Dear Tribal Leader Letter Announcing Consultation Dates Regarding Infrastructure (Pipeline) Decisions

Here. Additional information here along with dates and locations of the listening sessions.

Recent events have highlighted the need for a broader review and consultation as to how, prospectively, Federal decisionmaking on infrastructure projects can better allow for timely and meaningful tribal input. On behalf of the Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, Department of the Army, and other Federal agencies, we invite you to consultations on how the Federal Government can better account for, and integrate tribal views, on future infrastructure decisions throughout the country. Consistent with our nation-to-nation relationship, our consultations are with tribal leaders and your designated staff. In particular, we have identified the following questions we seek your input on:

(1) How can Federal agencies better ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions, to protect tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights within the existing statutory framework?

(2) Should the Federal agencies propose new legislation altering the statutory framework to promote these goals?

We will provide a framing paper with additional detail on these questions, including a description of the statutory framework currently in place. While these questions are of particular interest to the Federal agencies, we welcome any input relevant to the broader topic.

Posted in Announcements, Author: Kate E. Fort, Environmental | 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

Department of the Interior

Attorney-Advisor, Office of the Solicitor, Division of Indian Affairs, Branch of Tribal Government Services, Washington D.C. (Closes 10/3/2016)

Attorney-Adviser, Office of the Solicitor, Intermountain Region, Salt Lake City, UT. (Closes 10/3/2016)

National Indian Gaming Commission

Attorney, Office of General Counsel, Washington D.C. (Closes 10/3/2016)

Quileute Tribe

Chief Court Clerk/Administrator, Quileute Tribal Court, Closes August 7th 2013  until filled.

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MSU Paints the Rock in Support of #NoDAPL for Michigan Indian Day


Volunteers guarded all day and night so the rock along the Red Cedar River at Michigan State University’s campus could be viewed on the 42nd anniversary of Michigan Indian Day.

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Fifth Commentary on TNToT — Chapter 4: “Tearing Down American Indian Educators and Parents”

This is the fifth 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.

Chapter 4 of TNToT is about Indian education. NSR praises certain schools (St. Labre, Red Cloud, for example) because they are private or charter schools, and condemns public schools (Crazy Horse and Wounded Knee schools) and their teachers and administrators, especially Cecilia Fire Thunder.

Ben Chavis

NSR opens chapter 5 with Ben Chavis, a free market advocate, who formerly was the lead administrator of the American Indian Public Charter School in Oakland, California. He was a conservative darling, written up in the National Review in 2009. He was often praised in those circles for these actions:

During his tenure at the chain from 2000 to 2012, he was criticized for lodging punishments designed for what he called in his book “extra embarrassment.” He once shaved the head of a misbehaving student caught repeatedly stealing; some unruly students were forced to wear humiliating signs. And Chavis often referred to black students as “darkies.”

Ultimately he was caught misappropriating $3.8 million in school funds and forced out. It wasn’t his physical and emotional abuse, or his overt bigotry, it was his money management (and some serious self-dealing). Sadly, this continues NSR’s trend of quoting critics of Indian people and tribal governments that have a history of significantly unethical behavior (see Keith Moore and Stacy Phelps in chapter 3 — NSR does mention Moore’s trouble with the feds on page 141-42, but not Phelps — must be rough to find out your sources are apparently crooks].

NSR points out that Chavis has relocated to North Carolina and started a new school in Robeson County, Lumbee Country. His new math camp was based on similar principles as the Oakland school. In a previous article praising this school, NSR asserted that “most” of students there were Lumbee [in the same article, NSR describes Chavis’ practice of putting campers in “detention” — I thought this was a camp!!!!]

NSR also continues a trend of quoting people who really do not like Indians. NSR reports Chavis “has been called racist by members of his own community.” [at 111] TNToT includes a quote from Chavis condemning “lazy ass Indians.” [at 111] NSR joins in by alleging that Lumbee parents “don’t care” about their children. [at 111] Chavis promised to start a new charter school like the one in Oakland, but that school was  blocked, according to recent news reports.

St. Labre Indian School

Ivan Small, who NSR introduced in Chapter 1 as angry at not being allowed to buy Indian lands as below-market value, is now introduced as the director of the St. Labre Indian School. [at 118] St. Labre is funded by private donations and not tied to the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. A few years back, the school paid out $11 million to the Northern Cheyennes for “exploitation” of the poverty on the reservation (which created its own controversies).

TNToT lauds schools like St. Labre. Like probably way too many schools in and near Indian country and elsewhere, it kicks out the children with the most needs and problems, dumping those children on overtaxed and under-resourced public schools, then takes credit for the successes of the remaining students. NSR acknowledges the school’s “paternalistic policies” are what makes it successful. [at 117] No wonder Northern Cheyenne families don’t like Saint Labre. [at 118]

Continue reading

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

New Indian Law Papers (9/22/2016)

From SSRN:

Unwinding Non-Native Control over Native America’s Past: A Statistical Analysis of the Decisions to Return Native American Human Remains and Funerary Objects under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, 1992–2013
University of Hawaii Law Review, Vol. 38, 2016
Jason C. Roberts
U.S. Department of State
Date Posted: September 21, 2016

Returning to the Tribal Environmental ‘Laboratory’: An Examination of Environmental Enforcement Techniques in Indian Country
Elizabeth Ann Kronk Warner
University of Kansas – School of Law
Date Posted: September 20, 2016

The Great Sioux Nation V. The ‘Black Snake’: Native American Rights and the Keystone Xl Pipeline
Buffalo Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 22, No. 67, 2016
Cindy Woods
International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR)
Date Posted: September 13, 2016

Traditional Problems: How Tribal Same-Sex Marriage Bans Threaten Indian Sovereignty
William Mitchell Law Review, Forthcoming
Marcia Anne Yablon-Zug
University of South Carolina School of Law

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

Nooksack Appellate Update: Indian Law Professors Amicus Brief, CoA Reverse Disbarment

In re Gabriel Galanda v Nooksack Tribal Court REJECTED Second Motion for Show Cause Order re Partial Summary Judgment Contempt or Mandamus

In re Gabriel Galanda v Nooksack Tribal Court Motion and Amici Brief of Law Professors in Support of Petitioners


Amici do have grave concerns regarding patent violations of ICRA, harm to the integrity of all tribal courts, and, most importantly, the strategic deprivation of counsel and barred access to justice for Nooksack tribal citizens.  Dr. Martin Luther King’s warning that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” haunts this matter.  The Nooksack Tribal Court Clerk and those directing him are directly harming the rights of Indians everywhere to access justice and enjoy the rights guaranteed them by Nooksack and federal law.

Link to previous posts here.

UPDATE: Nooksack Court of Appeals reverses disbarment for Galanda Broadman PLLC attorneys.  Download (PDF): In re Gabriel Galanda v Nooksack Tribal Court Order on Plaintiffs’ Second Motion for Partial Summary Judgment

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

Guest Post by Jay Rosner: Confronting the LSAT

Matthew Fletcher has recently written, “The market for Indian lawyers has never been greater in the history of American law, and it is likely to keep growing for the foreseeable future.”   While the general market for lawyers has been shrinking since even before the recession of 2008, American Indian students now have expanding opportunities in law that were unthinkable only a decade or two ago.

The LSAT is, for many Native prelaw students, the single most formidable impediment on the path to law school.  It is a key to admission to selective law schools, and a lever to what financial aid is available.  How can Native prelaws best overcome the LSAT barrier?

In order to get their best LSAT scores, Native students need access to high-quality LSAT prep courses.   A few prelaws can prepare effectively without an LSAT prep teacher, but most will get their best scores under the guidance of an expert instructor.

Many more American Indian students could benefit from high-quality LSAT prep, which tends to be expensive, if funding were made available to subsidize it.  A good model is the Native American Pipeline to Law Initiative, which provides intensive, subsidized LSAT prep courses to its participants.  This is probably the single most effective targeted investment available to increase the number of competitive Native law school applicants.  Much more of this funding is needed.

Anyone with a suggestion of a funding source to support LSAT prep for Native students should contact Jay Rosner of The Princeton Review Foundation, at

LSAT prep is much closer to a training process than to a purely educational process.  A good analogy is having a tennis coach – someone with experience and expertise who can teach, observe, monitor and fine-tune technique in a way that an individual may have difficulty doing on his/her own.  The great tennis players all have coaches – none of them rely on themselves to improve and perfect their technique.  Having an LSAT prep “coach” is similar.

The LSAT puts a premium on test-taking technique and speed.  The LSAT is essentially a reading bubble test, favoring strong, fast readers with lots of exposure to challenging reading material.  It requires that students be able to handle text and deductive reasoning in very particular ways.   The task for LSAT takers is to leverage their reading ability and become very quick at accurately answering LSAT questions, by learning and perfecting test-taking techniques in the 2 to 3-month period right before the test.  Note that every affluent prelaw has an expert LSAT prep teacher guiding him/her.

A secondary focal point with a much smaller investment would be to develop a cadre of Native LSAT prep teachers who could serve as role models for success on the test.  An LSAT prep teacher need be neither a law student nor a lawyer, although those folks bring additional credibility.  An effective LSAT teacher needs to be able to get a very high score on the LSAT and also needs to be able to and want to successfully communicate with and guide students to get their best LSAT score.  In fact, most of the better LSAT teachers today are neither lawyers nor law students.  Often they have done very well on the SAT and GRE, particularly the reading sections of those tests, and then they take a practice LSAT and decide that they would like to teach that test.

The first step for a prospective Native LSAT prep teacher is to take a carefully timed practice LSAT and get a high score.  The next step would be to attend an intensive LSAT prep training conducted by a master LSAT instructor to determine if the candidate is able to effectively teach LSAT techniques to students.  I’ve been able to place some Native teacher candidates into excellent SAT and ACT teacher trainings conducted by The Princeton Review, but I’ve not yet been able to place even one Native LSAT prep teacher candidate.  I’d like to.

As a long-term critic of the LSAT, I could write a lengthy essay on what I consider to be the LSAT’s faults.  Let it suffice to say here that the LSAT is flawed, limited, skewed, too speeded and addresses only a couple of the many skills that a successful law student and successful lawyer needs.  The LSAT does not come close to predicting success in law school; in fact, it only helps in a very small way to predict first year law school grade point average, which is not very much at all.  Despite that, law schools put way too much weight on the LSAT in admissions, requiring applicants to prioritize LSAT prep.  American Indian students need to take up the challenge, confront the LSAT, try to access an LSAT prep course and get their best score.

Wherever there are serious discussions of Indian Law and the legal profession, enlarging the pipeline for Native lawyers in general, and assisting Native prelaws with the LSAT in particular, should be addressed.  The Indian Law Section of the Federal Bar Association, the National Native American Bar Association, the Indigenous Peoples Section of the American Bar Association, the National Congress of American Indians and state and local Native American Bar Associations are the kinds of organizations that should grapple with this regularly.  Current members and alumni of Native American Law Student Associations at law schools also have a role to play in expanding the pipeline for Native lawyers.

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Kyle Whyte: “Why the Native American pipeline resistance in North Dakota is about climate justice”


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

D.C. Circuit Briefs in Navajo Challenge to 2014 Annual Funding Agreement

Here are the briefs in Navajo Nation v. Dept. of Interior:


Lower court materials here.

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