MSU Indian Law Clinic Funding Announcement and Job Opportunity

It is with great pleasure to announce the Indian Law Clinic at MSU received an initial $200,000 to fund a Tribal Appellate Clerk Project from the Luce Foundation for the next 18 months. The funding allows us to assign students to tribal appellate courts to assist with research, memo writing, bench briefs and draft opinions. The Clinic is officially now seeking for tribal clients, so please reach out to if you or your tribe might be interested in receiving these pro bono services from the Clinic.

IN ADDITION, the funding allows us to hire a Fellow/Coordinator for this project! Please apply here:

Job Posting

While this is a soft funded position with a time limit, we have an opportunity to reapply for the funding. In addition, prior ILC/ILPC fellows (including me!) have gone on to great job opportunities after working with us. The job includes working with students, coordinating with tribes and tribal courts, and (most exciting) taking students on site visits to the tribes we work with! We are looking to hire as soon as possible.

Thank you very much to the Luce Foundation and MSU’s own Foundation office for working with the Clinic to get us this funding.

Buena Vista Rancheria Brings Federal Common Law Nuisance Action against Surface Lands Strip Mining Company

Here is the complaint in Buena Vista Rancheria of the Me-Wuk Indians v. Pacific Coast Building Products Inc. (E.D. Cal.):

Friday Job Announcements

To post an open Indian law or leadership job to Turtle Talk, send all of the following information to

In the email body:

A typed brief description of the position which includes

  • Position title
  • Location (city, state)
  • Main duties
  • Closing date
  • Any other pertinent details, such as a link to the application
  • An attached PDF job announcement or link to the position description

Environmental Law Institute

Project Manager, Climate Judiciary Project. Washington D.C. As a part of the Climate Judiciary Project (CJP) you will be involved in fostering a better understanding of climate science and the law in the judicial community through educational programs. To do this you will engage with diverse constituencies of scientists, judges, and policy experts. You will serve as the project manager focusing on operational planning, relationship management, web content management, and project evaluation, reporting, and financial tracking. Application Deadline: 3/1/2023.

Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP

Legislative Policy Advisor. Washington, DC. Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP, a national law firm dedicated to promoting and defending the interests of Indian tribal governments and organizations, seeks a Legislative Policy Advisor to work in its Washington, DC office. This position is open until filled. Please see the Job Announcement for more information and how to apply.


Litigation Paralegal, Northwest. Seattle, WA. This position provides paralegal and administrative support for the litigation and advocacy activities of the Northwest Regional office. The Litigation Paralegal will provide litigation paralegal services, including legal advocacy assistance, factual research, and drafting; assist in case development and management; and help ensure the overall effectiveness of litigation support in the Northwest Regional Office, including developing policies and best practices for litigation support. Apply By Date: Feb 12, 2023.

Federal Public Defender Office of New Mexico

Legal Assistant. Albuquerque, NM. Main duties are varied and are listed on the first page of the job announcement. Closing date for posting is 3/5/2023.

Administrative Assistant. Albuquerque, NM. Main duties are varied and are listed on the first page of the job announcement.  This is for a focus in Personnel and Human Resources. Closing date for posting is 3/5/2023.

Rothstein Donatelli

Summer Associate 2023. Tempe, AZ. This is a 40 hour/week in-office position with remote work flexibility, as needed and approved upon hire. Applicants must have completed 1L or 2L year by Summer 2023. Excellent research abilities. Excellent written and oral communication skills. Indian law coursework and work experience is preferred but not required. Closing Date: February 10, 2023. 

The Wilderness Society

Director of Government Relations. Washington, DC. The Wilderness Society (TWS) is seeking two highly skilled and experienced Government Relations professionals in Washington, DC, to lead our engagement with Congress and the administration on our core issue portfolios: climate and energy, equitable access to nature and land conservation. A successful candidate for these positions will be an experienced strategist and skilled manager who brings political savvy and creative thinking to achieving legislative and administrative policy and program goals. Application Deadline: February 26, 2023.

Chippewa-Cree Tribe TERO Department.

RFP for Legal Services. Remote with occasional meetings. The Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy Montana is soliciting bids from qualified attorney/lawyer to provide professional legal services with experience in employment law, TERO, and tribal employment ordinances/codes. This is a legal services contract for TERO located on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation. The Attorney shall be primarily responsible for providing professional legal services for FY23 starting January 31, 2023, and running through January 31, 2023, to the TERO Office. The legal services will be performed both off-Reservation and within the exterior boundaries of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation. The Attorney shall provide professional legal services to the Chippewa Cree Tribe/TERO department concerning review and enforcement of the TERO Ordinance, including but not limited to revisions to the ordinance, policies, and plans as needed; general advice/support to the TERO office; creation of vendor’s license, cease and desist orders, enforcement of compliance, violations, and fines. The closing date for this posting is January 31, 2023 or until filled.

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan

Senior Associate General Counsel. Mt. Pleasant, MI. Under the supervision of General Counsel, represent the tribe in all judicial and administrative forums and in the tribe’s governmental and business relations with all persons, organizations and entities, public and private, excluding representation performed by the General Counsel. Posting Date: 1/09/2023-Open Until Filled.

Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians

Assistant General Counsel. Watersmeet, MI. Under the direction of the General Counsel, the Assistant General Counsel provides legal services and representation to the Tribe, its agencies, and its enterprises in a broad variety of matters, including contract law, employment law, administrative law, real estate matters, Indian gaming regulation, taxation, tribal jurisdiction, environmental law, cultural resource preservation, child welfare, and legislation. Lac Vieux Desert is hiring two candidates for this position. Open until filled.

Bay Mills Indian Community

Attorney. Brimley, MI. The attorney works under the direct supervision of the President of the Bay Mills Indian Community and Bay Mills Community College, and provides strategic legal advice as counsel for and on behalf of the Bay Mills Indian Community, and all its governmental and commercial entities to advance compliance with applicable laws, to appear as such before all federal, state and tribal courts, tribunals, departments, agencies and committees of Congress and the State legislatures, including services in connection with tribal claims against the United States. Work directly in developing tribal legislation, public policy, regulations, and represent Bay Mills in cases related to federal Indian law, the Indian Child Welfare Act, Indian gaming, environmental law, or natural resource law. Closing Date: Open Until Filled.

Swinomish Indian Tribal Community

Code Enterprise Attorney. La Conner, WA. We are seeking an energetic attorney, preferably with five or more years of experience as in-house counsel to a tribal or other indigenous government. A candidate’s qualifications must include excellent written, oral, research and analytical skills, strong interpersonal communication and negotiation skills, and an ability to work hard and thrive in an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural environment; bring flexibility to a fast-paced and dynamic work setting; enjoy and excel at creative problem solving; and have demonstrated a commitment to working with Native or other minority communities. Qualified applicants must have experience or demonstrated expertise in one or more of the following: drafting and revising statutes, including leading a collaborative interdisciplinary drafting team; contract and grant document review and drafting; and tribal economic development enterprises. Open until filled.

Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians

Assistant Attorney General. Alpine, CA. The Assistant Attorney General will work in the Office of the Attorney General under the direct supervision of the Attorney General for the Viejas Band. The Assistant Attorney General will work with the Attorney General and Deputy Attorneys General to render legal services to the Viejas Band, including its government departments, enterprises, and elected officials.  Competitive salary depending on experience and comprehensive benefits. Open until filled.

Morongo Band of Mission Indians

Litigation Counsel. Banning, CA. Under general direction of In-House Counsel, the Litigation Counsel will be part of the Legal Department’s function of delivering legal counsel, advice, and support as the legal advisor to the Tribe, including the Tribal Council, General Membership, all tribal administrators and department heads, and various committees and commissions on litigation and other matters, including,  but not limited to, providing attorney services to the Morongo Cheehun ‘Evra – Office of Victims of Crime Program (OVC), funded by grants under the federal Office of Victims of Crime. The duties of the Litigation Counsel will be divided 60% to legal services to the tribal government and 40% to OVC. Opening until filled.

Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

Legislative Services Attorney. Harbor Springs, MI. The primary function of the Legislative Services Attorney is to serve the Tribal Council and provide legal advice in order to promote and protect Tribal Sovereignty, Tribal Self-sufficiency, and Tribal Self-determination. The Legislative Services Attorney shall interact and communicate with Tribal Council and Tribal Council committees, representatives from other tribes, local, state, and federal units of government when necessary; and in some cases, the Tribal citizens, while maintaining effective cooperative relationships. The Legislative Services Attorney will provide representation of Tribal Council; provide advice and analysis of the Tribal Constitution, Tribal Codes, state and federal laws and regulations; negotiate and draft legal, business and State/Tribal documents; and draft Resolutions, Statutes, Certified Motions, policies, procedures, Legislative Directives, Declarations, Special Tributes, agreements, proposals, legal memorandums, Memorandums of Understandings (MOU), Leases and contracts for the Tribe and Tribal Council. Open until filled.

Click here for last week’s job announcements!

Fort & Smith on ICWA During the Brackeen Years

Forthcoming in the Juvenile & Family Court Journal

From 2017 through 2022, while the Indian Child Welfare Act (“ICWA”) was under direct constitutional attack from Texas, state courts around the country continued hearing appeals on ICWA with virtually no regard for the decision making happening in Haaland v. Brackeen in the federal courts. For practitioners following or working on both sets of cases, this duality felt surreal, as they practiced their daily work under an existential threat. The data in this article draws from the authors’ previous publications providing annual updates on ICWA appeals, and now includes cases through 2021. It provides a description of appellate data trends across this time period, as well as for each year, while also highlighting key appellate decisions from jurisdictions across the country. Perhaps what this article demonstrates more than any single thing is the amount that ICWA is a part of child welfare practitioners’ daily lives now, in a way that will be difficult to upend, regardless of the Supreme Court’s ultimate decision.

This is particularly recommended for practitioners–we’ve taken the data from all our past articles to put them into one. One of our charts still needs a labels fix from our data expert, Alicia Summers, but otherwise the article has undergone peer review and will be published soon.

Biden Administration Repeals the 2020 Roadless Rule in the Tongass

Repealing the 2020 Alaska Roadless Rule, which exempted the Tongass from roadless protections, will return the inventoried roadless areas of the forest to management under the 2001 Roadless Rule, which prohibits road construction, reconstruction, and timber harvest in inventoried roadless areas, with limited exceptions. USDA determined that the underlying goals and purposes of the 2001 Roadless Rule continue to be a critical part of conserving the many resources of the Tongass, especially when it comes to the values that roadless areas represent for local, rural communities, Alaska Native peoples, and the economy of Southeast Alaska.

WaPo coverage here:

“The Tongass Roadless Rule is important to everyone,” said Joel Jackson, president of the Organized Village of Kake, which sits on the forest edge on an island south of the capital, Juneau.

“The old-growth timber is a carbon sink, one of the best in the world,” Jackson said in a statement. “It’s important to OUR WAY OF LIFE — the streams, salmon, deer, and all the forest animals and plants.”

Tribal leaders and Native organizers made a huge push to get these protections back in place. According to the press release, the Administration received more than 112,000 comments during this rulemaking (that is a *lot* of comments), a majority of which were in support of this change.

Second Circuit Allows Thruway Trespass Suit against New York to Proceed

Here are the materials in Seneca Nation v. Hochul:

Lower court materials here.

Litigation in North Dakota Federal Court over Turtle Mountain TERO Power to Assess Nonmember Business on Trust Lands

Here are the materials so far in Hanson v. Parisien (D.N.D.):

Fourth Circuit Affirms Certification of Class Action against Tribal Payday Lending Operation [that’s kinda what this case is now, kinda]

Here is the opinion in Williams v. Martorello.

An excerpt:

This class-action proceeding relates to a lending scheme allegedly designed to circumvent state usury laws. Matt Martorello appeals from three district court rulings that (1) reconsidered prior factual findings based on a new finding that Martorello made misrepresentations that substantially impacted the litigation, (2) found that the plaintiffs- appellees—Virginia citizens who took out loans (the “Borrowers”)—did not waive their right to participate in a class-action suit against him, and (3) granted class certification.
In particular, Martorello argues that the district court violated the mandate rule by making factual findings related to the misrepresentations that contradicted this Court’s holding in the prior appeal and then relying on those factual findings when granting class certification. He also contends that the Borrowers entered into enforceable loan agreements with lending entities in which they waived their right to bring class claims against him. In addition, he asserts that common issues do not predominate so as to permit class treatment in this case.
As explained below, we disagree with Martorello. We conclude that the district court did not violate the mandate rule and that the Borrowers did not waive the right to pursue the resolution of their dispute against him in a class-action proceeding. Finally, we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting class certification because common issues predominate. Accordingly, we affirm the rulings of the district court.

Briefs here.

Lower court materials here.

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