Awaiting the Culverts Argument


Posted in Author: Ann Tweedy, judges, Research, Supreme Court, treaty rights | Leave a comment

Saginaw Chippewa Disenrollees Sue Interior for Failure to Enforce the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan Distribution of Judgment Funds Act

Here is the complaint in Cavazos v. Zinke (D.D.C.):


The plaintiffs are represented by Gerald Torres, Michael Sliger, and Hope Babcock.

News coverage: “Expelled Tribe Members Say Feds Did Nothing to Protect Their Rights

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

Little River Band Ottawa Lake Sturgeon News

On Thursday 4/12/18, the Little River Band of Odawa Indians Natural Resources Department staff, led by Corey Jerome – Sturgeon Biologist, have recaptured a Lake Sturgeon from Manistee Lake that was raised and released in 2008 from our sturgeon Streamside Rearing Facility at Rainbow Bend on the Manistee River.  This is the first released sturgeon that has been documented returning into the Manistee River system from our rearing facility and is thought to be on its way up the Manistee River to spawn this spring.  Corey Jerome was able to confirm the identity of this sturgeon by using the unique identification number scanned from the PIT-Tag in the fish, this tag was implanted into this sturgeon before its release in 2008.  The sturgeon was released on September 20, 2008 and was 7.3 in., 0.05 lbs. and is now 10 years old and 45.27 in., 28 lbs. To our knowledge this is the first documented lake sturgeon from a Streamside Rearing Facility to return to its natal stream within the Great Lakes.  Corey Jerome began in the spring of 2017, and has continued in 2018 to look for adult lake sturgeon returning to the Manistee River from our Streamside Rearing Facility.  It is our plan to continue these efforts to look for returning sturgeon in the Manistee River that have been released from our Streamside Rearing Facility to evaluate the success of our efforts.  (Pictures Attached; Corey Jerome holding the returning sturgeon; Corey Jerome and Josh Beaulaurier taking ultrasound images to determine the sex of the sturgeon.)


LRBOI employee Corey Jerome Holding the returning SturgeonLRBOI Employees Corey Jerome and Josh Beaulaurier taking an ultrasound to determine the sex of the sturgeon

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

Update in Navajo Nation v. Dept. of the Interior (water rights case on remand)


2018-04-13 Doc 335 NN Mot Leave Intervene

2018-04-13 Doc 335-1 NN Memo in Support of Mot for Leave to Amend

2018-04-13 Doc 335-2 EX 1 – NN Proposed Third Amended Complaint

On remand from the Ninth Circuit, the Nation moves the district court for leave to file its third amended complaint, which restates the Nation’s claims for breach of trust (dismissal of the Nation’s NEPA claims was upheld). The appeals court gave short shrift to the argument by the US, adopted by the district court, that sovereign immunity barred the breach of trust claim, clarifying (consistent with the majority of circuits) that section 702 of the APA, as amended, is a broad waiver of that immunity for claims not seeking money damages.

While continuing to assert that the Secretary as water master for the mainstream of the Colorado River in the Lower Basin breached his fiduciary duties, including the duty of protection explicitly undertaken in the 1849 Treaty of Peace, in management decisions that failed to account for the needs and unquantified rights of the Navajo Nation for homeland purposes, the proposed amended complaint now focuses more particularly on the federal defendants’ historic failure to correct an omission in the Decree in Arizona v. California, omitting lands above Lake Mead, and inducing reliance on limited water supplies by others with rights junior to the Navajo Nation to the detriment of the Nation.

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

Aoki Tribal Justice Project Press Release and Photos


The Aoki Center for Critical Race and Nation Studies at King Hall, UC Davis Law School, is celebrating the launch of the Aoki Center Tribal Justice Project on Thursday, April 12, at noon in the courtyard of the law school. A collaborative effort with California tribal judges, lawyers, and leaders, the Tribal Justice Project seeks to enhance the capacity and sovereignty of tribes in California by providing culturally appropriate training for tribal judges and court personnel and establishing an intertribal appellate court at the law school.

