Register Now for the 2017 Indigenous Law Conference

Just a reminder! Register now for the ILPC/TICA Conference today! Hotel rooms are filling up fast at the East Lansing Marriott (conference hotel). Hotel rooms are sold out at the host hotel! There are a limited number of rooms on hold for this conference at the Candlewood Suites. Information here.

Links: Tentative Agenda, Registration, TICA sponsorship and membership, Artist Asia Tail

Posted in Announcements, Author: Sarah Donnelly, Symposia | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

ICWA Inquiry Case out of Colorado Court of Appeals


To decide if the trial court complied with ICWA, we must answer a question that has yet to be decided in Colorado: When a trial court inquires at an initial temporary custody hearing at the commencement of the dependency and neglect proceeding whether there is a reason to know that the child is an Indian child, must it make another inquiry when termination is sought? We conclude that the answer is “yes,” at least when the court has not already identified the child as an Indian child and the petitioning party has not disclosed what efforts it has made to determine if the child is an Indian child.

Posted in Author: Kate E. Fort, Child Welfare, ICWA | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ninth Circuit Remands Makah v. Quileute/Quinault Ocean U&A Dispute

Here is the opinion in Makah Indian Tribe v. Quileute Indian Tribe.

 Briefs are here.

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Research, treaty rights | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Update on Same Sex Marriage Case at Ak-Chin Community


Redacted Special Master Report

Ruling on Matter Under Advisement (1) final Pablo

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Research, tribal constitutions, tribal courts | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Michigan COA Rules Former Tribal Official with Criminal Record Not Eligible for State and Local Office

Here is the opinion in Paquin v. City of St. Ignace:

unpublished opinion

An excerpt:

In light of the foregoing, we hold that the Tribe constitutes a local government and that plaintiff’s employment with the Tribe constituted employment in “local, state, or federal government” for purposes of Const 1963, art XI, § 8. Such a holding does not diminish or undermine the Tribe’s inherent sovereign authority. “[S]tate laws are generally not applicable to tribal Indians on an Indian reservation except where Congress has explicitly provided that state law shall apply.” Huron Potawatomi, Inc v Stinger, 227 Mich App 127, 132; 574 NW2d 706 (1997). In the instant case, no one is seeking to prohibit plaintiff from running for a position in the Tribe or otherwise to interfere in the Tribe’s regulation of its internal matters. Instead, Const 1963, art 11, § 8 is being applied to prohibit plaintiff from running for a position on defendant’s city council. In other words, the constitutional provision is being used to assess the qualification of a potential candidate for a position on the city council of a Michigan municipality, not a position in the Tribe. “The members of the various Indian tribes are citizens of the United States and citizens of the state within which they reside.” Mich United Conservation Clubs v Anthony, 90 Mich App 99, 109; 280 NW2d 883 (1979) (citations omitted). In seeking to run for an elective position in a Michigan city, plaintiff was acting in his capacity as a Michigan citizen rather than a member of the Tribe. As a Michigan citizen, plaintiff is subject to the same laws as other Michigan citizens when seeking to run for an office in a Michigan municipality. See generally, Mescalero Apache Tribe v Jones, 411 US 145, 148-149; 93 S Ct 1267; 36 L Ed 2d 114 (1973) (“Absent express federal law to the contrary, Indians going beyond reservation boundaries have generally been held subject to non-discriminatory state law otherwise applicable to all citizens of the State.”).

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Criminal, Michigan Indian, Research | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Alex Skibine on the Last 30 Years of Indian Law in the Supreme Court

Alexander Tallchief Skibine has posted “The Supreme Court’s Last 30 Years of Federal Indian Law: Looking for Equilibrium or Supremacy?” He presented this paper at the PLSI 50th Anniversary.

Here is the abstract:

Since 1831, Indian nations have been viewed as Domestic Dependent Nations located within the geographical boundaries of the United States. Although Chief Justice John Marshall acknowledged that Indian nations had a certain amount of sovereignty, the exact extent of such sovereignty as well as the place of tribes within the federal system has remained ill-defined. This Article examines what has been the role of the Supreme Court in integrating Indian nations as the third Sovereign within our federalist system. The Article accomplishes this task by examining the Court’s Indian law record in the last 30 years. The comprehensive survey of Indian law decisions indicates that the Court has had difficulties upholding the federal policy of respecting tribal sovereignty and encouraging tribal self-government. After categorizing the cases between victories and losses, the Article divides the cases into four categories: Federal common law, statutory interpretation, constitutional law, and procedural law. The cases are then further divided into four general areas: 1. Tribal Sovereign/Political rights, 2. Economic Rights (treaty/property rights), 3. Rights derived from the trust relationship, and 4. Cultural/Religious rights.

