"Who's Who" Expected at 16th Annual NW Gaming Law Summit in Seattle Next Week

 Indian stick game

Indian stick game

The Northwest Gaming Law Summit, now in its 16th year, has become a veritable "who's who" event for the Pacific Northwest and national gaming industry. It takes place this year on December 13 and 14, 2018, at the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle, Washington.  

Join Program Co-Chairs Gabriel S. Galanda, a partner and co-founder of Galanda Broadman PLLC, and Frank L. Miller, a founding member of Miller Malone & Tellefson PS. They lead a outstanding faculty, including:

  • Hon. W. Ron Allen Chairman of the Washington Indian Gaming Association and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe

  • Bree R. Black Horse of Galanda Broadman PLLC

  • Steve M. Bodmer, General Counsel of the Pechanga Tribal Government 

  • Anthony S. Broadman of Galanda Broadman PLLC

  • Hon. Jonodev Osceola Chaudhuri, Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission

  • Joshua Clause of Clause Law, PLLC

  • Brian Considine, Legal and Legislative Manager or the Washington State Gambling Commission

  • Scott D. Crowell of Crowell Law Office

  • David Hawkins, General Counsel for the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe

  • Hon. Kathryn Isom-Clause, Vice Chairwoman of the National Indian Gaming Commission

  • Rebecca Kaldor of the Washington Indian Gaming Association

  • Kate C. Lowenhar-Fisher of Dickinson Wright PLLC 

  • John Maier of Maier Pfeffer Kim Geary & Cohen LLP 

  • Aurene Martin of Spirit Rock Consulting

  • Judith Shapiro of the Law Office of Judith Shapiro

  • Hon. Nathan Small, Chairman of the Fort Hall Business Council, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes

  • Rahul Sood, Co-Founder/CEO of Unikrn

  • Christopher Stearns of the Washington State Gambling Commission

  • Hon. Jeromy Sullivan, Chairman of the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe

  • Deborah Thundercloud, Chief of Staff for the National Indian Gaming Association 

  • Hon. David Trujillo, Director of the Washington State Gambling Commission

  • Jennifer H. Weddle of Greenberg Traurig LLP 

  • Scott Wheat of the Spokane Tribe of Indians

Gabriel “Gabe” Galanda is the managing lawyer at Galanda Broadman. He belongs to the Round Valley Indian Tribes. Gabe can be reached at 206.300.7801 or gabe@galandabroadman.com.

Corin La Pointe-Aitchison Joins Galanda Broadman

DSC_9200 Corin 11-9-18 photo.jpg

Corin La Pointe-Aitchison has joined the firm as an Associate in the firm’s Seattle office. His practice focuses on litigation involving tribal governments and enterprises, and Indian civil rights. 

“Corin understands and shares our tribal values,” said Gabe Galanda, the firm’s managing lawyer.  “We are excited that he’s joined our team.”

He received his law degree from the Lewis and Clark School of Law in 2017, where he served as President of the Native American Law Students Association. He holds a Master of Arts in Communications and Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, each from University of Southern Florida.

Corin moved from Portland, Oregon to join the firm. His prior practice focused on personal injury, contract, and insurance law. During his time in Oregon, he worked with the multiple non-profits focused on improving the lives of urban Native Americans.

He enjoys hiking, canoeing, kayaking, camping, and climbing.  

Corin is a Koyukon Athabaskan descendant whose family hails from Nulato, Alaska.

Galanda Broadman, PLLC, is an American Indian-owned law firm with offices in Seattle and Yakima, Washington and Bend, Oregon. The firm is dedicated to advancing tribal Treaty and other sovereign legal rights, and Native American civil rights.

Amber Penn-Roco, Social Justice Tuesday, UW Law School, "Trump's Dismantling" of Bears Ears

 President Trump signs an executive order at the Department of the Interior in April, shrinking Bears Ears National Monument in Utah

President Trump signs an executive order at the Department of the Interior in April, shrinking Bears Ears National Monument in Utah

On Tuesday, November 13 at 12:30, Amber Penn-Roco will speak at the University of Washington School of Law, from her new article, "Trump’s Dismantling of the National Monuments: Sacrificing Native American Interests on the Altar of Business," which the National Law Guild published in its journal, Review. Amber will speak as part of the law school’s Social Justice Tuesday series.

