Washington State Supreme Court Justice Steve Gonzalez honors the work of Gabe Galanda in the latest King County Bar Association Bar Bulletin. The column, titled "Native Son," is available online here (abbreviated) and in reprint here (full).
In the courtroom, Gabe’s public exploits would be impressive for any lawyer, let alone a 36-year-old. In 2006, he helped spearhead litigation and subsequent settlement among the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, State of Washington and City and Port of Port Angeles regarding the Tse-whit-zen Village and ancestral burial ground. He has been at the forefront of state-tribal taxation issues in Washington. Whereas many firms advertise themselves as bet-the-company litigators, Gabe has developed into a bet-the-tribe lawyer. For example, through emergency federal court motion practice, Gabe recently helped a tribe halt the USDA’s attempts to barge solid waste from Hawaii to aboriginal lands in central Washington, where the tribe fishes, hunts and gathers roots and berries to this day, under an 1855 treaty with the United States. His record is clear on at least one thing: he pays little heed to the strictures of formal power structures. When Gabe believes tribal sovereignty or culture is threatened, he will fight – no matter the opponent.