Native American Issues

News & Analysis as of

Department of the Interior Releases Proposed Rule to Reduce Waste of Natural Gas

Advances in oil and gas production technology, such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, have dramatically increased the production of oil and gas in the United States by unlocking shale gas and other resources...more

FCC Delays Effective Date of Oklahoma Tribal Lifeline Change to June 8

This past Tuesday, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau issued an Order delaying for 120 days the effective date of the agency’s new interpretation of “former reservations in Oklahoma” for purposes of delineating the area in...more

Supreme Court Clarifies Limits on Tribes' Self-Determination Contract Support Costs Claims

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Jan. 25, 2016, against the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin (Tribe) in Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin v. United States, et al., 577 U.S. ___ (2016) regarding its claims that the Indian...more

Cannabis in Indian Country – A Year Later…

A little over a year ago, the Department of Justice released the infamous “Wilkinson Memo” containing DOJ policy guidance to U.S. District Attorneys on Marijuana in Indian Country. Chaos ensued....more

Indian-Owned Businesses Should See More Procurement Contracts Under New Buy Indian Policy

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) on Jan. 12, 2016, announced a new policy to improve the implementation of the Buy Indian Act of 1910 (Act). The policy, announced in a memorandum by Acting...more

Federal Appeals Court Affirms Extra-Territorial Criminal Jurisdiction Over Tribal Members

The Federal Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee) recently affirmed criminal jurisdiction over tribal members for criminal acts committed outside of the tribal reservation boundaries....more

U.S. Supreme Court Examines Tribal Authority Over Non-Indians in Nebraska v. Pender

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Jan. 20, 2016, in Nebraska v. Pender, its third Indian law case of the term. The question presented was whether Congress had diminished the Omaha Indian Reservation when it...more

D.C. District Court to Clean Up Indian Farmers and Ranchers Class Action

After years of post-settlement wrangling in a class action lawsuit brought by Native American farmers and ranchers for damages arising from what they claimed was systemic discrimination against them by the U.S. Department of...more

IRS Amends TED Bond Volume Cap Rules to Accommodate Draw-Down Loans

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2015-83 on Dec. 4, 2015, a change that will make it easier for Indian tribal governments to use tribal economic development (TED) volume cap for "draw-down" loan structures in...more

Triple Threat to Coverage: Third Circuit Departs From Three Fundamental Rules in Applying “Prior Publication” Exclusion

Three well-established rules — (1) that policy exclusions are to be interpreted narrowly, (2) that an insurer has the burden to prove the applicability of an exclusion, and (3) that an insurer has a duty to defend as long as...more

Varnum Marks Native American Heritage Month

This November marks the 25th anniversary of Native American Heritage Month, originally declared in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush. This month we also recognize the 25th anniversary of the Native American Graves Protection...more

Is There a New War on Indian Country?

Over the past week, two proposals have surfaced that could have profound impacts on Indian Country, and they likely would not be for the better. The first proposal surfaced on October 20 when a Utah congressman...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - November 2015

Environmental and Policy Focus - Senate votes to block EPA’s clean water rule: The Hill - Nov 4:: The U.S. Senate approved a bill Wednesday to block the Obama administration’s new regulation defining federal authority...more

Manatt on Health Reform: Weekly Highlights - November 2015

Montana receives approval to expand Medicaid beginning 2016; California’s $6.2 billion Medicaid waiver receives pre-approval; and HHS proposes broadening circumstances under which states receive enhanced federal matching...more

Failing on the Big Stage: Another Attempt to Regulate Fracking Falls Short

In March 2015, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) became the most prominent governmental entity to join in on the attempts to regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. More specifically, the DOI’s sweeping...more

Federal Energy Legislative Update

There has been recent action in Congress on issues important to the oil and gas industry. This post provides an overview of the major energy-related bills in Congress. H.R. 538, the Native American Energy Act – On...more

Indian Tribes Have Important November 19 CSC Filing Deadline - The DOI Settlement Funds are Available for Tribes with...

The U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico has preliminarily approved a final settlement for the parties in Ramah Navajo Chapter et al. v. Jewell, a class action against the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI)...more

Supreme Judicial Court Hears Case Involving Access to Sweat Lodges in Prisons

On October 5, 2015, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts heard argument in Trapp v. Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, SJC-11863. At issue is whether RLUIPA (and the Massachusetts Constitution) recognize...more

North Carolina Legislative Report

The General Assembly convened for the 2015 legislative session on January 14. Lawmakers returned to Raleigh on January 28 to begin the session in earnest. The MVA Public Affairs Legislative Report on North Carolina will be...more

With Latest Filings, Decision On Preliminary Injunction Motions In Litigation Against BLM Fracking Rule Expected Soon

In June, a Wyoming federal district court temporarily delayed implementation of the Bureau of Land Management’s (“BLM”) new final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal public lands, while it granted the BLM an...more

Washington Redskins Continue to Fight Cancellation of its Federal Registration

The Washington Redskins are putting up a serious fight against the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (“TTAB”) decision to cancel its federal registration for the mark ‘REDSKINS’ because of the mark being disparaging in...more

California is Flooding with Water…Issues, Lawsuits, Rules and Legislation

We Californians are well aware of the impact of the four-year drought. We have read about town wells drying up like in East Porterville; we have seen the incredibly scary low water marks in lakes and reservoirs; we have heard...more

Business Court Enjoins Enforcement Of High Interest Rate Loans Made By American Indian-Related Business

Judge Gale's opinion last week in Western Sky in State v. Western Sky Financial, LLC, 2015 NCBC 84 has a little bit of everything in it: choice of law, the U.S. Constitution, claims for usury (excessive interest rates) and...more

Trademark Review | August 2015

The Redskins Lose Again (Off the Field)- A federal District Court affirmed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (TTAB) ruling that “Redskins” cannot be registered as a trademark for use in connection with a...more

Intellectual Property and Technology News - Issue 27 Q3 2015

In This Issue: How Private is That Connected Car? US v EU Among the fastest growing sectors in the industry of smart things is the connected car. No longer a simple way from point A to point B, cars now comprise a...more

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