Bree Black Horse To Discuss Tribal Belonging & Disenrollment at UNM Indian Civil Rights Conference

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Bree Black Horse will speak on "ICRA and Tribal Issues: Belonging and (Dis)Memberment," at 50 Years of the Indian Civil Rights Symposium that the UNM School of Law is convening at Isleta Resort & Casino on March 8-9, 2018. 

Bree is an associate in the Seattle office of Galanda Broadman and an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.  Her practice focuses on defending individuals’ civil rights in federal, state and tribal courts. She can be reached at (206) 735-0448 or

Washington State Legislature Introduces Bill for Missing and Murdered Native Women

Bree Black Horse pictured, wearing black, at right.

Bree Black Horse pictured, wearing black, at right.

By Elisabeth Guard

On January 20, 2018, in Seattle, Washington, Native women led the Women’s March to call attention to the epidemic of missing and murdered Native women in the United States and Canada. 

Native women in the United States experience some of the highest rates of sexual assault in the Nation: more than half of Native women will be the victim of domestic violence or sexual assault; four out of five are expected to encounter violence in their lifetimes; one in three will be raped in their lifetime; and the murder rates of Native women exceed ten times the national average in some tribal and urban communities.  The most alarming data comes from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which reported that in 2016 the third-leading cause of death for Native women between the ages of ten and twenty-four was murder.

On January 29, 2018, Representatives Gina McCabe, Mia Gregerson, Melanie Stambaugh, Derek Stanford, Kristine Reeves, Mary Dye, Andrew Barkis, and Senator Maureen Walsh introduced HB-2951, to do something about it.

The bill seeks to “[o]rder[] a study to determine how to increase reporting and investigation of missing Native American women.”  HB-2951 requires that “[t]he Washington state patrol must conduct a study to determine how to increase state criminal justice protective and investigative resources for reporting and identifying missing Native American women in the state.” 

Washington state patrol must work in collaboration with tribal law enforcement officers and the federal department of justice to increase reporting, information sharing, and coordination of resources.  “By December 1, 2018, the state patrol must report to the legislature on the results of the study, including data and analysis of the number of missing Native American women in the state, identification of barriers in providing state resources to address the issue, and recommendations, including any proposed legislation that may be needed to address the problem.”

The Canadian government has taken a similar approach to investigating the epidemic of missing Native American women in Canada.  In December of 2016, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a long-awaited national inquiry into the disappearances and murders of indigenous women.  Although the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have officially counted about 1,200 cases of missing or murdered Indigenous women over the past three decades, the research actually suggests that the total number could be as high as 4,000.  This inquiry has been heavily criticized for failing to include the families of the missing or murdered women and many question whether the inquiry will be able to uncover the root causes of why indigenous women are murdered or go missing at such high rates.  

Although in the U.S. the Violence Against Women Act and the Tribal Law and Order Act have helped bring attention to the high rate of violence against Native women, there is no system to collect comprehensive data regarding the number of missing and murdered Native women. 

The introduction of HB-2951 is a first step for Washington State in addressing the missing Native women within the state.  While there is not a clear-cut path forward to ending the epidemic of missing and murdered Native women, gathering data that provides correct figures of the gravity of this crisis is vital.  I remain hopeful that HB-2951 is only the beginning and that Washington will avoid the pitfalls that has plagued Canada’s inquiry; however, it is still vital for Native activist to continue to speak about this issue and keep pressure on Washington’s legislatures. 

You can provide comments on HB-2951 here.

Elisabeth is an associate in the Seattle office of Galanda Broadman.  Elisabeths practice focuses on complex federal court litigation. She can be reached at (206) 557-7509 or

It’s Time To Change Washington’s Wrongful Death Laws


By Ryan Dreveskracht

At common law, a decedent’s claim of wrongdoing did not survive the person’s death, and there was no right of recovery when a person died due to another’s negligence.  In order to provide relief in these situations all 50 states, including Washington State, promulgated statutes that create actions for wrongful death and survival.  But Washington, unlike 47 of those states, does not allow recovery to parents and siblings when their family member is needlessly killed.  That, however, may soon change.

Under a wrongful death action, the decedent’s estate bring a cause of action on behalf of specified beneficiaries for damages they suffered as a result of the decedent’s death.  

