Native American Issues

News & Analysis as of

Use of NAVAJO – Is Urban Outfitters Infringing or Not?

Battles continue to wage over use of the “Navajo” and “Navaho” marks in New Mexico federal court. The Navajo Nation (“the Nation”) sued Urban Outfitters and its subsidiaries, including one of my favorite retailers,...more

Once 8(a) Competitive, Not Always 8(a) Competitive

Unlike other sole source authorities for small business programs, such as that recently granted to the WOSB program via the 2015 NDAA, a recent decision from GAO confirms that the sole source authority given to the 8(a)...more

House of Representatives Passes National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2016

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. Congressman Young’s amendment would replace Section 811 of the FY 2010, which introduced...more

Federal Funding for Water Projects and Indian Water Settlements

In recent years, the parties proposing Indian water settlements have struggled to find federal funding, and budget offsets, to pay for settlement projects. But a concurrent by the House and Senate Budget Committee may pave a...more

Wisconsin Indian Tribe Prevails – State Cannot Ban Electronic Poker on Reservation

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has overturned a federal district court ruling that had permitted the State of Wisconsin to prohibit the Ho Chunk tribe from offering electronic poker on its reservation...more

Gaming Legal News: Volume 8, Number 8

The Dance Known as “Texas Two Step” - The two-step is a partner dance, consisting of a “leader” (traditionally a man) and a “follower” (traditionally a woman). The leader determines the movements and patterns of the...more

IRS Issues Notice Addressing Impact of the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2014 on Existing IRS Guidance

On April 16, 2015, the IRS released Notice 2015-34 clarifying the effect of the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2014, Pub. L. No. 113-168, 128 Stat. 1883 (2014) (the “Act”), which added new Section 139E to the...more

IRS Issues Guidance on Tribal General Welfare Exclusion and Safe Harbors - Notice 2015-34 Provides Instruction on the Tribal...

On April 16, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") released Notice 2015-34, its first guidance on general welfare since President Obama signed the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act (the "Act") into law in September...more

Michigan Tax Update: Ballot Initiative Good for Tribes

The Michigan legislature has approved a ballot initiative that will be submitted for voter approval in May 2015. If approved, the initiative will impact Tribes in two important ways...more

Transgender Native American Prisoner Denied Access to Sweat Lodge and Unsatisfied with the Alternative Sues under RLUIPA: More on...

Corrections Corporation of America (Dist. Idaho 2015) because the decision reflects a recent trend in RLUIPA cases: close judicial scrutiny as to whether a compelling government interest is furthered by “the least restrictive...more

New California Internet Poker Bills Seek Political Compromise and Consensus, But May Further Divide Stakeholders in the Absence of...

Efforts to pass online poker legislation in California have failed for years, in large part due to the failure to achieve consensus on the most critical issues affecting stakeholders. California is now poised to consider new...more

Michigan Court of Appeals Reverses Adoption of Indian Child; Cites Michigan Adoptive Placement Preference Standards

As mentioned in a recent blog post regarding child custody proceedings involving Indian children in Michigan, significant legal and procedural requirements must be met before an Indian child may be adopted. ...more

Federal Government Takes First Steps to Impose Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing on Public Lands

On March 20, 2015, the Interior Department announced the issuance of a final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on Federal and American Indian lands. The rule was initially proposed by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”)...more

Californian court puts tribal online bingo website on ice

A Native American tribe’s attempt to launch an internet bingo website has faced setbacks following a recent court order temporarily restraining the site’s operation. In its decision, the Court made a number of important...more

Gaming Legal News - Volume 8 Number 1: Idaho Tribes And Community Leaders Seek To Limit "Instant Racing" Gaming Machines

A popular and profitable form of gaming has sparked a controversy in Idaho between the state’s Indian tribes and horse racetracks. "Instant Racing" video slot machines replay the last seconds of horse races run in the past,...more

Legal Developments in Indian Country in 2014

2014 was a year that featured many positive legal developments for tribes. From the favorable Supreme Court decision in the Bay Mills case written by Justice Sotomayor (who continues to be a leader on the Court for tribal...more

For the Redskins, NFL Playoff Season Means. . . Constitutionality Questions?

The NFL playoffs aren’t the only big football news happening this month! The U.S. Department of Justice recently decided to intervene in the Washington Redskins trademark litigation over the constitutionality of certain...more

The Importance Of Selecting An Available Arbitration Forum

The Eleventh Circuit affirmed a Florida district court’s denial of Cashcall’s motion to compel arbitration, as the forum selected in the parties’ loan agreement was not available. Appellee Abraham Inetianbor initially...more

Holt v. Hobbs Aftermath: Supreme Court Remands Native American Prisoners’ RLUIPA Claims

Less than a week after its decision in Holt v. Hobbs, the Supreme Court in Knight v. Thompson, No. 13-955 (2015), vacated and remanded the Eleventh Circuit’s rejection of Native American prisoners’ claims challenging prison...more

The US Department of Justice Seeks to Intervene in the Washington Redskins’ Trademark Suit to Defend the Constitutionality of the...

The Washington Redskins professional football team will soon not only be battling Native Americans over the registrability of the REDSKINS trademark, but will also have to cross swords with the US Government. Last week, the...more

U.S. Attorney General States Principles for Working With Tribes

On Friday, December 12, 2014, the Office of the Attorney General issued a notice setting forth principles for the AG and Department of Justice to work with federally recognized Indian tribes. Highlights of these principles...more

FERC rules tribes exempt from some energy regulation

When a Native American tribe acquires a hydroelectric power plant licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, does the project become exempt from some federal regulations? Yes, according to a FERC order...more

Department of Justice Memorandum Regarding Legalization of Marijuana in Indian Country Raises More Questions Than Answers

On Thursday December 11, 2014, the press was abuzz about a just released Department of Justice memorandum titled “Policy Statement Regarding Marijuana Issues in Indian Country.” Some news outlets heralded the memorandum as a...more

Does The DBO’s Draft Tribal Consultation Policy Violate the Public Records Act?

Three years ago, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued Executive Order B-10-11. Among other things, Governor Brown ordered: that it is the policy of this Administration that every state agency and department...more

Michigan Court of Appeals Reverses Termination of Parental Rights; Cites Indian Child Welfare Act Standard

In any child custody proceeding involving Indian children, all parties should understand there are significant legal and procedural requirements that must be met before parental rights to Indian children may be terminated....more

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