By targeting the needs of tribes in California and other Public Law 280 states, the Project will be the first of its kind to fill a critical educational gap. In contrast to most other states, California and five other states are governed by Public Law 280, a federal law that allows the state to assume concurrent jurisdiction in certain criminal and civil matters over Indians on certain tribal lands. Historically this law has created significant challenges for tribes in California and other Public Law 280 states that wish to establish their own tribal courts.  Training will be provided in areas accessible to tribes throughout the state and at King Hall.  The first training is scheduled at the Yurok Tribe, California’s largest tribe, in late June.

The Aoki Center hopes that the variety of curricular offerings in Federal Indian Law and Tribal Justice as well as extra-curricular programs and opportunities for service to tribes will encourage more Native students to become lawyers and to attract students to King Hall who are interested in providing legal services to California tribes.

Hon. Christine Williams, a member of the Yurok Tribe and the Chair of the California Tribal Judges Association, is the Director of the Aoki Center Tribal Justice Project.  Certified in Indian law, Judge Williams has spent her legal career focused on representing Tribes in a broad spectrum of legal matters such as tribal court development, Indian child welfare and cultural resource protection.  She currently serves as the Chief Judge for the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians in El Dorado County.  Previously, she assisted in the formation of and development of the Northern California Intertribal Court System, a consortium court serving four tribes in Mendocino County, California, where she also served as its Chief Judge.  Judge Williams has a long history of providing training and education on various areas of Indian law and Indian Child Welfare law and history. She serves as an appointee to the Tribal Court State Court Forum.

Jennifer R. Leal, a descendant of the Washoe and Mono Lake Paiute communities from northern California, is the Project’s Program Administrator. She brings to the project extensive experience in the areas of tribal relations, tribal court administration and judicial education. Previously, Ms. Leal worked for the National Judicial College – National Tribal Judicial Center in Reno, Nevada as the Program Manager. Therein she utilized her prior role as the Tribal Court Administrator for the Washoe Tribe of Nevada & California – Washoe Tribal Court in Gardnerville, Nevada to inform her work. While working at a national level, she developed distance-learning curricula and facilitated discussions on problem solving tribal court administration challenges. Ms. Leal also contributed to the early idea and design of the Judicial Council of California’s Court Toolkit for Tribal/State/Federal Administrators and Clerks. She became faculty in 2013 and provided education on court administration to Alaska tribal court administrators and clerks using David Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory for adult learners. Since leaving the National Tribal Judicial Center and retuning to California, Ms. Leal served as the Executive Assistant to the Morongo Band of Mission Indians’ Tribal Chairman, Robert Martin, who was also Chairman in 1987 and represented the Tribe during the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians and Morongo Band of Mission Indians.  Ms. Leal earned both her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in American Indian Studies from UCLA. Her graduate research concentrated on history and law and primarily focused on tribal courts.

Professor Mary Louise Frampton, Director of the Aoki Center for Critical Race and Nation Studies at King Hall, will provide oversight and faculty support for the Tribal Justice Project.  Professor Frampton introduced a new course in Tribal Justice in Fall 2017 in consultation with Judge Williams. That course added to the curricular offerings at King Hall by the preeminent Federal Indian Law scholar, Professor Katherine Florey. She is particularly interested in the extraterritorial application of law, theories of jurisdiction, and the powers of tribal courts.

This Project was created with support from the Yurok Tribe of Northern California and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

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

NYTs: “Senate Bill to Curtail Labor Rights on Tribal Land Falls Short”


Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Labor Relations, Legislation, News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

FLOW Comments on Enbridge Line 5


Final FLOW letter to MPSC and DEQ


Dear Chairwoman Talberg and MPSC Commissioners Cadwell, Rittenhouse, Saari, and Eubanks, Director Grether, Mr. Graf, and Mr. Matousek:

It is the consensus view of federal and state agencies, experts, and interested parties, including Enbridge, that a failure of Line 5 along its length, but particularly under the Straits of Mackinac and the St. Clair River, would result in catastrophic economic and environmental harm. 

FLOW’s attached comments request a comprehensive evaluation of feasible and prudent alternatives to Line 5 in its entirety, including, but not limited to Line 5 near, in, across or under the public trust bottomlands and/or waters of the Straits of Mackinac, and Line 5 near, in, across, or under the St. Clair River at Marysville, and across the other 245 public trust water crossings in the state. For the reasons described in the letter, the Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”), Michigan Public Service Commission (“MPSC”), and State of Michigan have a legally and state constitutionally required duty to conduct such a comprehensive analysis of the feasible and prudent alternatives to Line 5 in its entirety, including both the Straits and St. Clair River.