For primary beneficiaries—the decedent’s spouse or domestic partner and children—actual pecuniary losses are recoverable, including intangible losses such as the loss of the decedent's support, services, love, affection, care, companionship, society, and consortium. Secondary beneficiaries—the parents and siblings—are entitled to recover only if: (1) there are no primary beneficiaries; (2) they were dependent on the decedent for support; and (3) they resided within the United States at the time of the decedent’s death. 

The large majority of unmarried, childless adults have no primary or secondary beneficiaries, and there can thus be no recovery.  This is especially true in families of color or who live in poverty, where the so-called nuclear family is not the predominate form of family. In the tribal setting, for example, the loss of Indian life should be grieved by the deceased's non-nuclear family as needed.

Under the survival statutes, any cause of action that the decedent could have brought prior to death may be brought by the decedent’s estate and is for the benefit of, and passes through, the decedent’s estate.  The recoverable damages for the estate are the pecuniary losses to the estate such as loss of earnings, medical and hospital expenses, and funeral and burial expenses. In addition, the personal representative may recover, on behalf of the same beneficiaries listed under the general wrongful death statute, damages for the pain and suffering, anxiety, emotional distress, and humiliation personal to, and suffered by, the decedent.  

Again, though, because a large majority of unmarried, childless adults have no primary or secondary beneficiaries, and there can be no recovery in these cases.

This is all to say that under Washington State’s laws, wrongdoers receive a free pass because they happened to be responsible for the death of the “right” person, i.e. an unmarried childless person.  Dean William Prosser, perhaps the most respected legal authority on the topic in modern history, famously wrote that Washington State’s law makes it “cheaper for a defendant to kill a plaintiff than to injure him.”

It’s been said that when someone you love dies, you don’t lose them all at once; you lose them in pieces over time. As time goes on, in other words, the depth of a loss becomes more and more apparent.  And no amount of monetary “compensation” will ever bring a lost loved one back or make up for the nights that parents and siblings cry themselves to sleep. 

But this doesn’t make it right for losses and suffering to be dismissed simply because a loved one lived beyond his or her 18th birthday.  Families do not stop loving or missing the day that a person they turns 18.  The loss doesn’t hurt any less.  There is no reason for families—just because their loved one was over 18, unmarried, and without children—should not have the same right to seek accountability that other families have.

This may all change soon, however.  On January 8, Senators Hasegawa, Rolfes, Frockt, Pedersen, Hunt, Nelson, Darneille, Miloscia, Chase, Saldaña, and Kuderer introduced SB 6015, legislation that would bring Washington State in line with the 47 other states in the country that allow for recovery to parents and siblings when their family member is needlessly killed. 

Representatives Santos, Goodman, Johnson, McBride, Sawyer, Fitzgibbon, Dolan, Orwall, Macri, Frame, Jinkins, Ormsby, and Pellicciotti introduced a companion bill in the House on the same day. 

The proposed legislation is designated as remedial and applies retroactively to all claims that are not time barred, as well as any claims pending in any court on the effective date of the legislation. 

My colleagues and I at Galanda Broadman have great empathy and compassion for people who are harmed through the negligence or misconduct of others, and are vitally committed to helping these victims receive the justice they are due in America’s courtrooms.  We are constantly in awe of the brave individuals and families who have taken on reckless corporations, dangerous people, and irresponsible government. 

It’s because of their sacrifices and steadfast efforts that we enjoy many of the protections that keep us safe today.  Which is why we support this legislation, and urge others to do the same.  The citizens of the state of Washington—we all—deserve this legal protection.

Ryan Dreveskracht is an attorney with Galanda Broadman, PLLC, in Seattle.  His practice includes civil rights and wrongful death litigation.  He can be reached at (206) 909-3842 or 


Bree Black Horse Named to ACLU's Legal Committee


Bree Black Horse has been appointed the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington’s Legal Committee.  

The Committee serves as legal counsel to ACLU-WA and provides advice to the staff in the strategic development and execution of litigation to advance the ACLU’s civil liberties and civil rights agenda.

The Committee combines seasoned and newer attorneys who together offer expertise on a range of civil and criminal law as well as civil liberties matters. It advises on cases under consideration for litigation as well as provides ideas, advice and assistance in the early stages of developing a case.

