2017 Indigenous Law & Policy Center Fellowship Announcement

The Indigenous Law & Policy Center welcomes applications for the 2017–2018 Fellow position.

Position Summary

The ILPC Fellowship is a flexible position that offers one new law grad each year the chance to work in a setting that is both academic and clinical in nature. Depending on the particular interests of the Fellow, there may be more time spent developing academic articles, researching and writing briefs, interacting with students and legal professionals, or attending conferences centered on Indian law.

Duties and Responsibilities

The following duties and responsibilities are an approximate list of the duties and responsibilities of past Fellows. The Fellow chosen will have the opportunity to spend more time in areas that interest them, but may have to complete additional duties as required by the ILPC.

  1. Maintain a weekly study skills and community-building meeting with 1L students interested in the Indigenous Law & Policy Certificate.
  2. Co-teach the Indian Law Clinic class and the NNALSA Moot Court class.
  3. Act in a staff attorney capacity, researching and writing on problems of federal Indian law as they arise, especially in the ICWA Appellate Project of the Indian Law Clinic.
  4. Assist with the preparation of party and amicus briefs handled by the ILPC.
  5. Publish or work towards publishing a scholarly article, white paper, or working paper based on independent research.
  6. Help with the organization and facilitation of the annual ILPC conference.


  1. Recent graduate of an ABA accredited law school.
  2. Taken a course or have experience in Federal Indian Law.
  3. Commitment and availability to hold the Fellow position from July 2017–June 2018, as well as a willingness to travel occasionally to conferences.
  4. Bar passage is not required, but Fellows are encouraged to take the bar exam.


$42,099, plus Michigan State University College of Law full time staff benefits.

Application Requirements

Please submit a cover letter outlining your interest and personal goals, a current resume and writing sample, and two references to Sarah Donnelly at donnel93@law.msu.edu via PDF attachment by April 15, 2017.

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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 indigenous@law.msu.edu.

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Attorney, Durant, OK. Applicants should send their resumes to: Karen Burkett, Senior Recruiter, at kburkett@choctawnation.com

Tohono O’odham Nation

Chief Prosecutor, Sells, AZ. Applicants must have at least six years of relevant experience, including three years of supervisory experience, and be licensed in Arizona.  To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and three writing samples to Laura Berglan, Acting Attorney General, via email at laura.berglan@tonation-nsn.gov.

Bear River Band of Rohnerville

Court Clerk, Loleta, CA. Apply here.

Oglala Sioux Tribe

In-house Attorneys (2), Pine Ridge, SD. Requirements: degree from an accredited law school; admitted to practice and in good standing by a State Bar Association; hair follicle drug test; criminal background check; experience working with Tribes and knowledge of federal Indian law. Salary: depends on years of legal experience, up to $150,000 per annum. Interested candidates must submit a Letter of Intent and documents to: Lisa Cummings, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Legal Department, PO Box 2070, Pine Ridge, SD 57770 or email to LisaC@oglala.org. Telephone number: 605.867.2138.

University of Washington School of Law

Staff Attorney, Tribal Court Public Defense Clinic, Seattle, WA.

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Permit Issued for Keystone XL Pipeline


Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, cultural resources, Environmental, News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Federal Court Dismisses Claims by “Historic Ione Band of Miwok Indians Tribe”

Here are the materials in Villa v. Jewell (E.D. Cal.):

16-1 Motion to Dismiss

20 Opposition

23 Reply

26 DCT Order

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

Richard Hughes on Pueblo Water Rights

Richard W. Hughes has published “Pueblo Indian Water Rights: Charting the Unknown” in the Natural Resources Journal, Winter 2017.

