Native American Issues

News & Analysis as of

Court Decision Dismisses Challenge to Gun Lake Band’s Trust Land

Last Friday, July 15, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the constitutionality of the Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act. Because the Court agreed with the D.C. District Court's finding of constitutionality, it...more

FinCEN Assesses Significant Penalty Against Casino for Bank Secrecy Act Violations

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) assessed on July 15 a civil money penalty in the amount of $2.8 million against Hawaiian Gardens Casino Inc., d/b/a The Gardens Casino, for Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) regulatory...more

Controversy Over Interior’s Trust Authority in Alaska Remains Unresolved

A majority panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently dismissed the State of Alaska’s challenge to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s authority to acquire land in trust for Alaska...more

Ninth Circuit Rules Tribal Treaty Rights Obligate State to Ensure Harvestable Fish Are Available

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the state of Washington violated tribal treaty obligations by building and maintaining barrier culverts that block 1,000 linear miles of streams suitable...more

Wyoming Federal Court Strikes Down BLM Fracking Rule

U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl in State of Wyoming et al v. U.S. Department if Interior et al. struck down Bureau of Land Management regulations applying to hydraulic fracking on federal and Indian lands. He...more

The National 8(a) Association Summer Conference Recap; Mentor-Protégé Regs Looming

On June 13-14, the National 8(a) Association held its annual summer conference in Anchorage, Alaska. The conference included useful programs on a variety of topics of interest to tribal, Alaska Native Corporations (ANC), and...more

The Supreme Court - June 2016 #6

The Supreme Court of the United States issued decisions in five cases on June 23, 2016: Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, No. 14-981: Petitioner Abigail Fisher applied for admission to the University of Texas at...more

Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act Seeks to Exempt Native American Tribes from ACA

The Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act (H.R. 3080) could have a big impact on tribes if it becomes law. The legislation, which was passed by the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee June 15, seeks to exempt Native...more

New ICWA Regulations Issued

On June 8, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Interior issued new final regulations governing state court and agency child custody proceeds involving Indian children. The new regulations were formulated to ensure uniform...more

Vermont federal district court rules CFPA does not provide private right of action for alleged usurious loans; denies motion to...

A Vermont federal district court recently issued a decision ruling on the defendants’ motion to dismiss a class action involving allegations that an online tribal lending venture violated federal and state law because of...more

Tribal Groundwater Resources – Management Considerations Under Current Law

In the arid southwest, water is the most important and precious natural resource. In some communities, groundwater is the primary source, and often sole source, of water for domestic, agricultural irrigation, industrial, and...more

Recent Developments in the Gold King Mine Spill

On Tuesday, May 4, 2016, the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs chair, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), and committee member, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) formally requested a federal criminal investigation into the Gold King Mine...more

EPA's Proposed Water Quality Standards Rule Applicable to Maine

On April 20, 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed federal water quality standards that would apply to certain waters in Maine in place of existing Maine standards that EPA has disapproved. The proposed...more

Appellate Court Notes

Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions: SC19493 - Standard Oil of Connecticut, Inc. v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act - SC19493 Dissent - Standard Oil of Connecticut, Inc. v. Administrator,...more

[Webinar] Robins Kaplan Tribal Litigation Update: How Tribes may be able to recover damages from recent antitrust lawsuits - May...

On July 13, 2012, Robins Kaplan LLP reached a $7.25 billion settlement with Visa, MasterCard and major US banks for alleged anticompetitive practices and price fixing in setting credit card interchange fees. One of the lead...more

In re Tam Redux Redux: Redskins Petition for Certiorari, Trying to Skip 4th Cir.

In response to the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) petition for writ of certiorari in to the U.S. Supreme Court In re Tam (“THE SLANTS” case), the owners of the Washington Redskins filed their own...more

Three Key Takeaways from NAFOA's 34th Annual Conference

The Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA) held its 34th annual conference on April 17-20, 2016, at the Gila River Indian Community's Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort in Phoenix. NAFOA is a national non-profit...more

Current Developments Affecting Hydraulic Fracturing Operations (April 2016)

The new year brought with it several noteworthy developments in the fracking world. These include: a new lawsuit in connection with the Keystone Pipeline; legal action against the Department of Interior (“DOI”) Federal Bureau...more

Key Employment Issues Affecting Tribal Entites

Overview - Sovereign immunity - - Background - 8(a) waiver - Indemnification - Labor and employment issues - Statutes of general applicability - Commercial v. governmental activity ...more

DOJ Takes On Tribal Lending: Inside The Indictments

In recent months, the attention of the tribal lending industry has focused on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s emerging role in regulating short-term loans from sovereign tribal nations, but a new and even more...more

Court Holds that the Bureau of Indian Affairs is Not Obligated to Ensure Migratory Bird Treaty Act or Bald and Golden Eagle...

On March 29, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California granted summary judgment in favor of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”) in a lawsuit involving the grant of a lease to Tule Wind, LLC for...more

HHS to Apply Medicare Rates for Physician, Other Health Services Purchased by IHS-Funded Programs

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), on March 21, 2016, issued a final rule to apply Medicare payment methodologies to all physician and other health professional...more

Republican Congressmen seek CFPB forum on impact of payday lending rule on state and tribal sovereignty

Two Republican members of the House Financial Services Committee, Randy Neugebauer and Mick Mulvaney, have sent a letter to Director Cordray asking him to convene a forum or roundtable of state and tribal officials before the...more

Supreme Court Nominee Has No Clear Track Record on Indian Country Cases

President Obama nominated Merrick Garland on March 16, 2016, to be an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Garland now serves as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Despite...more

Supreme Court Holds the Ninth Circuit Misinterpreted the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act

In 2007, National Park Service rangers stopped John Sturgeon from travelling by hovercraft on the Nation River within the boundaries of Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Park Service regulations ban the use of...more

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