View the flyer for her speech here.

Amber’s practice focuses on tribal sovereignty issues, including environmental issues, economic development, and complex Indian Country litigation. Her experience also includes work on transactional matters, including entity formation, environmental compliance and permitting.

Galanda Broadman Once Again Named "Best Firm" in Native American & Gaming Law by U.S. News


Galanda Broadman, PLLC, has been named a “Best Law Firm” by U.S. News - Best Lawyers in the arena of Native American Law and Gaming Law, for the seventh year in a row. 

According to U.S. News - Best Lawyers, the firm's national ranking was determined through the firm's overall evaluation, which was derived from a combination of Galanda Broadman’s “clients' impressive feedback” and “the high regard that lawyers in other firms in the same practice area have for [the] firm.” 

Galanda Broadman, “An Indian Country Law Firm,” is dedicated to advancing tribal legal rights and Indian business interests, and defending Indian civil rights. The firm, with eight lawyers and offices in Seattle and Yakima, Washington and Bend, Oregon, represents tribal governments, businesses and members in critical litigation, business and regulatory matters, especially in matters of Indian Treaty rights, tribal sovereignty, taxation, civil rights, and tribal belonging.

National Law Guild Publishes Amber Penn-Roco On "Trump’s Dismantling" Of Bears Ears


Amber Penn-Roco’s article, "Trump’s Dismantling of the National Monuments: Sacrificing Native American Interests on the Altar of Business," has been published by the National Law Guild in its journal, Review. A passage:

President Trump has demonstrated an utter disregard for the preservation of the land and for the recognition of tribal interests; he has proven that when those interests compete with private business interests, he will always protect the businessman, to the detriment of tribal people across the nation.

Amber’s practice focuses on tribal sovereignty issues, including environmental issues, economic development, and complex Indian Country litigation. Her experience also includes work on transactional matters, including entity formation, environmental compliance and permitting.

Gabe Galanda, 11/7, Red Nation International Film Festival, USC: "Devolution: From Kinship to Disenrollment"


On November 7 at 7 PM, Gabe Galanda will speak on issues of tribal belonging, kinship, and disenrollment at the University of Southern California, as part of the 23rd Annual Red Nation International Film Festival. As part of a Master Class, Gabe will deliver a talk titled: “Devolution: From Kinship to Disenrollment.” He will explain how, as result of colonialism, federalism, and capitalism, tribal kinship societies have devolved to disenrollment and self-termination,

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.

Forgiving--And Forgetting--Elizabeth Warren

Screenshot 2018-10-07 09.30.21.png

I was among those who thought Sen. Elizabeth Warren was an ethnic fraud—more specifically a “box checker” who claimed Cherokee ancestry to ascend to the Harvard Law School faculty.

But the Boston Globe, in its feature, “Ethnicity not a factor in Elizabeth Warren’s rise in law,” convinced me otherwise. While I wish she would not have waited six years to turn over her teaching records, I am persuaded by the Globe that Sen. Warren never checked any “Native American” box for professional gain—especially not at Penn and not at Harvard.

So I forgive Sen. Warren for claiming tribal ancestry, and am now anxious to forget the entire “Cherokee grandma” controversy that surrounds her. It’s time we all forgive and forget.

The criticism I have about the continued critiques of Sen. Warren’s ancestry is that they cite a void of genealogical documentation for her great-great-great grandma from the late 19th Century—the types of documentation that either never existed for grandma’s in the late 1800s; or are demonstrably incomplete as to Indians who endured that genocidal time in American history.

Folks ask: “Where is her claimed Cherokee great-great-great grandma’s marriage license application or marriage license?” “Why aren’t any of her ancestors listed on any rolls of Cherokee Indians dating back to the early 1800s?” “Where is any proof of her claimed Delaware blood?”

The flaw in these questions is that they fail to appreciate or acknowledge that so-called vital records, especially those for women or Indians who lived in the 1800s, are scarce to non-existent.

They also ignore that federal Indian rolls and censuses have been proven inherently incomplete—lacking countless tribal ancestors. Angelique A. EagleWoman & Wambdi A. Wastewin, Tribal Values of Taxation Within the Tribalist Economic Theory, 18 Kan.J.L. & Pub. Pol’y, 1, 7 (2008).