Here is the abstract:

This article examines the so-far-unsuccessful efforts to judicially define and quantify the water rights appurtenant to the core land holdings of the 19 New Mexico Pueblos, many of whose lands straddle the Rio Grande. It explains that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has squarely held that Pueblo water rights are governed by federal, not state law, and are prior to those of any non-Indian appropriator, but also that the Tenth Circuit acknowledged that it could not say how those rights should be characterized. Part I of the article examines the course of the cases that have sought to achieve this elusive goal. Of the first six cases, filed half a century ago, three ended in negotiated settlements and none of them has yielded a definitive ruling on the nature or measure of Pueblo rights. Of the three cases filed since then, only one is in active litigation on the Pueblo rights issue, but that case may finally lead to a substantive ruling. Part II discusses the few rulings that have been issued in these cases so far relative to Pueblo water rights, and examines the distinctive nature of the issues that are presented by the unique circumstances of the Pueblos’ history and landholdings. The article notes that the ultimate determination of the nature and measure of Pueblo rights could have dramatic consequences for any effort to adjudicate rights on the mainstem of the Upper and Middle Rio Grande.

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

Navajo Sues Interior over Judiciary Funding

Here is the complaint in Navajo Nation v. United States (D.D.C.):

1 Complaint

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

Incarcerated Cobell-Eligible Beneficiary’s Federal Trust Claims May Proceed

Here are the materials in Godfrey v. United States (Fed. Cl.):

1 Complaint

8 US Motion to Dismiss

12 Response

15 DCT Order

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

Gorsuch: “Tribes are . . . Sovereign Nations”

Here is a link to a short clip created by a user on C-SPAN from Judge Gorsuch’s testimony. Judge Gorsuch mentions his decisions in cases involving the Ute Tribe and the Osage Tribe. Thanks to John Dossett.

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Research, Supreme Court | Tagged , | 1 Comment

DAPL Appeal Pleadings

Here are the briefs in Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. United States Army Corps of Engineers:

2017 03 15 Em Mtn for Injunction

2017 03 17 ACOE Resp in Opp

2017 03 17 CRST Reply

2017 03 17 DAPL Resp in Opp Exhibits

2017 03 17 DAPL Resp in Opp

2017 03 18 Order Denying Injunction

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

NAICJA 2017 Conference RFP

The National American Indian Court Judges Association (NAICJA) invites presentation proposals for the 48th Annual National Tribal Judicial and Court Personnel Conference which will be held October 10-13, 2017, at the beautiful Isleta Resort & Casino in Albuquerque, NM. NAICJA’s Annual Conference offers innovative and timely tribal justice information through high quality presentations by national experts.

The theme of this year’s conference is, “Tribal Justice: Building and Strengthening Relationships and Partnerships.” NAICJA is featuring topics that highlight ways in which American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and First Nations justice systems are building and strengthening relationships between tribes, states, federal agencies, and organizations including the philanthropic sector. We are especially interested in presentations that focus on collaboration and partnerships, tribal sovereignty, international frameworks for understanding indigenous principles and topics, promising Indian child welfare practices, court security, and other areas of interest to court clerks and court personnel.

Full details available here:  NAICJA 2017 Presentation RFP Final.



This is your opportunity to share your expertise and display your creativity by developing an original program for presentation. Proposals specifically tailored to meet the needs of the 300-person NAICJA audience are strongly preferred. Proposals are due on or before Monday, May 1, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. (MST).

Posted in Announcements, Author: Victoria Sweet, Education, tribal courts | Tagged | Leave a comment

Central New York Fair Business Assoc. v. Jewell Cert Petition


Cert Petition

Questions presented:

1) Does the Secretary of the Interior have unlimited authority pursuant to 25 U.S.C. § 465,25 U.S.C. § 9 and 43 U.S.C. § 1457 to promulgate and exercise the 25 CFR Part 151 regulations to acquire any fee land from state jurisdiction and place it into federal trust status?
2) Whether the Second Circuit misinterpreted the “fact” discussion in this Court’s majority opinion in City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation upholding its prior decision that the Oneida state Indian reservation was federal Indian country affecting the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to acquire 14,000 acres of fee land to place into federal trust in the Records of Decision prejudicing these petitioners in applying 5 U.S.C. § 706 in this case.
3) What is left of the Equal Footing Doctrine if the Secretary of the Interior can acquire fee land from the original colony of the State of New York and place it into federal trust for an Indian tribe to exercise jurisdiction over it as federal territorial land?
Lower court materials here.
Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, fee to trust, Research, Supreme Court | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment