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

Morongo Band of Mission Indians

Tribal Associate Judge, contracted for 5-10 hours per month.

Tohono O’odham Nation

Asst. Attorney General: The Office of Attorney General is now hiring an Assistant Attorney General IV, Health, with at least eight years of relevant experience, including experience in health law.  The Office of Attorney General represents the interests of the Tohono O’odham Nation in tribal, state, and federal venues.

The Nation offers generous benefits including paid holidays, sick and annual leave, low cost medical, dental, and vision insurance.  Applicants must pass a background check.  Send resume, legal writing sample, and three references to Acting Attorney General Laura Berglan via email at

Nooksack Indian Tribe

Senior Attorney, closes 10/12/2016.

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

Judge Grants Tribal Motions to Intervene in Goldwater (ICWA) Litigation


Previous filings here.

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

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Cert in Lee v. Tam


This case addresses the same issue brought up by Pro-Football v. Blackhorse (section 2(a) of the Lanham Act), which is currently in the 4th Circuit. Pro-Football, Inc. petitioned the Court to skip the 4th Circuit and be joined to the Tam v. Lee case if it was granted here. There is no decision on that at this time.

Pro-Football v. Blackhorse coverage here.

Tam v. Lee coverage here.

Story from Law360 here.

Thanks to SD for the heads up.

Posted in Author: Kate E. Fort, Research, Scholarship, Supreme Court | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Cert in Lewis v. Clarke

Order list here.

Question Presented: Whether the sovereign immunity of an Indian tribe bars individual-capacity damages actions against tribal employees for torts committed within the scope of their employment.

Previous coverage here.

Posted in Author: Kate E. Fort, Research, Scholarship, sovereign immunity, Supreme Court | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference Panel — Tribes and Territories: Unique and Active Members of the American Political/Legal Family


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

Sixth Commentary on TNToT — Chapter 5: “Taking Indian Kids Away from Their Homes and Families”

This is the sixth full commentary on “The New Trail of Tears” (TNToT), a book written by Naomi Schaefer Riley (NSR or the author). The announcement post is here.

  • The first commentary, “Framed by a Friend,” is here.
  • The second commentary, “Turning Indian History against Indians,” is here.
  • The third commentary, “Indians are Saudi Arabia, Not Israel (Oh, and Crying Toddlers)” is here.
  • The fourth commentary, “”Indians as Unmotivated, Dependent Victims” is here.
  • Monte Mills’ guest commentary is here.
  • The fifth commentary: “Tearing Down American Indian Educators and Parents” is here.
  • Commentary on NSR’s DAPL column is here.

Chapter 5 is an outrage, with NSR implicitly advocating for the complete eradication of tribal communities because Indian tribes and the federal government have made them unlivable. This chapter deals with the Indian Child Welfare Act and Indian country justice. NSR continues to condemn Indian people for the same dog whistles — they’re lazy, ignorant, and dependent.

ICWA (or, Indian Country is Hell)

TNToT tees up a series of anti-ICWA advocates here, but never really makes the argument for why ICWA is bad. NSR’s goal here is to try to show that Indian country is an unlivable hellhole. NSR believes that “for too many children the best option is be raised elsewhere” [at 146]. TNToT quotes Elizabeth Morris (a vociferous anti-ICWA voicebox for the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare), who hopes that her own children won’t grow up in Minnesota Indian country [at 145]. Morris blames the federal government’s “subsidies” for her perception that Indian families are disintegrating. [at 150] For Morris, the government has “replace[d] the father in the home. . . .” [at 150] Further, “A man does need to feel needed. But the government took care of all that.” [at 150]

Morris is an evangelical Christian who firmly preaches the “drunken Indian” stereotype as fact. She also believes that Indian children should be raised by white families: “If they seriously wanted to protect children, they would have to send them off the rez and give them to white foster homes.” Morris is affiliated with the “Citizens Equal Rights Alliance,” a white nationalist group. These are NSR’s people, leading her down the primrose path to conclude: “[T]he reservation [is] no place for . . . children.” [at 167]

NSR also relies upon Mark Fiddler (the man who wants as many Indian children in foster care as possible: “If anything, there should be more Indian children put into foster care.”). Like Morris, Fiddler condemns Indian parents and reservation homes, referring to a “cycle of dysfunctional parenting.” [at 152] Fiddler also alleges: “And a disproportionately high number of Indian children are in danger every day.” [at 149-50] Foster care in off-reservation homes as a solution to the real problems in Indian child welfare is a really bad idea. I addressed these claims here:

Studies show what should be inherently understood—plucking children out of a community they know and putting them in stranger foster care is actively harmful to kids (there’s a reason Casey Family Programs is putting a billion dollars into reducing the number of kids in foster care). Eighty percent of child welfare removals are due to neglect. Our children do deserve better: better services, better wrap around care, a better understanding of the mental health issues and chemical dependency that plagues their parents. They don’t deserve to be taken from everything familiar—their neighborhood, schools, and extended family—because of system failures in our society.