On behalf of FLOW, our supporters, and the people of Michigan, we ask you to implement this request immediately.

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

Alaska SCT Decides Alaska Native Regional Corporation Shareholder Action

Here is the opinion in Pedersen v. Arctic Slope Regional Corp.:


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

Tribal Consultation on the Proposed AFCARS Changes

Here is the letter sent today: Tribal Consultation Notification 4-16-2018

This is on the proposed changes to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), the way the feds collect from the states on adoption and foster care. This is specifically about removing ICWA data elements added in last year’s final rule because of the burden of collecting information about ICWA compliance and Native kids in care.

Both consultations will be done by phone, and if there are not enough participants “may end early”. Maybe tribal leaders or their designees would like to consult about how to weigh that “burden” of gathering information so tribes and states know what is happening with Native kids in foster care for the full 90 minutes:

Tribal Consultation seeking input on the ANPRM and potential changes to AFCARS will be held through two teleconference calls on the following dates and times.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm (EDT).

Please register here:

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm (EDT)

Please register here:

For both consultations, the call-in number and passcode are: 877-917-3403, Passcode: 2498350. (Please note, if there are a small number of participants on the call, the call may end sooner than 3:30 p.m.)

Both Tribal consultation teleconference calls are open to all tribal leaders or their designees and may address any aspect of the ANPRM’s request for comments on AFCARS data collection, including data elements relating to ICWA that would reported by states and all other AFCARS elements that would be reported by both states and tribes operating title IV-E programs. Overall, we are interested to hear both recommendations on data elements to retain with a justification for using the data at the national level and recommendations on any data elements to remove because they may be either overly burdensome for title IV-E agencies to report or may not be reliable or necessary at the national level.

In addition to participating in the tribal consultation conference calls, the Children’s Bureau encourages tribal leaders to submit comments in writing in response to the ANPRM, as only written comments may be included in the regulatory record. The deadline for the receipt of written comments in response to the ANPRM is June 13, 2018.

There is also a briefing webinar:

The briefing webinar to learn more about AFCARS will be held on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 from 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm (EDT). If you are interested in participating in this webinar, please register at:


We recognize that while states have many years of experience in reporting AFCARS data, tribes may not be as familiar with AFCARS. To prepare for consultation, the Children’s Bureau is offering a briefing webinar for tribal leaders and/or members of your staff. The briefing webinar will be an opportunity for tribal leaders and members of your staff to learn more about AFCARS, including current data reported by states since the 1990’s and the changes to AFCARS that were promulgated in December 2016, but have not yet been implemented.

If only well over 60 tribes and tribal organizations had submitted comments in support of the additional data elements explaining in great detail why they are needed in the last comment collection on this issue in 2016 . . .

A non-tribal specific information session/briefing webinar earlier this month was problematic on ICWA (at best). There are a number of groups working on written comments, including model versions for tribes. When they are available, we will make sure to post that information. If you’d like to post comments now, here is the comments page.

Previous posts on AFCARS here.

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

ILPC Program Coordinator Position

The ILPC is now accepting applications for its Program Coordinator position. This is a full-time position with an anticipated start date of July 1, 2018. The ILPC Program Coordinator maintains the ILPC office and assists ILPC faculty and staff in coordinating events, conferences, and student programming. Additionally, the ILPC Program Coordinator manages ILPC social media accounts, drafts correspondence, and creates newsletters.
The ILPC welcomes candidates who (1) have a passion for working in indigenous rights advocacy; (2) have experience working with indigenous peoples and diverse groups of people; (3) have strong communication and organizational skills; and (4) exhibit a high degree of professionalism and the ability to work in both a self-directed environment or in a group setting.
The ILPC includes a Director (tenured professor), Associate Director (tenured professor), a Staff Attorney and Clinic Director, and Fellow. The Center works very closely together to recruit students, provide services to students and clinical clients, and host events at the law school.

To apply, please email cover letter outlining your interest and personal goals, a resume, and two references to MSU College of Law Human Resources:

Please see the job announcement for more information. Applications close on April 30, 2018.

Posted in jobs, Research | Leave a comment