Tribal Governments

News & Analysis as of

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

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

CFPB Enforcement Uses UDAAP to Put Focus on State Law Compliance

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or the “Bureau”) has put state law compliance front and center in a case filed in federal court against an online payday lender, related companies, and their principal for...more

War Games in Wisconsin (2013 Style)

Wisconsin is home to 11 recognized Indian tribes. It is a fact that 11 tribes will not unanimously agree on all issues. It also is a fact that not all issues require unanimous agreement. However, Governor Scott Walker has...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

Federal District Court Denies Tribal Lenders’ Attempt To Block New York Internet Lending Investigation

On September 30, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a motion filed by two Native American tribes and related entities seeking to enjoin the New York Department of Financial Services (NY DFS)...more

CFPB denies petition by tribal payday lenders to set aside CIDs

On September 26, the CFPB issued a 10-page order denying a petition filed jointly by three tribal payday lenders that asked the CFPB to set aside the civil investigative demands (CIDs) the lenders received from the CFPB. The...more

Canada's First Foreign Bribery Conviction Shows Trend in Increased Enforcement

On August 15, 2013, the Ontario Superior Court found Canadian national Nazir Karigar guilty of conspiring to offer a bribe to Indian government officials under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (“CFPOA”). The...more

“Reservation Shopping” Circa 2013

The term “reservation shopping” has been coined by various anti-casino groups, some local governments, and even some gaming tribes to disparage efforts of non-gaming tribes to acquire lands in trust for gaming. Some of the...more

September Fiscal Fights in Congress Threaten to Ground Tribal Plans for Drones

Domestic use of drones by Native American Indian tribal governments for resource management and public safety may be grounded before takeoff, at least for a while, by fiscal dogfights and privacy concerns that will play out...more

Lenders Pushback on New York’s Efforts to Curb Payday Lending

Members of tribal nations filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against the New York State Department of Financial Services in response to the its attempt to shut down...more

Tribes Seek To Halt New York Internet Lending Investigation; Meet With DOJ On Parallel Investigation

On August 21, two Native American tribes and related entities announced a lawsuit against the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) in response to its recent effort to halt the offering of online payday loans to New...more

Despite Sovereign Status Indian Tribe Must Follow NLRA

In a decision that could have ripple effects nationwide, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has held that federal labor protections apply to an Indian tribe’s casino operations in Oklahoma....more

Ninth Circuit Decision Creates New Tax Opportunities and Challenges in Indian Country

Since the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Mescalero Apache Tribe v. Jones, it has been clear that state and local tax authorities could not assess property tax on permanent improvements located on tribal trust land when...more

Georgia Attorney General Latest To Sue Tribe-Affiliated Online Payday Lender

On July 29, Georgia Attorney General (AG) Sam Olens announced a lawsuit against a payday lending operation affiliated with a Native American Tribe for allegedly making illegal loans in that state....more

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