Opposition to ICWA often comes from the private adoption market, as I wrote here:

Who benefits if ICWA tumbles? As usual, the answer can be found by following the money. Start with the beneficiaries of the $14 billion private adoption market. The adoption industry long has been a foe of ICWA. Conversely, Indian tribes do not profit from the termination of parents’ rights.

ICWA requires the state to seek an Indian family to adopt where possible, but private adoption agencies don’t get paid unless an adoption with a paying family goes through. In both direct placement adoptions and adoptions following failed reunifications with parents, money works against reunification with families and ICWA compliance. Some foster parents are encouraged by private agencies to become foster-to-adopt parents, altering the goal of foster care from reunification to termination for adoption. And being told they will be able to adopt their Indian foster children just as soon as the parents’ rights are terminated creates an adversarial relationship – not one that encourages the stated goal of reunification. In addition, fees charged by private and religious adoption agencies taint direct placement adoption petitions.

Continue reading

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Assistant Tribal Attorney Vacancy with Menominee Indian Tribe

menomineesealThe Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin is a federally recognized tribe located in Keshena, Wisconsin.

The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin Legal Services Department currently seeks an Assistant Tribal Attorney-CS, SS. The ideal candidate will be a dynamic and energetic attorney capable to perform work in child support and child welfare and other projects as assigned. The Assistant Tribal Attorney-CS, SS will work as part of a team to protect and preserve the best interests of Menominee children and families. The position is located in Keshena, Wisconsin. The successful candidate may be eligible for federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.

The position of ASSISTANT TRIBAL ATTORNEY-CS, SS in LEGAL SERVICES with the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin has been posted beginning 9/28/2016 12:00:00 AM with a Close Date of 10/27/2016 11:59:00 PM.

This posting can be viewed at .”

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

NIGC Attorney Job Posting

The following position is available within the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC).

Attorney position:

The Office of General Counsel within the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has an Attorney position available in our Washington, DC office. The open period to apply for this position is  09/22/2016 – 10/03/2016. If you are interested, it is important that you act quickly to complete the application process. For more information please go to our website , our Facebook page , and on . If you have any questions regarding this position you may contact our Legal Executive Administrator , or our General Counsel .

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

MSU Students and Faculty Testified in Favor of East Lansing’s Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution

Passed last night! Here:


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

Commentary on Schaefer Riley’s Column on the DAPL Case

Naomi Schaefer Riley offered commentary on the Dakota Access Pipeline matter in her regular column in the New York Post, “How the Standing Rock Sioux should have been able to stop that pipeline.” This column continues NSR’s mockery of Indian peoples’ economic and cultural interests expressed in The New Trail of Tears.

The lede says it all:

Quick quiz: What’s the best way to stop a company from building an oil pipeline on a piece of land you find valuable? Answer: Buy the land.

Assuming that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other affected tribes had the resources to do so, it probably wouldn’t have mattered — energy companies usually just confiscate the land under their delegated power of eminent domain, as Dakota Access has. Sure, property ownership helps, but in the end, the law is tipped in the pipeline companies’ favor.

NSR cites to the Mormons (huh?) in a strange fictional scenario, and the friends of Langston Hughes in a more realistic scenario, who could purchase cultural property that might otherwise be destroyed through development:

But the results haven’t been satisfactory to the tribe. So let’s imagine a different scenario — in which any group of people in the United States wanted to block development on a certain site. Perhaps it’s the Mormons who hear a skyscraper will be going up in the place where Joseph Smith saw the golden tablets.

Or take a real-life example: The home where the poet Langston Hughes once lived is up for sale. A group of people want to turn it into a museum. In order to do so they’re raising money to buy the building from its current owner.

A pipeline developer’s power of eminent domain would wipe all that out. Really, the only thing that could stop the exercise of that power by an energy or utility company is tribal trust property, the very thing NSR criticizes as “dead capital,” to borrow Hernando de Soto’s phrase. Inspired by de Soto, NSR recommends (in a massive non sequitur) confiscating tribal trust property (never mind the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause) and awarding that property to individual Indians (much like she does in TNToT). The US tried that when it was called allotment and then again when it was called termination — both failed miserably. Peru tried it, too, following de Soto’s recommendations. Was it successful? Not so much. Other countries too (quoting from a Slate article that described the failures):

Reports from Turkey, Mexico, South Africa, and Colombia suggest similar trends. “In Bogota’s self-help settlements,” writes Alan Gilbert, a London professor of geography who has done extensive research on land issues in Colombia and other parts of Latin America, “property titles seem to have brought neither a healthy housing market nor a regular supply of formal credit.”

Indian country is the subject of a lot of predatory lending and redlining — NSR’s ideas very likely would mean massive windfalls for businesses exploiting poor people (kinda like Donald Trump’s claim that profiting from poor people in the housing crisis is “good business” in last night’s debate). Something tells me NSR doesn’t have the best interests of Indian people in mind.



Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Environmental, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments