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The Essentials of Indian Law: Everything You
Need to Know to Work in Indian Country

Date: December 5 - 6, 2016
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Tuition:   $779

Thousands of treaties, statutes, judicial decisions and regulations affect everyday life in Indian Country. This popular class summarizes the essentials of Indian law. We’ll answer questions such as: What is “sovereignty?” Can tribes be sued? Who has jurisdiction? Who must use the tribal court? What is the power of the tribal council? What are the impacts of federal agencies exercising control on Indian reservations?

During this class, you’ll learn how to analyze jurisdictional issues that arise in disputes among tribes and other governments or individuals. You’ll also discover how federal laws and treaties impact Indian sovereignty and statutory and judicial laws at the tribal level. If you work for a tribal organization, you’ll walk away with the knowledge needed to better understand its history and mission. If you work for a federal, state or local government agency, you’ll learn how to work more effectively and develop positive relationships with tribes.

We recommend you download/purchase American Indian Law in a Nutshell, by William C. Canby to complement your learning experience.
T O P I C S   I N C L U D E
Sovereignty of Indian Tribes
  • Origins and development of sovereignty
  • Meaning of “sovereignty” and its limits
  • Sovereign immunity of tribes
  • Sovereignty and states
Plenary Power
  • Applications of federal law to Indian tribes
  • Sovereignty case law — Inyo County v. Bishop Paiute Tribe
Federal-Tribal Relationship
  • The federal role
  • Cherokee cases
  • Movement to reservations
  • Allotment and assimilation efforts
  • Major Crimes Act
  • Indian Reorganization Act
  • Termination and relocation
  • P.L. 280
Function and Structure of Government
  • Universal function
  • Shaping the government
  • Three main functions of government
  • Types of governing structures
  • Constitutional forms of government
A History of Tribal Governments
  • Early tribal governments
  • Role of family
  • Role of law
  • Crow Dog — A traditional tribal government in action
Structure and Function of Tribal Government
  • Modern tribal constitutions
  • Constitutional limits to governing powers
  • Division of governing functions
  • Government sub-units
  • Charters
The Legislative Function in Tribal Government
  • Nature of law
  • Protection of cultural values
  • Ordinances
  • Resolutions
  • Writing effective ordinances
  • Lawmaking procedures:
    • Debating
    • Quorum
    • Agenda
    • Minutes
  • Role of committees
Tribal Membership and Enrollment Issues
  • Political significance of enrollment
  • Membership requirements
  • Disenrollment
  • Changing the base roll
  • Dual enrollment
  • Enrollment documents
The Judicial Function in Tribal Government
  • Judicial activity on the reservation
  • Martinez decision
Tribal Court
  • Types of tribal courts
  • Relationship between court and tribal government
  • Judicial process within a tribal court
  • Tribal judges
  • Appeals and judicial review
  • Separation of powers
  • Rules of statutory construction

The Executive Function in Tribal Government

  • Executive vs. administrative
  • Tribal officers
  • Chief executive
  • Administration
  • Organizational guidelines
  • Span of control
  • Career administrators
  • Merit selection
Roles of the Tribal Official in the 21st Century
  • Accountability
  • Self-interest
  • Interest groups
  • Elected vs. appointed officials
  • Decision-making strategies
  • Conflicting roles of the tribal official
Organizing for Economic Development on the Reservation
  • Powers held by the government
  • Delegating authority
  • Internal and external development
  • External operations of a venture
  • Choosing an organizational structure
Indian Country Jurisdiction
  • Civil and criminal jurisdictions
  • Defining “Indian Country”
  • Federal, state and tribal criminal jurisdictions
  • Federal, state and tribal civil jurisdictions
  • Courts of general and limited jurisdictions
  • Adjudicatory and regulatory jurisdictions
  • Jurisdiction case law
Indian Civil Rights Act
  • Rights that ICRA provides
  • Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez
  • Tribal court enforcement
  • Tribal sovereign immunity
  • Federal court enforcement
  • Legal authority for gaming
  • Overview of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA)
  • Tribal-state gaming compacts
  • Role of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC)
  • California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians
  • CRIT — Colorado Indian Tribes v. National Indian Gaming Commission
Taxation in Indian Country
  • Federal taxation and exemptions
  • State taxation and exemptions (e.g., tax on Internet sales of cigarettes)
  • Tribal taxation
  • Tribal members vs. nonmembers
  • Taxation case law
  • Sherrill v. Oneida
  • Cherokee v. Leavitt

*Topics subject to change.

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