State & Local Government Should Consult With Tribes

According to Stephen Cornell and Joe Kalt:

As we look to the future, there are signs of instability in the support for self-determination. The rising economic and political clout of Indian nations are often seen as threats at the local level to non-Indian governments. Although beyond the scope of this study, this is raising inter-jurisdictional conflicts, often resulting in litigation.

Indeed, while the United States endeavors “to regular[ly] and meaningful[ly] consultation and collaboration with tribal officials in policy decisions that have tribal implications” per President Obama’s Tribal Consultation Memorandum, state and local government often feel no such obligation.

Instead of attempting to resolve inter-jurisdictional differences with their tribal neighbors through consultation and collaboration (which could result in inter-local agreements or compacts), states, counties, cities and townships increasingly turn to litigation for "resolution" of such differences.

Unless the attitude of local government changes in this regard, it is the local citizenry -- Indians and non-Indians alike -- who will literally and figuratively pay the price. Litigation is a zero sum game when governmental monies are used to fund court costs rather than essential programs and services for citizens.

Gabriel "Gabe" Galanda is a partner at Galanda Broadman PLLC, of Seattle, an American Indian majority-owned law firm.  He is an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Covelo, California.  He can be reached at 206.691.3631 or, or via