“An Annotated Timeline of the Navajo Presidential Election Dispute: Part 2, January 29-February 23, 2015″

Paul Spruhan has updated his timeline. It is posted in SSRN here.

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

FBA 2015 Agenda and Registration Information


Here is the FBA 2015 brochure (PDF). And the blurb:

40th Annual Indian Law Conference | April 9–10, 2015 | Talking Stick Resort | Scottsdale, Ariz.

If you are working with—or on behalf of—Native Americans, this is the largest annual law event designed for you. At this year’s conference, Forty Years Strong: The Indian Self-Determination Era Strengthening Tribal Sovereignty, attendees will hear scholars, federal appointees, and other community leaders discuss some of the most pressing issues related to Indian law and the future independence and health of tribal communities. Special events commemorating this landmark event include colorguard presentation and honor song during the Thursday luncheon and a celebratory round dance at the conclusion of the conference on Friday. Don’t miss this celebration 40 years in the making!  Visit www.fedbar.org/IndianLaw15 today for more information about attending this premier Indian Law event.


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Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher | Tagged | Leave a comment

Cornell NALSA to Host Tribal Economic Development Summit This Saturday (To be Live Streamed)


Cornell Tribal Economic Development Summit Poster

Here is the agenda (PDF):

Summit Agenda-1_Page_1 Summit Agenda-1_Page_2

Here is the live stream link for the morning panel sessions:

And here is the link for the Keynote address:

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, economic development, Student Activities, Symposia | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Job Opening for Fredicks Peebles & Morgan, Omaha Office

Transactional and Tribal Government Attorney

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University of South Dakota NALSA Extends Support to the Lakota 57 

The University of South Dakota School of Law Native American Law Student Association IMG_1490(NALSA) organized a Peace Gathering in honor of the 57 children from American Horse School on the Pine Ridge Reservation.  These students, age 9 to 13, were attending a Rapid City Rush hockey game in recognition of their school accomplishments.  Unfortunately, these students had beer poured on them and were subject to racial epithets.  The alleged perpetrator was charged with a low level misdemeanor of disorderly conduct. 


The gathering brought together almost 30 law students and faculty members into the courtroom. The Law School community was invited to write personal letters of encouragement and support to send to the students. NALSA’s goal is to send a strong message to the children so that they know we support them in their efforts to continue to strive and to grow from this negative and ugly experience


Tysolake House, second year law student and Vice-President of NALSA, shared his thoughts on the incident. For Tysolake, this incident hit very close to home. He mentioned the obstacles he had to overcome dealing with racially charged issues as a child. He also expressed his sympathies for the children as he envisioned this situation potentially happening to his own children, who are the same age. 


USD Law Professor Frank Pommersheim shared a few thoughts about how to move forward from this horrible incident. His remarks focused on the need for ‘solidarity,’ particularly from NALSA and the legal community, to show support for these young native studentsThese students need to know that there are many people of good will who want them to succeed.


Gene Thin Elk, Director of the Native American Cultural Center, also attended the Peace Gathering in support of the children from American Horse School. Gene expressed his support by sharing a few words about overcoming adversity and by singing a Lakota Song.


At the conclusion of this gathering everyone gathered to take a group picture. Everyone in attendance firmly stood behind the banner that exclaimed the words, “They are our children too.” 



-Kyle Chase

USD NALSA President

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Student Activities | Tagged , | Leave a comment

National NALSA Press Release on 2015 Alternative Spring Break Program

From here:

I am proud to announce the 2015 Alternative Spring Break (ASB) Program projects that have been selected to receive an award. The National Native American Law Student Association Executive Board has chosen a project from Columbia Law School and the University of Michigan Law School! Columbia Law School will be working with Anishinabe Legal Services on three reservations in northwestern Minnesota to assist indigent program clients with civil needs, including a strong emphasis on domestic violence. Michigan Law School will be travelling to the Navajo Nation to work with DNA Legal Services to gain legal and practical skills, while also learning about Navajo life in Window Rock, Arizona. NNALSA has budgeted $1,000 for this year’s program, and each school will receive an award of $500! NNALSA would also like to recognize all program applicants for the high quality projects that were submitted. Congratulations to this year’s award winners!

