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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
Hotel: Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino (3700 W Flamingo Rd)
  For a room rate of $58, please book your room by November 15, 2016. Click here.
Tuition:   $804

This popular class explores the cases, laws and regulations that affect everyday life in Indian Country. We’ll answer questions such as: What is “sovereignty?” Can tribes be sued? Can tribal officials and employees be sued? Who has jurisdiction? Who must use the tribal court? What is the power of the tribal council? What are the federal laws that apply to tribes? What are the impacts and extent of federal agency authority on Indian reservations? Plus we’ll review recent Supreme Court and lower court cases that impact sovereign immunity, a tribe’s ability to take lands into trust, civil and criminal jurisdiction within their reservations, and more.

This class provides important background to help tribes better protect tribal interests by understanding the laws that apply. If you work for a tribal organization, you’ll gain a better understanding of how to assert and protect tribal sovereignty and serve your tribal community. 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 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
  • Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community
  • Tribal immunity of employees – Lewis v. Clarke (cert. granted September 2016)
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
  • The Self-Determination era and recent cases against BIA and IHS for unpaid contract support costs in 638 contracts and compacts
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
  • VAWA’s expansion of tribal criminal jurisdiction
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
  • The role of tribal sovereign immunity in contracting and tribal economic development efforts
Indian Country Jurisdiction
  • Civil and criminal jurisdiction
  • Defining “Indian Country”
  • Federal, state and tribal criminal jurisdiction
  • Federal, state and tribal civil jurisdiction
  • Courts of general and limited jurisdiction
  • Adjudicatory and regulatory jurisdiction
  • Jurisdiction case law, including the recent 2016 decisions in U.S. v. Bryant and Dollar General Corp. v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
Tribal Land Issues
  • Land into trust under Carcieri v. Salazar
  • New rules for Alaska Tribes
  • New right-of-way regulations at 25 CFR Part 169 (2016)
Indian Civil Rights Act
  • Rights that ICRA provides
  • Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez
  • Tribal court enforcement
  • Tribal sovereign immunity
  • Federal court enforcement
Gaming
  • 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
  • Wagnon v. Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation

*Topics subject to change.

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