Indian and Aboriginal Law
We are committed to serving Indian Country. Our guiding principles are centered on the individual tribe’s goals and needs. We recognize that each tribe is unique and that our service has to be personalized to each individual tribe’s needs. Our experience working with Indian Country affords us the ability to better understand the challenges faced by individual tribal governments and resolve them in a sensitive manner. Our experience assisting and representing tribal governments includes: Environmental and Natural Resources, Cultural and Historic Resources, Self Determination and Tribal Governance, Litigation, Real Estate, Tribal Infrastructure and Capacity, Governmental Affairs, and Economic Development and Business/Corporate Affairs. Our practice was founded on the commitment to advance the interests of individual tribes on and off reservation lands. We further that commitment by working with tribes in achieving their goals. This approach builds a collaborative relationship with tribal clients so that the tribes are assisted in furthering their own goals in a culturally sensitive manner. Ultimately this approach allows the tribes to manage any issue that we assist them with promoting self-determination and governance rather than dependence.
It has been our experience that preservation of traditions, heritage, and culture on and off reservation lands is paramount to tribes so that they continue to exist as a culturally distinct people. We are committed to working with tribes to preserve their stories so that they can be passed down to future generations. We work with the individual tribes, assisting them in developing the tribal capacity necessary to manage and protect cultural values and resources on and off reservation lands. This collaboration includes but is not limited to assisting in: the protection of culturally significant sites, federal and state consultations, development of agreements, development of on and off reservation protocols, assumption of federal programs on reservation lands, development of governmental frameworks, and development of mechanisms to increase tribal capacity. When it comes to preservation of cultural values and resources, we are devoted to serving tribes so that future generations will know what it means to be a member of their respective tribe.
Self Determination, Tribal Governance and Capacity
It has been our experience that self-determination and sovereignty, the right to live the way the tribes choose to live, is deeply personal and paramount to tribal governments. Despite policy statements from federal and state agencies claiming to promote self-determination and sovereignty, tribes are often faced with many obstacles in being able to govern themselves in culturally traditional ways. We are committed to work with tribes to overcome those obstacles and create opportunities for the tribes to choose their own destiny. Self-governance encompasses the ability to manage education, healthcare, law enforcement, child welfare, legal services, natural resources, housing, economic development, and elder care, among others. We collaborate with tribal governments to assist with: developing culturally appropriate governmental frameworks, negotiating agreements to assume federal and state programs, developing tribal capacity to govern themselves, and developing mechanisms to manage tribal resources. We are committed to the individual tribes and their vision of what self-determination and sovereignty means to them and assisting them in achieving that vision.
For more information about this practice area, contact Stephen A. Walker, Chair – Indian and Aboriginal Law.