Circuit Upholds TERO Requirements in Indian Country Mineral Leasing

Conducting commercial operations on tribal lands can pose significant challenges for non-Indian companies. Demonstrating sensitivity to the cultural nuances of Native American society and navigating the complex web of federal...more

Governor Brown Is Not CEQA “Public Agency,” Holds Third District In Indian Casino Case

In a published decision filed September 24, 2014, the Third District Court of Appeal (per Justice Robie) held that CEQA’s definition of a “public agency” that is subject to its requirements (see Pub. Resources Code, § 21063)...more

Doing Business in Canada: Aboriginal Law

ABORIGINAL LAW: Canadian law has long recognized the rights of aboriginal peoples, sometimes called First Nations, as the first occupiers of the land. With the founding of Canada in 1867 constitutional powers were...more

Land rulings a clear message to Ottawa, provinces: It’s time to govern

The Supreme Court of Canada has delivered two significant decisions this summer regarding Aboriginal title and treaty rights. In June, the Tsilqhot’in decision affirmed Aboriginal title over a discrete area of central British...more

Implications of the Supreme Court Decision on Aboriginal Title

On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered a unanimous decision in Tsilhqot'in Nation v British Columbia, 2014 SCC 44. The decision marks the first time that Aboriginal title has been granted – until now, the...more

Indian Country Awaits 9th Circuit’s En Banc Rehearing in Big Lagoon Case

In January, a split 9th Circuit panel shocked Indian Country with its holding in Big Lagoon Rancheria v. California that the State’s failure to negotiate in good faith for a tribal-state gaming compact with the Big Lagoon...more

Tsilhqot’in Decision: The Sky Is Not Falling

Despite the significant media attention that the recent Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decision in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, 2014 SCC 44 (Decision) has received, it represents a reiteration of established law...more

Supreme Court Decision on Aboriginal Title Raises Questions for Resource Development

On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered a unanimous decision in Tsilhqot’in Nation v British Columbia, 2014 SCC 44 (also known as the William decision). It is a long anticipated decision on two significant...more

Recent Supreme Court Decision Bars State from Suing Tribe Seeking to Operate an Illegal Off-Reservation Casino

On May 27, 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), states may only sue to enjoin a tribe from conducting class III gaming “on Indian lands.” Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Cmty., 2014...more

Federal Court of Appeal Confirms that Métis Fall Within Federal Jurisdiction under Constitution

On April 17, 2014, the Federal Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, in part, of a January 2013 Federal Court decision extending federal jurisdiction to Métis and non-status Indians by modifying the Federal Court’s declaration...more

British Columbia’s Supreme Court Considers the Duty to Consult in the Context of an Environmental Review Process

On April 3, 2014 the British Columbia Supreme Court released its decision in Ktunaxa Nation v. British Columbia (Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations), 2014 BCSC 568. The case concerned an application for judicial...more

Interior’s Carcieri Opinion Means More Diligence for Trust Land Development Projects

The Office of the Solicitor of the Department of the Interior has issued a legal opinion (the “Opinion“) to the Secretary of the Interior interpreting the statutory phrase “under federal jurisdiction” in the Indian...more

Tribe Files Suit to Block California Compact Referendum

The landmark ballot referendum proposing to reverse the California Legislature’s ratification of two off-reservation tribal casinos is being challenged in state court litigation seeking to block the referendum from appearing...more

Office of the Solicitor Issues Carcieri “Fix” Opinion

In response to the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Carcieri v. Salazar, 555 U.S. 379 (2009), the Office of the Solicitor for the United States Department of the Interior issued a memorandum opinion on March 12, 2014,...more

Financial Services Law - Feb 14, 2014

Bit by Bit(coin), Virtual Currency Inches Toward Regulation - Has the time come to regulate virtual currency? At a recent hearing held by the New York Department of Financial Services, the answer appeared to be “yes.”...more

Obstructive Conduct by Aboriginal Groups May be Regulated by Municipal By-Laws

The decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Detlor v. Brantford (City) helpfully addresses the intersection between municipal jurisdiction and constitutional law. In upholding the power of municipalities to pass by-laws...more

CFPB Weighs In On New York Tribal Lending Case

On November 13, the CFPB filed an amicus brief in a Second Circuit case stemming from efforts of the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) to crack down on lenders offering allegedly illegal payday loans. Certain...more

Asserting a Tribal Sovereign Immunity Defense, Even Where the Tribe has Contractually Waived its Immunity

The doctrine of sovereign immunity acts as a powerful protection for any sovereign entity. By prohibiting the courts from adjudicating whether or not the sovereign party breached a contract, committed a tort, or otherwise...more

U.S. Court of Federal Claims Dismisses Tribal Trust Case for Failure to Identify Money-Mandating Statute

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims recently dismissed the breach-of-trust claims in Hopi Tribe v. United States based on the tribe’s failure to identify a specific money-mandating trust duty owed by the Government. The Hopi...more

Laws Benefiting Mdewakanton Indians Did Not Create Money-Mandating Duty

In Wolfchild v. United States, the Federal Circuit held that nineteenth-century laws authorizing the U.S. Department of the Interior to spend funds for the benefit of certain Indians did not create a money-mandating duty owed...more

New York Continues Payday Loan Crackdown

The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) may take direct and indirect actions against online tribal lenders, Judge Richard Sullivan of the Southern District of New York held in a ruling last week. The decision is...more

U.S. Court of Federal Claims Denies Government’s Motion to Dismiss Congressional Reference Breach-of-Trust Case

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims recently denied the Government’s motion to dismiss T.C. Bear v. United States, a congressional reference case, involving breach-of –trust claims brought by the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma...more

Jicarilla Apache Nation Awarded $21 Million for Breaches of Trust

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims recently awarded the Jicarilla Apache Nation $21 million in damages for the Government’s decades-long failure to honor its fiduciary obligations owed to the Jicarilla Apache. In Jicarilla...more

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