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

Federal Court Dismisses Tribal Police Officer Suit against Moapa Band

Here are the materials in Dutchover v. Moapa Band of Paiute Indians (D. Nev.):

8 Amended Complaint

28 Motion to Dismiss

37 Response

42 Reply

53 DCT Order

Trickster 10th Anniversary Edition Releases May 3, 2021

This 10th Anniversary Edition includes a new trickster tale (by Fletcher) and storytelling guides.

Available from Chicago Review Press here. Also ask for it at your local independent bookstore. My faves are Birchbark Books, Schuler Books, Horizon Books, and Brilliant Books.

NCJFCJ ICWA Courts Publication

NCJFCJ has a cool new publication on ICWA courts, specifically the Duluth ICWA court which is (in my humble opinion) the national model for this work. Here is an older WaPo article on the court (one of the best mainstream press ICWA articles out there), and the publication is below.

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.