Materials in Navajo Nation, et al. v. Reagan – Voting Rights Litigation

Here are the materials in Navajo Nation, et al. v. Reagan, et al. No. CV-18-08329-PCT-DWL (Ariz. D. Ct. 2019).

The Amended Complaint sought:

[D]eclaratory and injunctive relief, compelling the Defendants to (a) allow early voters who do not sign their ballot affidavit to have the same opportunity to cure the ballot deficiency that is provided to voters with a mismatched signature, (b) allow early voters who do not sign their ballot affidavit to have the same chance to cure their ballot as voters who vote by conditional provisional ballots, (c) provide translators certified as proficient in the Navajo language for all future early voting and election-day polling sites, (d) provide translation of instructions for casting an early ballot in Navajo over the radio for the 30 days leading up to an election, (e) establish additional in-person voter registration sites, and (f) establish additional early voting sites on the Reservation for all future elections that are open for consistent hours (at a minimum, each Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. with no interruption during the lunch hour) during the 30 days leading up to the election. This relief is sought on the grounds that failure to provide the requested relief is a denial of the equal right to vote.

The lawsuit was settled, and the Settlements can be seen here:

Washington Post on Brackeen v. Bernhardt [ICWA]

Here.

In the 40 years since Congress enacted the Indian Child Welfare Act, the law has been criticized in legal challenges that have climbed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. But the ICWA, as the act is known, has always prevailed.

Now its constitutionality is being questioned again. On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit agreed to rehear a lawsuit filed by a non-Native American couple in Texas claiming the ICWA discriminates on the basis of race and infringes on states’ rights.

***

Kathryn Fort, a Michigan State law professor and one of the nation’s foremost ICWA experts, told The Washington Post she thinks there are more important battles to wage on behalf of children.

“Given that a federal judge this week fined Texas $50,000 a day until they fix their broken child welfare system,” Fort said, “it seems beyond the pale for them to try to continue to strike down a law that is designed to help children and families in that very system heal and reunify.”

Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Directive to Strengthen Tribal-State Relations

Here is the Executive Directive.

Press release:

Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Directive to Strengthen Tribal-State Relations  

EDbuilds upon and strengthens process of tribal consultation 

MT. PLEASANT, Mich. —Today, during a summit of Michigan’s tribal leaders, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Directive 2019-17. The executive directive reaffirms and extends Michigan’s commitment to recognize the sovereignty and right of self-governance of Michigan’s federally-recognized Indian tribes and orders each state department and agency to adhere to these principles. 

“As Michiganders, we must ensure that our tribalcommunitiesare treated with dignity and respect,” said Governor Whitmer.“It’s important to me that each tribe has aseat at the table in my administration to contribute their perspectives, and I’m committed to working closely with our tribal leaders to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their communities. 

Executive Directive 2019-17 also details a process of tribal consultation designed to ensure meaningful and mutually beneficial communication and collaboration between these tribes and the departments and agencies on all matters of shared concern. It’s also the firstexecutivedirectivein Michigan history to require training on tribal-state relations for all state department employees who work on matters that have direct implications for tribes. 

Governor Whitmer has shown a deep commitment to ensuring members of Michigan’s federally recognized tribes have a seat at the table in state government. She appointed Wenona Singel, a citizen of Little Traverse Bay Bands, as her advisor on tribal-state affairs, the first tribal citizen to hold this position in Michigan history. 

Tribal members that Governor Whitmer has appointed to Michigan state boards and commissions include Chris Swartz on the UP Energy Task Force, General Counsel Whitney Gravelle on the Michigan Women’s Commission, Natural Resources Department Director Evelyn Ravindran on the Committee on Michigan’s Mining Future, and Councilor Emily Proctor on the Census Complete Count Committee.