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Gabe Galanda to Address UN-Geneva Re: American Indian Treaties and Consultation

July 14, 2012

Gabe Galanda will visit Geneva, Switzerland on July 16 and 17, 2012, to address the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, during a forum titled, “Strengthening Partnership Between Indigenous Peoples and States: Treaties, Agreements and Other Constructive Arrangements.”

Gabe, an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of California, will speak at the UN Palais des Nations on July 17 during a session titled, “Highlights of country-level experiences concerning treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.”

He will speak along with indigenous leaders from South Africa, Costa Rica, Bangladesh, New Caledonia, Canada, Mexico, Columbia and Kenya, regarding the processes, principles and other essential elements of the negotiation and elaboration of new agreements or other constructive arrangements as well as the effective recognition of historical treaties.

“The invitation to join the leaders of indigenous nations and nation-states and address the U.N. human rights tribunal in Geneva is one of the highest honors I have ever received,” said Galanda. “I look forward to contributing to international discourse concerning the rights of indigenous peoples vis-à-vis their sister sovereigns, and to helping advance the American Indian consultation right towards one of informed consent.”

Gabe’s remarks and paper are titled, “American Indian Treaties: The Consultation Mandate.” In particular, he will address domestic federal recognition and breach of Indian treaties, and modern practices of federal-tribal government-to-government consultation, particularly in relation to the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIP) that President Obama endorsed on December 16, 2010. Indian treaties are to be recognized as the Supreme Law of the Land according to Article VI of the U.S. Constitution.

Gabe has been critical of the United States government for its breach of the U.N. DRIP (“in action, the departments, agencies, and officials within the Obama Administration do not actually live up to the words contained in the Declaration. To the contrary, federal actions too frequently contradict the promises made by the United States to American Indian indigenous people in the Declaration”); and its violation of fundamental consultation tenets between sovereigns (“other federal agencies completely missed the memo on tribal consultation – literally President Obama’s Tribal Consultation Memorandum – and, in specific instances, have failed to meaningfully consult with tribal governments concerning federal activity”). He maintains that a “treaty consultation obligation arises, in part at least, from the implicit duty to consult that is intrinsic in any bilateral agreement between nations.”

Gabe is a Partner with Galanda Broadman, PLLC, an American Indian-owned law firm in Seattle dedicated to advancing tribal legal rights and Indian business interests. His practice focuses on complex, multi-party litigation and crisis management, representing tribal governments and businesses and Indian citizens. Gabe has prosecuted various actions against the United States and for breach of Indian treaties and federal Indian consultation laws.

He has been selected to The Best Lawyers in America® from 2007 to 2012, and was named as one of the best lawyers in Washington State by Puget Sound Business Journal in 2011. Gabe was named to the Puget Sound Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list, as well as to the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s “Native American 40 Under 40” list in recognition of his status as an emerging leader in the legal industry, in 2009. Washington Law & Politics/Super Lawyers magazine named Gabe a “Rising Star” for ten of the last twelve years, most recently this year, and Washington Law & Politics named him one of Washington’s four Leading Edge Litigators in 2003. He was awarded the Washington State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division’s Outstanding Young Lawyer Award, and the Northwest Indian Bar Association’s Native Justice Award, in 2004.

Gabe was born and raised in Port Angeles, Washington. At Peninsula College, he received his A.A. from Peninsula College in 1995, and served as Associate Student Body President there in 1994-95. Gabe received his B.A. in English Literature from Western Washington University in 1997, and his J.D. from the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona in Tucson, in 2000. At Arizona, he served as President of the Native American Law Students Association in 1998-99 and Note Editor for the Journal of International and Comparative Law in 1999-2000.

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