National Indian Law Library Bulletin (5/5/2021)

Indian Law Bulletins
from the National Indian Law Library

We have scoured the web. Here are some of the latest materials related to Indian Law. Find all of the latest updates at

U.S. Supreme Court Bulletin
A petition for certiorari was filed in one case on 4/14/21:

  • Gilbert v. Weahkee (Indian Health Service; ISDEAA Contracts)

A petition for certiorari was filed in another case on 4/26/21:

  • Pierson v. Hudson Insurance Company (Waiver of Sovereign Immunity; Criminal Jurisdiction)

Federal Courts Bulletin

  • Rabang v. Kelly (Disenrollment)
  • Navajo Nation v. Department of the Interior (Water Rights; Trust Breach)
  • Dutchover v. Moapa Band of Paiute Indians (Sovereign Immunity; Tribal Police)

State Courts Bulletin

  • Michael C., Tyana T. v. Department of Child Safety, Greenville Rancheria (Indian Child Welfare Act)
  • Olga C. v. Department of Child Safety, Tohono O’odham Nation (Indian Child Welfare Act)

Tribal Courts Bulletin

  • Fort Peck Tribes v. Smith (Exclusion; Banishment; Indian Civil Rights Act)

U.S. Legislation – 117th Congress Bulletin

  • S.1402 – A bill to amend the Native American Languages Act to ensure the survival and continuing vitality of Native American languages, and for other purposes.
  • S.1471/H.R.2930 – To enhance protections of Native American tangible cultural heritage, and for other purposes.
  • H.R.2878 – To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a Native VetSuccess at Tribal Colleges and Universities Pilot Program.

Law Review & Bar Journal Bulletin (contact us if you need help finding a copy of an article)

  • The Secretary of the Interior has the authority to take land into trust for federally recognized Alaska tribes.
  • “The desert is our home.”
  • Coeur D’alene Tribe v. Hawks: Why federal courts have the power to recognize and enforce tribal court judgments against nonmembers “because of the federal government’s unique relationship with Indian tribes.”
  • The disproportionate effect on Native American women extending the Federal Involuntary Manslaughter Act to include a woman’s conduct against her child in utero: United States v. Flute.
  • Mirrored harms: Unintended consequences in the grant of tribal court jurisdiction over non-Indian abusers.

News Bulletin
This week, in brief:

  • New report looks into water insecurity in tribal lands across Colorado River Basin
  • Cherokee Nation working to deal with avalanche of McGirt cases
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision delivers significant victory for the Navajo Nation
  • Pueblo, Indian Health Service reach hospital agreement
  • Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee engages Aquila Cubed Consulting, LLC, to expand economic development opportunities with Federal Communications Commission Spectrum License
  • Poet Laureate launches project to commemorate Indigenous communities
  • Federal partners, tribal leaders, Native youth carry messages of resiliency, overcoming COVID-19 trauma at National Tribal Public Health Summit
  • Schatz leads Indian Affairs oversight hearing to examine federal COVID-19 response in Native education systems
  • UW grad combines research, tribal traditions in wolf relationship plan
  • Indigenous media suffer from lack of funding, representation

Montana Indian Law CLE (May 7, 2021)

Tribal Court Lay Advocates and law students can join the Indian Law Section as an associate member here: (not required to attend CLE).

Indian Law Section CLE

Presented by the Indian Law Section, State Bar of Montana; 

With the Criminal Law Section, State Bar of Montana 

Friday, May 7, 2021

(all times MST)

Register here:

12:45 – 1:00: Opening (Lillian Alvernaz, Indian Law Section Chair; James Taylor, Criminal Law Section Chair; Sam Alpert, State Bar of Montana) 

1:00 – 2:45: The Death Penalty in State & Federal Courts

  • Panelists: 
    • Michael Donahoe, Deputy Federal Defender, Federal Defenders of Montana
    • SK Rossi, Owner, Central House Strategies 
    • Gary Mitchell, Attorney
  • Session Moderator: James Taylor, Managing Attorney, Tribal Prosecutors Office, Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes
  • Session Overview: The panel will present an overview of the federal death penalty and the ethical issues in representing someone facing a possible death sentence; the history of the death penalty in Montana with an emphasis on recent changes in the state system; and an in-depth discussion of United States v. Lezmond Mitchell

2:45 – 3:00: Break

3:00 – 4:45: Holistic Responses in the Tribal Justice System

  • Panelists: 
    • Dr. Sarah Deer, Professor, University of Kansas
    • Kathleen Littleleaf, Billings Urban Indian Health & Wellness Center
  • Session Moderators: Robin Turner (ILS Section Member) & Lillian Alvernaz
  • Session Overview: This panel will discuss the impacts of over-policing and incarceration of Native American people and how Tribal justice systems can work to holistically support individuals involved in the criminal justice system. The presenters will also explore the disproportionate victimology of the Native American population and how abiding by non-Indian systems of justice fails Native American people.

4:45 – 5:00:  Closing

Ninth Circuit Restores Navajo Nation’s Water Rights Trust Breach Suit

Here is the opinion in Navajo Nation v. Dept. of the Interior. Briefs here.

An excerpt:

Moreover, neither Morongo nor Gros Ventre nor Jicarilla involved claims to vindicate Winters rights, which provide the foundation of the Nation’s claim here. Unlike the plaintiffs in those cases, the Nation, in pointing to its reserved water rights, has identified specific treaty, statutory, and regulatory provisions that impose fiduciary obligations on Federal Appellees—namely, those provisions of the Nation’s various treaties and related statutes and executive orders that establish the Navajo Reservation and, under the long-established Winters doctrine, give rise to implied water rights to make the reservation viable.

                      *. *  *

We hold in particular that, under Winters, Federal Appellees have a duty to protect the Nation’s water supply that arises, in part, from specific provisions in the 1868 Treaty that contemplated farming by the members of the Reservation.