How a Native American Resistance Held Alcatraz for 18 Months

On Nov. 20, 1969, more than 70 Native Americans gathered before dawn on a dock in San Francisco Bay. They boarded three boats and sailed from the small, foggy harbor in Sausalito, Calif., to Alcatraz Island. They intended to make landfall on territory belonging to the United States government with the intent of claiming it for themselves. Or reclaiming it, depending on your point of view.


Elizabeth Warren’s new climate plan uses wildfire wisdom from tribes


A number of Democratic candidates for president have released ambitious environmental plans that make the environmental platforms of yore look like yesterday’s lunch. And many of them include proposals aimed at correcting environmental injustices — protecting vulnerable communities that are often exposed to pollution or are on the frontline of climate change. Carbon tax, shmarbon tax, bring on the equity officers and resiliency projects.

Elizabeth Warren just became the latest candidate to unveil such a plan. It will direct at least $1 trillion to low-income communities on the frontlines of climate change, and contains similar themes to justice-centered proposals put out by the likes of Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker. In at least one respect, however, the plan stands out: It contains a section on how Warren aims to rein in the rampant wildfires burning in the American West.


Ethel Branch, Former Navajo Nation Attorney General, to Return to Kanji & Katzen and Lead Flagstaff Office.

Kanji & Katzen is pleased to announce that Ethel Branch will be returning to the Firm as a Member, effective May 1, 2019. Ethel, who made invaluable contributions to the Firm and its clients as an Associate from 2012 to 2015, will open and lead an office for the Firm in Flagstaff, Arizona.

For the past four years, Ethel served with great distinction as the 11th Attorney General of the Navajo Nation. In that capacity, she oversaw the work of an 88-member staff and of numerous outside law firms as she fought for the Nation’s legal interests on a wide variety of fronts. For example, Ethel led the Nation’s litigation and public relations response to the Gold King Mine spill, which contaminated the San Juan River with over 3 million gallons of acid mine waste. Ethel also played a key role in the Nation’s first limited public offering, where she developed documents for the transaction, presented to Standard & Poor’s on the Nation’s financing laws and legal framework, and presented to investors on the stability of the Nation’s legal system. In December 2017, Ethel joined other tribal co-counsel in filing a federal complaint challenging President Trump’s unlawful revocation of the 1.35-million-acre designation of the Bears Ears National Monument by President Obama. As part of that work, Ethel worked closely with the litigation teams for all plaintiff groups and the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition to advocate for the protection of the Monument in court, before Congress, and in the media.

Among other important work as Attorney General, Ethel led a substantial Criminal Code and Criminal Rules of Procedure revision effort, which included successful passage of stronger white-collar criminal laws; spearheaded a Nation-wide effort to coordinate public safety, prosecutorial, defense, judicial, substance abuse, family, and emergency response services; and established a Public Integrity Task Force that pursued law reform to combat public corruption. She also negotiated a settlement for the Nation with Urban Outfitters regarding trademark infringement and Indian Arts and Crafts Act violations, participated in settlement negotiations with the Hopi Tribe regarding the Little Colorado River basin, and oversaw work that led to the Utah Water Rights Settlement Act. Ethel supervised a successful voting rights claim in Utah resulting in court-ordered redistricting, oversaw numerous special prosecutions and ethics inquiries, and brought vacancies at the Nation’s Department of Justice and the Prosecutor’s Office to historic lows. She instituted a lawsuit against Wells Fargo regarding Consumer Finance Protection Act violations targeted at vulnerable populations within the Navajo Nation, and brought suit against opioid manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies for the adverse impacts to Navajo tribal members (now part of the Multi-District Litigation). Ethel also worked closely with the state attorneys general for Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah and coordinated prosecutorial matters with the U.S. Attorneys for the three states.

Ethel holds three degrees from Harvard University: an A.B., cum laude, in History; a Master’s degree in Public Policy; and a Juris Doctor.

Kanji & Katzen, presently with offices in Seattle and Ann Arbor, is a law firm devoted exclusively to the advancement of Tribal sovereignty and environmental protection, and has litigated leading cases for Tribes at all levels of the federal court system, as well as in Tribal and state courts, on issues including treaty rights, land claims and reservation boundaries, economic development, jurisdiction, taxation, and the safeguarding of environmental and natural resources. The Firm is delighted to welcome Ethel back and is excited about the tremendous acumen, experience, and energy she will be bring to the advancement of our clients’ interests.

Questions may be directed to David Giampetroni, Managing Partner, at or (734) 769 5400.

How does measuring poverty and welfare affect American Indian children?

From Brookings:

For one group of children in particular, American Indians and Alaska Natives, exceedingly high poverty rates have had profound impacts on community wellbeing and long-term cohesiveness. Given the best available data, from the U.S. Census data, child poverty rates among American Indians and Alaska Natives have consistently exceeded 40% for almost the past 30 years.


Judge Rayes Denies Stay Requested due to Government Shutdown

“The federal government’s voluntary refusal to pay for its
own agency’s legal representation—despite ample resources to do so—does not constitute good cause for delaying this case.”

2019 01 10 order denying stay

UPDATE (Background materials):

1 complaint

15 motion to dismiss count ii

18 response

19 reply

23 dct order granting 15

28 george motion for summary judgment

32 response

34 reply

40 us motion to stay

41 amended motion

A New Film Examines Sexual Violence as a Feature of the Bakken Oil Boom

From The Intercept:

In the mid-2000s, the area surrounding the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota began to undergo a massive transformation after corporations figured out they could access vast wells of oil from the Bakken shale formation using fracking technology. Politicians celebrated as high-paying jobs flooded the area, but women in the community saw a darker side to the boom.

In her film “Nuuca,” Michelle Latimer explores the traits of the Bakken oil boom through the eyes of a young woman who grew up on the reservation. Some of the boom’s features are obvious: the cylinder of the derrick creaking as it pumps in and out of the earth, tanks full of crude oil buzzing with electricity, pipes rusting in a field, gas flares, and huge semi-trucks speeding down country roads, one after another.


Thomson Reuters Defends Its Work for ICE, Providing “Identification and Location of Aliens”

The reporters at Reuters have been providing crucial, unfliching coverage of the cruel treatment of would-be immigrants under policies pushed by President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, the news agency’s parent company, Thomson Reuters, has been supplying U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with data from its vast stores as part of federal contracts worth close to $30 million. A letter from a Thomson Reuters executive shows that the company is ready to defend at least one of those contracts while remaining silent on the rest.


‘This Ruling Gives Us Hope’: Supreme Court Sides With Tribe in Salmon Case

From the NY Times:

There was a time when the murky waters of the Skagit River offered bountiful salmon harvests to the Swinomish Indians of Washington State. They could fill an entire boat with one cast of the net back then, and even on a slow day, they could count on hauling in dozens of fish.

But on a cloudy morning last month, the tribal community chairman, Brian Cladoosby, was having no luck. Drifting in his 21-foot Boston Whaler, he spotted his 84-year-old father, Michael, standing in yellow overalls in another boat, pulling an empty net from the water.

“Where’s the fish, Dad?” the son asked.

That has been the dominant question for years among the Swinomish and other Native Americans, who have seen their salmon harvests dip by about 75 percent over the past three decades.

But on Monday, they got reason to hope that their salmon harvests would tick back up.

Article is HERE.

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