Tribal Lands

News & Analysis as of

Global Energy Game Changers

The global energy sector is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Advanced technologies, distributed networks and new regulations in nearly every subsector have strangled yesterday's business models. Foundational elements...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

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

Alberta's Metis Consultation Policy

Although formally approved by Cabinet in the fall of 2015, The Government of Alberta's Policy on Consultation with Metis Settlements on Land and Natural Resource Management (the Metis Settlements Consultation Policy) came...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

U.S.-Canada Arctic Partnership Calls for Collaboration with Native Americans, Alaska Natives

President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in early March 2016 a new partnership to confront the challenges of a changing Arctic. The partnership calls for the involvement of key stakeholders...more

Supreme Court Update: Hawkins V. Patterson (14-520), Tyson Foods V. Bouaphakeo (14-1146), Nebraska V. Parker (14-406), Sturgeon V....

So many announcements since our last Update. The President announced D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland as his pick to take the late Justice Scalia's seat on the Court; Senate Republicans promptly announced that they...more

The Supreme Court - March 2016 #4

The Supreme Court of the United States issued decisions in four cases on March 22, 2016: Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, No. 14-1146: Respondents, employees at a pork processing plant of petitioner Tyson Foods, filed a...more

Supreme Court Unanimously Holds that Omaha Tribe’s Reservation Not Diminished by 1882 Statute

On March 22, 2016, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Nebraska v. Parker. In this case, Nebraska challenged the Omaha Indian Tribe’s right to enforce a Department of Interior-approved liquor ordinance on parts of the...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Updates Native American Tribe Policy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced an updated Native American policy on January 27, 2016, which provides a framework for government-to-government relationships to further the federal government’s trust...more

The Nenqay Deni Accord: The People’s Accord – Framework to Break New Ground by Reconciling the Past

The next step in the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s journey to self-government was taken on February 11, 2016, when the Tsilhqot’in Nation and the Province of British Columbia signed the Nenqay Deni Accord: The People’s Accord. The...more

Parity for Tribal Governments Operating Drones

When Congress first authorized the domestic use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA), it created special, streamlined provisions for the...more

State, Local Taxes on Tribal Leases Vulnerable After California Court Order

Indian country may be close to another victory against state and local taxes. On Feb. 8, 2016, a California district court issued an order that signals it is likely to invalidate Riverside County's imposition of a possessory...more

Suspension of coal leasing

The United States Department of the Interior has announced a temporary suspension of coal leasing on public lands pending a comprehensive review of the federal coal program by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  Public...more

Interior's Proposed Rule on Flaring Would Restrict Oil and Gas Development on Tribal Lands

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), on Jan. 22, 2016, proposed a rule developed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that would limit the flaring, leaking and venting of natural gas on public and tribal lands....more

Renewable Energy Case Law Update

This case law update describes a selection of renewable energy cases from 2015. It is not intended to address all renewable energy cases over the previous year, but rather, highlight a few that are more likely to be of...more

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

FCC Releases 2016 Broadband Progress Report

According to the Federal Communications Commission, 90 percent of Americans have access to broadband Internet access service at the FCC’s benchmark speeds of 25 Mbps for downloads/3 Mbps for uploads. But the FCC also found...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

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

Utah Congressmen Unveil Landmark Public Land Bill

On January 20, Congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz unveiled a “discussion draft” of the Utah Public Lands Initiative Act. The proposed bill undertakes the difficult task of balancing economic development and...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

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