Bree is an associate in the Seattle office of Galanda Broadman and an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.  Her practice focuses on defending individuals’ civil rights in federal, state and tribal courts against various law enforcement agencies. She can be reached at (206) 735-0448 or

Is Disenrollment---Are Its Grafters---On the Run?


After the disenrollment scourge suffered by Indian Country since the mid-2000s, there are signs that disenrollment and the tribal grafters who practice it, are on the run.

1. There has not been a new mass tribal disenrollment effort since the spring of 2016 (Elem), after several consecutive years during which mass tribal disenrollments (plural) were happening.  

2. After suffering a federal court defeat in August 2017, the Cherokee Nation opted against appealing the decision and instead decided to re-enroll 2,800 Cherokee Freedmen.

3. Earlier in 2017, Robinson Rancheria brought 67 relatives home, on the tribe's own volition.

4. Like the Obama Administration, after an apparent shift in policy in late 2016, the Trump Administration has maintained federal involvement in particularly atrocious disenrollment-related situations.  See "Trump administration calls out Nooksack Tribe for 'abuses of power.'"

5. Indian Country is getting re-educated about disenrollment, like through David and Shelly Wilkins' book, "Dismembered"; and, as cited by other scholars, "a dedicated social media movement,, and national media coverage."

So, is it---are they---on the run? 

Time will tell.

Gabriel S. Galanda is the managing lawyer of Galanda Broadman, PLLC, in Seattle. Gabe is a descendant of the Nomlaki and Concow Tribes, belonging to the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Northern California.  



Game On: Christie v. NCAA and Tribal Governmental Sports Betting


By Anthony Broadman

If the bookmakers are right, the U.S. Supreme Court will lift the national ban on sports betting sometime in early 2018. 

If the Court makes clean work of it, and simply leaves sports-betting laws to the states, we can expect states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania to jump in quickly.  Elsewhere, lifting of the law—the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA)—may change very little if states don’t wish to allow sports betting.

Conventional wisdom says that Tribes don’t need sports betting—that Tribal casinos will not be able to book sports.  But conservative estimates suggest Americans bet $150 billion a year on sports.  And as slot machine players age, new offerings to attract younger players will become increasingly valuable.

For states containing significant Indian gaming interests, a clean decision in Christie will be complicated by IGRA and Tribal exclusivity.  Roughly put, if states allow sports betting in their jurisdictions, Tribes can do the same.  Situations will vary by state and compact.  But where Tribes have exclusivity, sports betting would violate Class III compacts. 

Further complicating how Christie will affect Tribes, almost every forum that has looked at the internet and IGRA takes the view that “because not all of [internet] gaming occurs on Indian lands, internet bingo lies outside Class II gaming or compacted Class III gaming and could subject the game's operators to state or federal criminal prosecution.”  California v. Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, 14CV2724 AJB (NLS), 2014 WL 12526720, at *8 (S.D. Cal. Dec. 12, 2014)  (citing 2000 Letter of NIGC General Counsel Kevin Washburn).  The same would have to be true for internet-based Tribal sports betting.  And Christie does not purport to affect Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), which addresses Internet gaming separately from PASPA.

But none of that changes the simple point that if states offer sports betting, Tribes may too.  And sports betting probably doesn’t adequately describe what will be happening in the next few decades.  Sports books will include live-betting televised sporting events, wagering on e-sports, and booking bets on competition held at Tribal facilities. 

As the betting markets evolve, Christie could prove to be the biggest federal gaming court decision to impact Tribes since Seminole.  Either way, sports betting is here to stay and Tribes need to get in game.

Anthony Broadman is a partner at Galanda Broadman PLLC. He can be reached at 206.321.2672,, or via

Gabe Galanda Via Above The Law Re: Indian Lawyer Authenticity, Passion & Relentlessness


Leading lawyer blog, Above The Law, has published the transcript of Ari Kaplan's recent interview of Gabe Galanda, the co-founder and managing lawyer of Galanda Broadman. Aimed at young lawyers and students, the interview is titled: "How To Find And Pursue Your Passion In the Law."