Truth be told: If such historic federal, state, or local government documentation is the metric of tribal belonging in 2018, most current tribal members would not measure up. Nobody Native I know has their great-great grandma’s marriage license or great grandma’s birth certificate.

Sen. Warren claims she first learned of her Cherokee and Delaware ancestry from her grandma. This is precisely how most of us learned we are tribal: our grandmas told us. That is precisely how I first knew I was Nomlaki and Concow: my grandma told me.

That, quite simply, is kinship.

Screenshot 2018-10-07 10.15.59.png

External issues surrounding our identity and imagery are important. Misappropriated tribal ancestry does have negative psychological impacts on Natives today, particularly our youth. But tribal cultural misappropriation is hardly the biggest existential threat to Indian Country.

The single biggest existential threat is now . . . us. By that I mean our continued internal reliance on colonial-turned-federal modes of tribal termination and assimilation—most notably, blood quantum, residential criteria, and federal censuses/rolls—as measures of tribal belonging.

If we continue to self-define ourselves by using the colonizer’s genocidal tools, we will eventually “kill the Indian” ourselves. Disenrollment—with 80 tribes now engaged in the practice—is a glaring example, with greed-addled tribal politicians wielding those tools to self-terminate their own kin.

So let’s all forgive and forget Sen. Warren. Let her cherish her grandma’s teachings and what she believes is her kinship. Let’s instead focus or energies our teachings and our kinship.

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.

The BIA's Blood Trouble

42206899_1666790343430832_5338942810500366336_n (1).jpg

Last month this letter from the Great Plains Acting Regional Director to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe sent shockwaves through Indian Country. It appears similar letters were sent to tribes by BIA Regional Directors throughout the country.

The BIA informed the tribes that the Bureau intended to abruptly its issuance of issuing Certificates of Indian Blood (CDIBs), saying a “tribe’s right to define…degrees of Indian blood is a central aspect of tribal sovereignty.”

Let’s unpack this.

First, we never defined ourselves according to blood degree until the U.S. foisted that racial formation/fiction upon us in the late 1800s and most notably via the IRA in 1934. The BIA should not get it twisted by suggesting that the acts of defining Indian blood or issuing certificates of belonging were traditionally any aspect of tribal sovereignty.

Although some tribes have “638’d” the issuance of CDIBs as the letter alludes, if a practice wasn’t indigenous to us, it’s disingenuous to dub it an act of tribal self-determination today. It is instead an act of delegated federal power that, like disenrollment, Washington, DC bureaucrats created to extinguish us—and that tribal politicians now wield to “kill the Indian” themselves.

Second, as Paul Spruhan has explained in his seminal scholarship on CDIBs, the BIA has been issuing CDIBs since the 1930s, albeit without any Congressional authority to do so. Rising indigenous activist Emilio Reyes has uncovered BIA documents since the mid-1960s that form the agency’s CDIB “policy.”

Even without Congressional authority, such an internal policy is binding upon and actionable against the BIA under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). Confederated Tribes and Bands of Yakama Nation v. Holder, No. 11-3028, 2011 WL 5835137, at *3 (E.D. Wash. Nov. 21, 2011) (“The internal policies that can bind an agency and give rise to a cause of action under the APA are not limited to only those rules promulgated pursuant to notice and comment rule making.”).

(Also actionable under the APA is any withdrawal of the CDIB policy by the Bureau, without proper tribal consultation. Lower Brule Sioux Tribe v. Deer, 911 F.Supp. 395 (D. S.D. 1995))

Because so many federal and tribal decisions regarding tribal belonging are non-reviewable—as a result of another racial formation/fiction, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Santa Clara v. Martinez, 436 U.S. 49 (1978)—an Indian’s legal right to challenge any arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise unlawful federal agency action relating to his or her CDIB could be vitally important.

Third, the BIA’s attempt to suddenly withdraw from the CDIB business, if successful, will have a seismic impact on Indian Country. Spruhan correctly analyzes CDIBs in “the current environment surrounding disenrollment.” Indeed, the Bureau’s proposed withdrawal will—not may, will—“feed into the ongoing controversies over tribal recognition, membership, and disenrollment.”