The Article next focuses on the interaction between the Court and Congress concerning the incorporation of tribes as the third sovereign within the federalist system. This Part first evaluates Congress’s response to Supreme Court cases and then looks at the Court’s response to congressional legislation. The Article ends by arguing that through its disproportionate use of federal common law in its Indian law decisions, the Court has not attempted to reach a consensus with Congress about the place of Indian nations within our federalism. Instead, it has aimed to establish what the Court perceives should be the proper equilibrium between tribal interests on one hand and the non-Indian/state interests on the other.

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Scholarship, Supreme Court | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Friday Job Announcements

Job vacancies are posted on Friday. Some announcements might still appear throughout the week. If you would like your Indian law job posted on Turtle Talk, please email

Maniilaq Association

General Counsel, Kotzebue, A.K. Oversees and manages general counsel functions, including assigning, supervising and evaluating all the work of outside counsel and internal investigations. Works collaboratively with other departments and organizational units to develop and implement processes to ensure appropriate identification, analysis, prioritization, and coordinated response to legal, risk management & compliance issues.

Bear Ears Tribal Commission

Executive Director, Four Corners Area. The Director will implement the Commission’s directives as it collaboratively identifies and helps to implement interim visitation, site protection, and interpretation strategies for the monument, and as it engages in the preparation of recommendations for the national monument management plan for Bears Ears National Monument, Utah.

Previous Friday Job Announcements10/3/17

Posted in Author: Sarah Donnelly, jobs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Amerind Insurance Prevails over Blackfeet Housing

Here are the materials in Amerind Risk Management Corp. v. Blackfeet Housing Authority (D.N.M.):

42 dct order

28-1 amerind motion for summary j

33 response

36 amerind response

38 blackfeet reply

Prior post here.

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Research, sovereign immunity, tribal courts | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Splinter: “The Long Thorny History of the Cherokee Who Owned African Slaves”


Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Research, tribal membership | Tagged | Leave a comment

NCJFCJ & NAICJA Webinar on Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience of Addiction

Link: Registration

Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience of Addiction: Understanding the Brain Science
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at
12 pm PT / 1 pm MT / 2 pm CT / 3 pm ET (90 minutes)

Do you work with substance users and sometimes find their behavior frustrating or difficult to understand? Join us for our next FREE webinar on Neuropharmacology to understand some of the reasons behind this behavior!

​Understanding both psychopharmacology and addiction is very important for professionals who work with people struggling with substance abuse. Working with addicts can be be difficult, because addicts may behave in ways that are are difficult for non-addicts to understand. This webinar will discuss the effects of drugs on the brain, why relapse is common, and the science behind the disease of addiction. In addition, the presentation will discuss the specific challenges that tribal communities face when working with this population.


  • Ansley Sherman (Muscogee Creek), Program Attorney, National American Indian Court Judges Association

Faculty Presenter:

  • ​Honorable Kim McGinnis, PhD., Esq., Chief Judge, Pueblo of Pojoaque Tribal Court
Posted in Author: Sarah Donnelly, webinar | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Problems with Passive Voice Part Infinity–Children Missing in KS Foster Care

Here is the original article.

Here is the response/statement from Kansas DCF:

The reality is quite different from what “outraged” legislators would have you believe. Allow me to share with you who the children are, we consider missing. In 92 percent of the cases, they are young people, ages 12 and older. They have been removed from the only home they know, placed in an unfamiliar setting, and they miss their families, their schools and their communities. And they are eager to find a way to get back to them.

Maybe I shouldn’t write this on an empty stomach, but WHO removed these children? WHO put them in an unfamiliar setting? Away from their schools and communities? WHO accepted responsibility for them? And then WHO contracted out their care and protection to private agencies?  Oh, that’s right.

You don’t get to blame the kids you lose when it’s your job to keep tabs on them.

Posted in Author: Kate E. Fort, Child Welfare | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment