NNALSA Moot Court Finals (Finally)

To wrap this week’s victory tour: you asked and we answered! We are beyond thrilled to announce that for the first time in MSU’s history, the MSU chapter of the Native American Law Student Association (NALSA) advanced to the final round in the National NALSA Moot Court Competition. The ILPC, alumni, and friends of the Center are so proud to celebrate this outstanding accomplishment.

Returning to campus with two awards, 3L Kaitlin Gant (Oneida Nation of the Thames) and 2L Kacey Chopito (Pueblo of Zuni) took second place in the oral arguments. They also won the award for Second Place Best Overall Advocates. Notably, Ms. Gant was the only female competitor in the final round.

They came second behind none other than Columbia Law and competed against 65 teams including those from Arizona State University, University of New Mexico, University of Chicago, University of Kansas, and University of California Los Angeles.

3L Austin Moore (Samish Indian Nation) and 3L Kathryn Peterson (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians) also participated in the competition hosted last week at UC Berkeley Law.

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The competitive success of MSU NALSA helped the MSU College of Law rise from fourth to second place in National Moot Court rankings.

Please join us in congratulating these students on their achievements!

Friday Job Announcements

Any posts for an open Indian law or leadership job received prior to 12pm EST on Friday will appear in that week’s announcement, when the following information is sent to indigenous@law.msu.edu:

  1. In the email body, a typed brief description of the position which includes
    • position title,
    • location (city, state),
    • main duties,
    • closing date,
    • and any other pertinent details such as links to application;
  2. An attached PDF job announcement.

Please send all job announcements in this requested format. For examples, see the job announcements below.

Pueblo of Laguna

Legal Assistant, Laguna, N.M. Please see the announcement for more information. Open until filled.

Family Legal Assistance Attorney, Laguna, N.M. Please see the announcement for more information. Applications close on February 25, 2020.

Navajo Nation Government Development Commission

The Judicial Branch of the Navajo Nation is seeking applicants for nomination of membership on the Commission on Navajo Government Development. Pursuant to 2 N.N.C. §972(A)(2), one member of the Commission “shall be nominated by the Judicial Branch through the Chief Justice of the Navajo Nation to serve a term of two years from the date of confirmation by the Navajo Nation Council; the nominee shall be a licensed attorney and a member of the Navajo Nation Bar Association.” All interested individuals should submit a letter of interest and resume to Office of Human Resources, P.O. Box 520, Window Rock, AZ, 86515, by February 28, 2020. Nominations to the Commission are subject to confirmation by the Navajo Nation Council.

JUDICIAL BRANCH OF THE NAVAJO NATION

Staff Attorney, Chinle Judicial District, Chinle AZ. This position provides complex legal advice and guidance, conducts legal research, and drafts legal documents in support of judges and other court staff. For more information, please see the position description or to apply, visit http://www.navajocourts.org/vacancies. This position is open until filled.

Staff Attorney, Aneth Judicial District, Aneth, UT. This position provides complex legal advice and guidance, conducts legal research, and drafts legal documents in support of judges and other court staff. For more information, please see the position description or to apply, visit http://www.navajocourts.org/vacancies. This position is open until filled.

Staff Attorney, Dilkon Judicial District, Dilkon, AZ. This position provides complex legal advice and guidance, conducts legal research, and drafts legal documents in support of judges and other court staff. For more information, please see the position description or to apply, visit http://www.navajocourts.org/vacancies. This position is open until filled.

Staff Attorney, Kayenta Judicial District, Kayenta, AZ. This position provides complex legal advice and guidance, conducts legal research, and drafts legal documents in support of judges and other court staff. For more information, please see the position description or to apply, visit http://www.navajocourts.org/vacancies. This position is open until filled.

District Court Judge, Judicial District Court, Navajo Nation Wide. The District Court Judge is responsible in presiding over civil, criminal and family court cases; provides policy direction and guidance in the operation of the Judicial District.  For more information, please see the position description or to apply, visit http://www.navajocourts.org. This position is open until filled.

Earthjustice

Staff Attorney Mid Pacific, Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Earthjustice is now accepting applications for a Staff Attorney to join our team working to protect the interconnected ecosystems, communities, and natural and cultural values in Hawai‘i and the broader Mid-Pacific region. We seek an experienced attorney capable of leading complex litigation and legal advocacy to fulfill our mission. The position will be based in our Mid-Pacific Office located in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Please apply here.

Sitka Tribe

Family Law Attorney, Sitka, A.K. The Family Law Attorney provides holistic legal representation to Native American victims of domestic violence and sexual assault under the umbrella of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska Legal Department. Work collaboratively with other team members, especially project partner Sitkans Against Family Violence -the local women’s shelter, to ensure holistic services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and their children. The ideal candidate must be willing to be engaged with the community to be served. Desire to live and work in Sitka, Alaska, is necessary. Please apply at www.sitkatribe.org or call (907) 747-3207.

National Council of Indian Urban Health

Congressional Relations Summer Policy Fellow 2020, Washington D.C. The Congressional Relations Policy Fellow (Policy Fellow) will assist in the implementation of the NCUIH’s legislative priorities and policy projects as directed by the Director of Congressional Relations. The Policy Fellow will work closely with NCUIH’s Policy team to assist with healthcare and public health advocacy for the Urban Indian Health Programs across the country. The Policy Fellow will be responsible for creating policy and regulation education materials and draft documents for the organization’s leadership and membership as well as Congress. The person in this role should have experience or a desire to have or expand his/her experience in public health, government affairs, and the federal legislative process; as well as a work history with American Indian / Alaska Native (AI/AN) issues and a strong work ethic. Please send a resume and cover letter to Carla Lott, Director of Congressional Relations at jobs@ncuih.org. Applications close on March 20, 2020.

Law Fellow 2020, Washington, D.C. Law fellows will have both internal and external responsibilities grounded in serving urban Indian organizations (UIOs) to advance the mission of NCUIH through policy, advocacy, outreach, technical assistance, and research projects in the health care and public health fields. Law interns/fellows will report to the Director of Federal Relations and regularly work with NCUIH’s Executive Director and Director of Congressional Relations. In addition, law intern/fellows’ work will include analyses of agency activities and support for engagement with agencies under the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), including the Indian Health Service (IHS), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Health Resources and Services Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Administration for Children & Families, HHS Office of the Inspector General, and more; Department of Justice; Department of Veterans Affairs; Department of Agriculture; and other agencies as relevant to NCUIH’s mission. Regulatory and policy priorities within the last year have included the following areas: the federal trust responsibility, Medicaid, Medicare, third-party reimbursement, behavioral health, domestic violence, opioids and substance use disorders, HIV and Hepatitis-C, Federal Tort Claims Act, Federal Advisory Committee Act, and more. Please send a resume and cover letter to jobs@ncuih.org. The cover letter should include what the applicant wants to gain out of this fellowship, why he/she is interested in this position as well as a brief summary of career goals.

Martha L. King, P.C., Native Owned Native Law

Associate Attorney, Albuquerque, NM. Provision of business law services to tribal entities, including developing, amending, advocating, negotiating and/or implementing: governing documents, codes and amendments to support self-governance and economic development; employee handbooks and policies and procedures; intergovernmental agreements; and business documents. Open until filled. For more information please see position description.

Mille Lacs Band Tribal Court

PT Law Clerk, Onamia, M.N. The Mille Lacs Band Tribal Court seeks a law clerk responsible for assisting the tribal court with legal research, drafting of court decisions and special court development projects. Work will be performed remotely from 16 to 20 hours a week with initial and periodic meetings at the work site with the District Court Judge and/or Staff Attorney. See the announcement for more information.

Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute

Executive Director, Washington, D.C. Lead a dynamic and impactful Native American youth leadership development and advocacy organization who can build on its successful growth since its founding in 2011. The candidate must have a very strong understanding of Native American policy issues and deep relationships with tribal communities, tribal leaders, and tribal nonprofit leaders. This position requires a strategic thinker who can work closely with youth and community stakeholders to design programs driven by their vision and rooted in their cultural values, while leveraging the wide resources and expertise of a large organization that is a global leader in the fields of leadership development, policy, and action. In addition to leading the strategic positioning and growth of CNAY’s programs, the Executive Director will manage a staff of 5 people and oversee all finance and operational responsibilities for the program. The Executive Director is also responsible for raising funds and other resources for the program, which is an essential part of the job. Finally, the ideal candidate will be the key external representative for the organization and possess strong writing and speaking ability that will raise the profile of CNAY to funders, elected officials, thought leaders, and other key stakeholders. Applications are only accepted through this link: https://aspeninstitute.hrmdirect.com/employment/job-opening.php?req=1247770&&&jbsrc=1025.

The Three Affiliated Tribes

Staff Attorney, New Town, N.D. Please see the job announcement for more information. The job application is here.

Chief Judge, New Town, N.D. Please see the job announcement for more information. The job application is here.

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

Staff Attorney, Choctaw, MS. Under the direction of the Tribe’s Attorney General, the Staff Attorney is responsible for providing general legal services for the tribal government and representing the Tribe in various criminal and civil actions in tribal, state, and federal courts. Please see position description for more information. The Tribe’s Employment Application can be found here. This position closes on February 24, 2020.

Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians

Associate General Counsel, Temecula, C.A. The Associate General Counsel will work in the Office of the General Counsel under the direct supervision of the General Counsel for the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians. The Associate General Counsel will work with the General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel to provide legal services, representation and advice on legal issues confronting the Tribal Government, its entities and enterprises; provide guidance and assistance to Tribal Government departments; and provide limited service to tribal members in matters relating to tribal status. Please see the announcement for more information.

Tohono O’odham Nation

PT Staff Attorney, Sells, A.Z. The Tohono O’odham Nation is seeking a part-time Staff Attorney to advise the Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance Commission (TERO) for the Tohono O’odham Nation in Sells, Arizona.  The main duties for this Staff Attorney would be to attend monthly commission meetings, and special meetings, draft rules and regulations, provide legal advice on the interpretation and operation of the TERO ordinance, draft commission decisions for contested cases heard by the commission, and handle appeals of commission decisions in Judicial Court, and any other legal services requested by the Commission. The TERO ordinance is an employment preference ordinance for Tohono O’odham tribal members and other Indians or certain employment on the Nation.  The candidate should send his/her hourly compensation requirements.  The closing date is March 31, 2020.

Last week’s post: February 14, 2020.

 

Seeking Tribal Government Comments on Proposed NEPA Rules

Recently, the White House Council on Environmental Quality released new proposed rules for the National Environmental Policy Act. The proposed rules would significantly change the environmental permitting process and gut the review process, impacting tribal interests throughout Indian Country.

Comments are now open. Anyone, individuals or tribal governments, may submit comments on these rules. Importantly, comments and collecting evidence of negative impacts are very important at this stage in the process to preserve future legal claims. Tribal governments are strongly encouraged to submit comments. Comments are open until March 10, 2020.

Currently, the MSU Indian Law Clinic is collaborating with Earthjustice to create a general comment letter to submit regarding how the proposed rules impact tribal interests. Additionally, Earthjustice is seeking to support and assist tribes who would like to submit a comment letter. Please contact Stefanie Tsosie (Senior Associate Attorney at Earthjustice) here if you have questions or would like further assistance drafting a comment letter.

For more information on the proposed NEPA rules, please see this NEPA Factsheet and this article in NPR about the impacts of these rules.

New Mexico Supreme Court Upholds Tribal Sovereignty

In Mendoza v. Isleta Resort and Casino, the New Mexico Supreme Court heard the case of a party who wished to circumvent tribal procedures for a worker’s compensation claim. Ultimately, the New Mexico Supreme Court’s holding is a big win for tribal sovereignty, as it requires an express waiver of sovereignty before permitting a state action to commence over a dispute arising on tribal property. Read more here and listen to the oral arguments here.

Briefs:

Mendoza Opening Brief

Tribe Brief

Mendoza Answer Brief

Tribe Reply

Mendoza Sur-Reply

Tribe Sur-Sur-Reply

New VAWA Bill Introduced in the Senate

On Wednesday, Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) introduced a version of the Violence against Women Act bill that she sponsored. The new VAWA bill attempts to significantly erode tribal sovereignty in the name of “defending civil rights” by eliminating the exhaustion of tribal remedies, forcing an over-broad application of the U.S. Constitution in tribal courts, and providing a cause of action for defendants to sue tribes for civil rights violations.

This excerpt from the recent FMC Corp. v.  Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, — F.3d —-, 2019 WL 6042469 *22 (9th Cir. 2019), encompasses exactly why this bill is misguided in its attempts to abrogate tribal sovereignty:

“Making good on these due process guarantees, nearly five decades of tribal cases applying ICRA show that tribal courts protect the rights of both member and nonmember litigants in much the same way as do federal and state courts.” Norton, 862 F.3d at 1250. “[T]ribal courts often provide litigants with due process that ‘exceed[s] the protections offered by state and federal courts.’” Id. (second alteration in original) (citing Matthew L.M. Fletcher, American Indian Tribal Law 325 (2011))…[o]ur own experience in reviewing tribal court decisions is consistent with the findings of these studies. Tribal courts, like all courts (including our own), make mistakes. But, contrary to the contention of FMC, tribal courts do not treat nonmembers unfairly.

A copy of the bill is here.

The HuffPost ran an article on how this proposed VAWA legislation harms tribes on Thursday, November 21, 2019. That article is here.