The possibility of tribes taking over CDIB issuance—again, a non-indigenous way—is especially worrisome. The BIA would essentially be authorizing tribes to unilaterally “define” or redefine “degrees of Indian blood” or amend or invalidate an existing CDIB.

As Spruhan warns:

the BIA should also seriously consider whether authorizing the unilateral amendment or invalidation of a CDIB is necessary or prudent, particularly when the power to take such action is diffused among numerous BIA offices and 638 tribal contractors. As shown by recent controversies, disenrollment is a serious issue, and empowering the unilateral revision of CDIB documents has the potential to exacerbate the phenomenon.

We throughout Indian Country are still reeling from the Obama Administration’s abrupt decision, “[f]rom behind closed doors,” to extricate itself from disenrollment activity, in the spring of 2009. See “The Obama administration's disenrollment legacy.” What ensued?

During the next seven years of the Obama Administration, several thousand Indians were terminated by their own relatives—upwards of 9,000 tribal members have now been disenrolled from 79 tribes in 20 states according to Professor David Wilkins.

With the Omaha Tribe’s recent decisions to adjust hundreds of members’ blood quantum downward and to purge its rolls, it is now 80 tribes who have left their own people for dead, according to Wilkins.

Prof. Wilkins fears the BIA’s CDIB proposal is another tribal “depopulation campaign” in the making. Given the Trump Administration’s body of work—including Mashpee and Bears Ears—and rhetoric—suggesting that tribes are racial groups whose lands should be privatized—it is hard to disagree.

Likewise, I have no doubt that if the BIA carries out its proposed plan to cease issuing CDIBs, many more Indians will be disenrolled and internecine warfare will destroy many more tribal communities.

To be clear, both blood quantum and disenrollment need to be abolished. But with the genesis of each of those genocidal ways dating back to at least the Dawes Act of 1887, the abolition of blood quantum cannot be sudden, and it cannot happen at this tumultuous moment in American Indian history.

Please do your part to oppose the BIA’s plan. Quite enough Indian blood has already been spilled.

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.

We're Hiring: Need Another All-Star Associate


Galanda Broadman, PLLC, an Indian Country Law Firm with eight lawyers and offices in Seattle and Yakima, Washington, and Bend, Oregon, seeks to add an experienced litigation associate to its growing tribal practice in Seattle.

Galanda Broadman is an American Indian owned firm dedicated to advancing tribal and tribal citizen legal rights, and Indian business interests. The firm represents tribal governments, businesses and citizens in critical litigation, business and regulatory matters, especially in the areas of Indian Treaty rights, tribal sovereignty, land rights, cultural property protection, taxation, commerce, gaming, serious/catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, disenrollment defense, and indigenous human/civil rights.

The firm seeks an associate who is deeply committed to representing Indian interests, who is state bar licensed, preferably in Washington State, and who has at least two to five years of experience in civil litigation or serving as a judicial clerk.

Proven motion and civil rules practice, if not trial experience, and the ability to self-direct are critical. Impeccable writing and research skills; critical and audacious thinking; strong oral advocacy; tremendous work ethic; tenacity; and sound ethics are required.

Salary DOE.

Qualified applicants should submit a cover letter tailored to this announcement, as well as a résumé, writing sample, transcript, and list of at least three educational and professional references, to Alice Hall, the firm’s Office Manager, at alice@galandabroadman.com.

Applications directed elsewhere will not be considered.

Gabe Galanda Named Among America's Best Lawyers for 13th Straight Year


Gabe Galanda has been selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of Gaming Law and Native American Law, for the 13th straight year.  He has now been selected to The Best Lawyers in America® every year since 2007.

Gabe’s practice focuses on complex, multi-party litigation, business controversy, and crisis management, representing tribal governments, businesses and members.

He is skilled at defending tribes and tribal enterprises from legal attacks by local, state and federal government, and representing plaintiffs and defendants in catastrophic injury lawsuits.

Gabe handles Indian civil rights controversies for tribal members, particularly those involving Indian citizenship rights, as well.  He also frequently represents tribal families in federal civil rights litigation against police officers and jailers for the wrongful death of Natives and inmates.

The Best Lawyers in America® is regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence in the United States. Gabe’s selection was based on a peer-review survey, which all told comprises more than 4.9 million confidential evaluations by top attorneys throughout the country.

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.