A few excerpts: 

  • "First, be authentic. Second, be relentless. By authentic, I mean you have to be yourself. Folks don’t want to associate with somebody who is trying to be something other than himself or herself. . . . And, being yourself is the only way you’ll ever find passion in the law and without passion, I suggest that a lawyer is simply mediocre. Unless you’re passionate, you will never play to your ultimate strengths."
  • "In terms of our focus and choosing cases, we watch and listen very carefully to what’s happening throughout Indian country. We look for opportunities that will help us advance budding social justice causes that will eventually benefit all of Indian country."
  • "[W]e took on tribal disenrollment before any other law firm would do that in any concerted way, and took on Indian prisoner religious freedoms seeing the rise in religious discrimination throughout state and local prisons. We’ve now taken on federal state and local law enforcement officers and agencies [who are killing Natives]."
  • "[W]e place a lot of emphasis on our social media marketing, which is a 24/7/365 effort. The hallmark of my career and now my law firm’s business development is and always has been writing....[W]hether it is a Tweet or an occasional blog post that one of my partners or associates is writing, we share and allow our ideas to reach as far and wide as we can in Indian country."

Gabe also addresses disenrollment, taking the opportunity to educate Above The Law's Big Law readership about the troubling subject:

Tribal disenrollment is a process designed by the United States over the last 200 years, but unknowingly, co-opted by tribal governments and tribal officials that leads to Indians being exiled from their own tribal communities. Since the advent of Indian gaming and its success over the last couple of decades many Indians losing their identities, livelihoods, and sense of belonging by way of this process. Indian gaming represents relatively new wealth in Indian country that has, unfortunately, has caused greed to grip certain tribal politicians, who create cohorts of tribal members or factions or tribal members to then get rid of their own relatives. Over the last five years, we have represented about 600 Indians from Washington, Oregon, and California, among other areas, in these matters.

In the process, we have re-educated ourselves about what it really means and does not mean to belong to a tribal community, and have also tried to help re-educate Indian country about those ideals before it’s too late because what we’re witnessing really is Native Americans self-terminating or self-annihilating with devices created by the federal government.

Gabriel S. Galanda is the managing lawyer of Galanda Broadman, PLLC, in Seattle. Gabe is a descendant of the Nomlaki and Concow Tribes, belonging to the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Northern California.  



Gabe Galanda Podcast: "How to Find and Pursue Your Passion in the Law"


Ari Kaplan---author of Reinventing Professional Services: Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace and The Opportunity Maker: Strategies for Inspiring Your Legal Career Through Creative Networking and Business Development--interviewed Gabe Galanda for his Reinventing Professionals podcast series. Listen to the interview here.

As Ari explains his chat with Gabe on his ABA award-winning blog:

I spoke with Gabe Galanda, the co-founder and managing lawyer of Galanda Broadman, an Indian Country law firm, with headquarters in Seattle.

We discussed his background and the genesis of Galanda Broadman, how he identified his preferred practice area, his approach to case selection, his firm’s commitment to addressing tribal disenrollment, how he divides his time between business development and practicing law, and his recommendations for lawyers seeking to build a practice or students interested in striking out on their own.

Gabriel S. Galanda is the managing lawyer of Galanda Broadman, PLLC, in Seattle. Gabe is a descendant of the Nomlaki and Concow Tribes, belonging to the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Northern California.  




Dwyer Inn of Court Profiles Galanda Broadman: "Courage and Civility" in Disenrollment Defense


On Tuesday, the William L. Dwyer American Inn of Court--an exclusive assembly of judges, lawyers and other legal professionals in Seattle--profiled the disenrollment advocacy of Galanda Broadman as part of its program series, "Profiles in Courage and Civility: Washington Lawyers.”

Members of the Dwyer Inn were provided Gabe Galanda and Ryan Dreveskracht's Arizona Law Review article, "Curing the Tribal Disenrollment Epidemic: In Search of a Remedy," and witnessed a skit loosely based on a prominent disenrollment controversy in the Pacific Northwest.

Galanda Broadman, PLLC, was recently named a “Best Law Firm” by U.S. News - Best Lawyers in the arena of Native American Law and Gaming Law, for the sixth year in a row.  With eight lawyers and offices in Seattle and Yakima, Washington and Bend, Oregon, the firm is dedicated to advancing tribal legal rights and Indian business interests, and defending Indian civil rights.