Will SCOTUS Double Down Against Tribal Courts In Dollar General?

By Jared Miller

Last week, U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch remarked on the success of a pilot program allowing select tribes to prosecute non-Indians for domestic violence under the reauthorized Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

“[Y]ou demonstrated that with greater control over your own lands and closer partnership with the federal government, justice can and will be done,” Lynch said of the Tulalip and Pascua Yaqui tribes for their efforts during the test period.  The comments are remarkable for at least two reasons. 

Marijuana Tribes: Beware of the DEA's Trojan Horse

In 2013, I published "Federal Task Force: Indian Country's Trojan Horse," explaining:

Beware of the federal task force. . . . [T]he federal task force is a Trojan Horse when it enters Indian country. That is because hiding within the federal task force are state and local cops.

his dynamic is especially prevalent with federal drug task forces.  In fact, the first federal task force comprised in pertinent part by state and local cops, were DEA-led drug task forces.  As the DEA explains

Tribes Could Lose Big If Nebraska Prevails in “Diminishment” Case

By Jared Miller

When the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Nebraska v. Parker earlier this month, it created the real possibility of a new kind of land-grab in Indian country.

Nebraska is a reservation “diminishment” case in which the State of Nebraska has invited the Court to rework the three-factor Solem test, such that contemporary demographics play a much larger role in determining whether land is Indian country.

Natives Turn Local "Deadliest Enemies" Into Change Agents

Towns, cities and counties, as tribal communities' closest neighbors, have historically played a major role in the "deadliest enemies"-dynamic of tribal-state relations. At the municipal level Indians have been murdered, imprisoned, excluded, discriminated, and taxed over the last few hundred years.  Those human rights violations have persisted in modern times, especially in rural America.  So naturally Natives have wanted little to nothing to do with local government.

That reality is now changing, dramatically.  In the staunch spirit of Indian self-determination and with the fervency of the Idle No More movement, Natives are aggressively grabbing, and leveraging, local government platforms to affect social change for Indian people.

Only Lawyers Can Spark the Federal Indian "Human Rights Era"

By Jared Miller

Since President Barack Obama announced the United States’ endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Declaration) in 2010, some legal scholars and tribal lawyers have slowly begun weaving the Declaration into articles, books, and legal briefs.

That’s not good enough, according to Walter Echo-Hawk, an attorney, author, activist, law professor, and tribal judge.

Federal Law Enforcement Void Invites Human Trafficking in Indian Country

By Joe Sexton

Indian Country is not immune to the crime of human trafficking. In fact, given the history of federal law enforcement negligence and the federal government’s willful oppression of indigenous peoples (see the federal policy of kidnapping Native children and sending them to “boarding schools”), reservations are ripe to attract human trafficking operations. There, pimps are more likely to find potential victims and can operate more freely because law enforcement is hampered by federal mismanagement and frustrating jurisdictional constraints imposed by the federal judiciary and corresponding statutes.

EPA Offers Revised Clean Water Act TAS Rules

By Ryan Dreveskracht

The current regulation of water pollution in Indian country is complex, to say the least.

Governed largely by the Clean Water Act (“CWA”)—a comprehensive statute designed to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation's waters” through the reduction and eventual elimination of pollutant discharge into those waters—the regulation of water pollution in the U.S. anticipates a partnership between the federal government and states.  33 U.S.C. § 1251.  The federal government sets the minimum level of pollution reduction required by the Act and “[i]f the states wish to achieve better water quality, they may.”  U.S. Steel Corp. v. Train, 556 F.2d 822, 838 (7th Cir. 1977).

Bree Black Horse Helps Lead Her Alma Mater, S.U. Law School

Bree Black Horse is chipping in to help her alma mater, the Seattle University School of Law, and its Center for Indian Law & Policy.  Bree has been appointed to the Center's advisory Council, and is helping teach legal writing along with Professor Eric Eberhard to the incoming American Indian Law Journal cohort. Bree co-founded the American Indian Law Journal and served as its Editor-in-Chief during law school. Her father and fine artist Terrance Guardipee designed and gifted the ledger art, The Spirit of Justice, that depicts the Center.