In other news, Alex Kitson has made the difficult decision to resign from her duties as the Public Relations Director of NNALSA. On behalf of the Board of NNALSA, I would like to thank Alex for her time and commitment at helping NNALSA achieve its goals by helping to spread the word through numerous media outlets. Alex, you will be missed and good luck in all of your future endeavors.

The Executive Board took a vote and appointed P. Nelson Lambert to the PR Director position.  Nelson entered NNALSA as the Area 5 representative. Because the Board appointed him to PR Director Area 5 is now vacant and we are looking to fill the position. If any member is interested in representing Area 5 please send an interest statement to nnalsa.president@gmail.com.

Be sure to keep a look out for future announcements because NNALSA has some wonderful events and opportunities coming up! Events such as the National Moot Court Competition at the University of Arizona, and “Fed-Bar” where the new future board members of NNALSA will be elected and where the best 1L, 2L, 3L, and Chapter of the Year awards will be given. I hope everyone is excited about the future of NNALSA, and the positive future we are trying to achieve for Indian Country.

Nelson Lambert

J.D. Candidate, 2016

Charlotte School of Law

National NALSA Public Relations Director



Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Student Activities | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Tlingit and Haida to conduct same-sex marriages

Here. As far as we know, this will be the first tribal nation in Alaska to conduct same-sex marriages.

Posted in Author: Ann Tweedy, marriage equality, News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Guest Post: Bill Rastetter on Judge Enslen

From long-time Grand Traverse Band counsel Bill Rastetter on the passing of Judge Enslen:

Writing this helps me to reflect upon not just Richard Enslen but also the two other Western District judges appointed by Jimmy Carter — all of whom made major rulings for Grand Traverse Band.  (There’s a story there, if I ever could find the time; I’d start the story by talking with Dean Robb who was in the group of lawyers picked by the two Democratic Senators who came up with a list of possible nominees, including “progressives” who never would be considered in the present climate.)  Those three were Richard Enslen, Douglas Hillman, and Benjamin Gibson.  In retrospect, each individual evidenced concern for the plight of the less advantaged, the powerless within our society; and GTB’s victories might not have occurred if they had not been on the bench.

Gibson left Michigan long before retirement age, but not before he granted GTB its first victory in the modern (restored) era: Leelanau Indians, Inc. and Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians v. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (W.D. Mich. File No. G 80-526): 502 F.Supp. 741 (W.D. Mich. 1980).

Hillman?  Well, there’s the major case [Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians v. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, et al. (W.D. Mich. File No. 1:96-CV-466): 198 F.Supp.2d 920 (W.D. Mich. 2002), and 46 F.Supp.2d 689 (W.D. Mich. 1999), aff’d. 369 F.3d 960 (6th Cir. 2004)] which easily could have been resolved differently if another judge had been assigned that case.*

And Enslen.  Even before the “treaty-fishing” cases, he granted the judgment declaring that GTB controlled the Peshawbestown lands. [Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians v. Leelanau County and Leelanau Indians, Inc. (W.D. Mich. File No. G 83-834)]  Attached is his unpublished opinion; it’s the only time my proposed findings and conclusions have been adopted verbatim (without even being retyped).  And he was assigned the GTB v. BIA case [Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians v. Bureau of Indian Affairs, et al. (W.D. Mich. File No. G 85-382)], by which we (with his help/not so subtle messages to DOJ that he’d grant preliminary injunction for us if …) held them (the Reagan administration DOI political operatives) at bay until Buddy Raphael negotiated the “compromise” membership provisions.  Both the 1985 and 2000 consent decrees were the result of his commitment to ADR (and at various times he forcefully let lawyers for state/”sports” groups know that they really didn’t want to give him a chance to rule for the Tribes); likewise, he allowed the Tribes plenty of maneuvering room leading up to the 2007 “inland” consent decree.  Also his July 15, 1986 opinion/order in which he fashioned a remedy in GTB’s favor when the other COTFMA Tribes (BMIC & SSM) decided they could distribute 1985 CD funds by majority vote (subsequently there have been equal 1/3 and then 1/5 distributions of appropriated funds above each Tribe’s base).  Finally, of course, is GTB’s “access” case now in the textbooks: Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians v. Director, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, et al. (W.D. Mich. File No. 1:94-CV-707): 971 F.Supp. 282 (1995), aff’d. 141 F.3d 635 (6th Cir. 1998), cert. denied 454 U.S. 1124, 102 S.Ct. 971 (1998).


