Tribal Governments

News & Analysis as of

Negotiating with a Tribe or Tribal Entity: Practical Tips for Franchisors

Indian gaming has exploded in the more than twenty-five years since Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). According to the 2014 Casino City’s Indian Gaming Industry Report, Indian tribes received $28.1...more

Supreme Court Affirms in Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community: Don’t Roll the Dice with Tribal Sovereign Immunity

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community is a reminder to a broad range of entities, including energy companies, financial service providers, and state and local governments, that...more

Tribal Immunity at the Supreme Court: Impact on Payday Lenders?

Could a recent Supreme Court decision on tribal sovereignty as it applied to an Indian casino have an impact on payday lenders? The case itself, Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community, involved a casino built by the...more

Recent Supreme Court Decision Reaffirms Tribal Sovereign Immunity for Commercial Activities Conducted Off-Reservation

In 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that, absent a waiver or Congressional action to the contrary, the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity applies to lawsuits arising from a tribe’s commercial activities, even if they...more

The Wind River Reservation Treatment-as-State Controversy: How Confusion Undermines Opportunities for Cooperative Governance

Under certain statutes, tribes can exercise civil jurisdiction over non-Indians. For instance, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act allows tribes to pursue claims for natural resource...more

BIA Proposes Rule Revisions for Rights-of-Way on Indian Lands

On June 17, 2014, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) published proposed revisions to 25 CFR Part 169, whereby the new rule seeks to comprehensively update and streamline the process for obtaining BIA grants of Rights-of-Way...more

Federal Government Initiatives Support Engagement with First Nations

On May 27, 2014, the Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, announced two new measures to strengthen engagement with...more

In Final Guidance, IRS Broadens General Welfare Safe Harbors for Tribal Programs - New Guidance Provides Planning Opportunities...

After receiving more than 120 written comments on how the IRS should apply the general welfare exclusion to Indian tribal government programs, the IRS has issued final guidance detailing how tribal programs may take advantage...more

IRS Issues Final Revenue Procedure Addressing Application of General Welfare Exclusion to Tribal Government Programs

On June 3, 2014, the IRS released Revenue Procedure 2014-35 providing final guidance for Indian tribal governments regarding the application of the general welfare exclusion to Indian tribal government programs that provide...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

The corridor of uncertainty diminishes following another pro international arbitration judgment from the Indian Supreme Court

For international parties who have contracted with Indian counterparties and agreed to refer disputes to international arbitration, a critical issue is the degree to which the Indian courts have jurisdiction to review and set...more

U.S. Supreme Court Reaffirms the Doctrine of Tribal Sovereign Immunity in Bay Mills Decision

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision, highly anticipated by Indian tribes and Indian law practitioners, in Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community, et al. In a 5-4 split, the Court reaffirmed the doctrine of...more

A Bridge to Reconciliation: A Critique of the Indian Residential School Truth Commission

Truth and reconciliation are separate and important elements in overcoming mass wrongs. While truth can be attached to fact finding, bridging the path to reconciliation can be far more difficult. In the Ojibway creation epic,...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

Federal Court Agrees With Magistrate That Whether A Tribal Lender Is A For-Profit Corporation Is A Triable Issue Of Fact

On March 7, 2014, the United States District Court for the District of Nevada in Federal Trade Commission (the FTC) v. AMG Services, Inc., et al. granted a partial victory to Indian tribal payday lenders in their ongoing...more

Sixth Circuit Grants Stay in Lansing, Michigan, Off-Reservation Casino Case

In an order issued on February 24, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted a stay of its decision in State of Michigan v. The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (Sixth Circuit Case No....more

A Precedent-Setting Ninth Circuit Victory for Tribes and Their Business Partners

In a landmark decision, the Ninth Circuit has held that state and local governments lack the power to tax permanent improvements built on non-reservation land that is held in trust by the federal government....more

California Appellate Court Holds State Regulators Lack Authority To Regulate Tribe-Affiliated Lenders

On January 21, the California Court of Appeal, Second District, held that short-term, small-dollar credit businesses owned by certain federally recognized Indian tribes are sufficiently related to their respective tribes to...more

New York AG Settles Suit Against Internet Payday Lenders

On January 24, New York Attorney General (AG) Eric Schneiderman announced the resolution of a lawsuit filed in August 2013 against Native American tribe-affiliated payday lending firms and their owners for allegedly violating...more

Tribal Sovereign Immunity Blocks Payday Lending Enforcement Action, Calif. Appellate Court Rules

In a state enforcement action alleging violations of California’s lending law and seeking to enjoin continued lending to state residents, a California Court of Appeal has ruled that tribal sovereign immunity shielded the two...more

Tribal Sovereign Immunity Protects Payday Lenders From State Enforcement

Last year, the Commissioner of Business Oversight issued several alerts warning consumers that it has received complaints with respect to unlicensed firms offering payday (deferred deposit) loans in California. The common...more

CFPB Tests the Limits of Tribal Lending Immunity With Cash Call Case

On December 16, 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed suit against Cash Call, Inc., WS Funding, LLC, Delbert Services Corporation and J. Paul Reddam (collectively “Cash Call”), alleging that the extremely high...more

Alberta Court Grants Order Under Public Lands Act Halting Lubicon Blockade

On December 16, 2013, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench granted a long-term Order to Penn West Petroleum Ltd. prohibiting several members of the Lubicon Lake Cree from continuing to blockade a permitted access road in the...more

Top 10 Indian Tribal Tax Developments in 2013 and Priorities for 2014

In 2013, courts were active in issues relating to Indian tribes, including ruling on state tax matters and the federal income tax aspects of Section 17 corporations. The top 10 Indian tribal tax developments from 2013...more

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