* Here is an article that appeared later in the New Yorker, written by his niece about his mother.  I was struck by the passage on the last page.  Here was a man who rose to the top of a prestigious G.R. law firm, probably relatively conservative albeit a Democrat in conservative G.R. and (I think) a labor lawyer, but I’m not aware of any indication that he was champion of the downtrodden.  Perhaps his mother instilled a sense of (in)justice, and when the opportunity presented itself he saved the day for the Indian Tribes. [United States v. Bay Mills Indian Community, et al. (W.D. Mich. File No. M 85-335): 692 F. Supp. 777 (W.D. Mich. 1988), vacated 727 F. Supp. 1110 (W.D. Mich. 1989)]  GTB gets no credit for Judge Hillman’s decision not to enjoin the Tribes’ casino gaming, yet it was our separate brief (and affidavits of Buddy Raphael and Barry Burtt) that argued Rule 65 equitable considerations weighed against the injunction requested by DOJ.

Posted in Bureau of Indian Affairs, Guest Post: Bill Rastetter, IGRA, Indian gaming, Michigan Indian, treaty rights | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Navajo Presidential Election Set for April 21


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Presidential election set for April 21st

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

Univ. of Kansas Scholars on Protecting Indigenous Knowledge in the Age of Climate Change

Joseph Brewer II and Elizabeth Ann Kronk Warner have posted “Guarding Against Exploitation: Protecting Indigenous Knowledge in the Age of Climate Change” on SSRN.

Here is the abstract:

Indigenous knowledge has the potential to ameliorate the extreme, destructive impacts of climate change. Given their enduring connection to place, indigenous communities are the subjects of knowledge acquisition relevant to the changing climate. Yet, because this traditional knowledge has been exploited by outsiders, indigenous communities may be wary to share such valuable information with individuals outside of their communities. And, even if traditional knowledge is shared, indigenous peoples may wish to maintain control over its use to guard against exploitation. This article addresses concerns associated with the stewarding of such traditional knowledge, in hopes of providing legal structure to the conversation. As the application of traditional knowledge becomes more apparent in the climate change context, a conversation to invoke action in the academy and legal systems is needed to create structures that value as well as protect the complexities of indigenous community-based research. Ultimately, this article strives to explore methods of holding those who seek and steward traditional knowledge accountable to indigenous communities. To accomplish this goal, this article examines traditional knowledge held by tribes within the United States that may prove helpful in the fight against the deleterious impacts of climate change. Then, having identified valuable knowledge possessed by tribes, the article goes on to examine the potential for existing domestic and international law to protect against the exploitation of such knowledge. After concluding that the existing law provides inadequate protection at best, the article asserts that tribes may be better served by enacting their own tribal laws to protect against such exploitation, and then explores the existing tribal law enacted to protect tribal traditional knowledge. This is the first article to provide concrete examples of traditional knowledge useful in combating the impacts of climate change and how the law may apply in such instances. This is also the first article to examine the use of tribal law to address the protection of traditional knowledge in-depth and provide a discussion of how some tribes are already utilizing tribal law to accomplish such goals. Accordingly, this article constitutes an important addition to the scholarship surrounding protection of traditional knowledge.

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