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

  1. In the email body, a typed brief description of the position which includes position title, location (city, state), main duties, and closing date;
  2. An attached PDF job announcement.

Please send all job announcements in this requested format.

Mescalero Apache Tribe

Counselor (Substance Abuse/Adult & Child), Four Directions Treatment & Recovery Center, Mescalero, NM. Provides counseling services to adults, children and families with mental health and/or substance abuse problems or domestic violence in individual, family, or group sessions. Please see the job description for more information, and a full job description is available upon request. This position is open until filled.

Treatment & Rehab Center Executive Director, Mescalero, NM. Oversee existing services provided and oversee Mescalero Systems of Care, the Violence Against Women Office, the Suicide Prevention Program, Foster Care Licensing Program, Indian Child Welfare Act Office, and Tribal Social Services. A complete position description will be provided upon request. This position is open until filled.

Rosette, LLP

Associate Attorney, Grand Rapids, MI.  This firm specializes in representing federally recognized Indian tribes, their governmental entities and agencies, and businesses. The ideal candidate must be willing to travel and work on client matters throughout the United States.  Application closes July 31, 2019. For more information please see the job description.

Pueblo of Laguna

Associate Prosecutor, Dept: Pueblo Courts / Prosecutor’s Office, Laguna, NM. Under general administrative direction of the Court Prosecutor, presents/files criminal complaints and prosecutes individuals accused of violating criminal laws, including status offenses the Pueblo of Laguna laws, codes, and/or ordinances of the Pueblo. For more information please see the job description or click here. Application is open until filled.

Court Prosecutor, Dept: Pueblo Courts / Prosecutor’s Office, Laguna, NM. Under administrative supervision of the Governor, presents/files criminal complaints and prosecutes individuals accused of violating ordinances of the Pueblo. Application is open until filled. For more information please see the job description or click here.

Mille Lacs Band

Law Clerk PT, Onamia, MN. The part-time position is responsible for assisting the Tribal Court judiciary 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 (Tribal Court) with District Court Judge and/or Staff Attorney. This position is open until filled. Please see the description for more information.

Tohono O’odham Nation

Attorney General, Sells, AZ. The attorney general provides legal advice and representation to all officials, agencies, departments, divisions and branches of the Tohono O’odham Nation, a federally recognized Indian tribe with 2.8 million acres of reservation land in Southern Arizona. The attorney general represents the Nation in all legal proceedings, and in other matters that affect the legal interests of the Nation; advises senior management and tribal officials; and supervises assistant attorneys general and contract attorneys. For more information please see the job description.

Intertribal Court of Southern California

Court Services Administrative Assistant, Valley Center, CA. This position has secondary responsibility for all court clerical duties including greeting visitors upon arrival, answering, screening, and forwarding incoming phone calls, taking and relaying messages and more. For more information please see the job description.

Tribal Youth Court Coordinator, Valley Center, CA. Develop and implement programs tailored to meet the needs of youth offenders and manage their individual cases for compliance with case plans. This position also performs a variety of court-support tasks. For more information please see the job description.

Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians

Tribal Law Enforcement Director, Redwood Valley, CA. This position hires, trains, and supervises department employees, participates in grant management, is responsible for the supervision and scheduling of Tribal community building security patrols, and more. For more information please see the job description. Closing Date August 2nd 2019.

Port Madison Enterprises

Paralegal, Suquamish WA. Assist in the management and conduct of the analysis of policy issues, proposed tribal, state or federal legislation, or other items of special concern to the PME Legal Department, the Port Madison Enterprises Executives, or the Port Madison Enterprises Board of Directors. Please see the job description for more information or click here.

Sitka Tribe of Alaska

General Assistance Caseworker, Sitka, AK. Responsibility of day to day management of BIA financial assistance programs. Management of general assistance clients clients in assisting them with individualized case plans to work toward self sufficiency. For more information please see the job description.

The Navajo Nation Legislative Branch

RFP. Seeking a Consultant for Governmental Lobbying Services to the Navajo Nation Council in relation to the 2020 and 2021 New Mexico and Utah Legislative Sessions. (RFP-NM Lobbyist-7567) (RFP-UT Lobbyist-7568). The Office of the Navajo Nation Speaker (OOS) will be accepting all proposals from qualified consultants. Interested parties shall obtain more information from the Office of the Speaker. Due Date of RFP Proposals is Friday, July 26, 2019 at 5:00 PM. This procurement process is a combined technical qualifications and cost-based selection. Send inquiries and questions to Lashawna Tso, MPA, Chief of Staff |  928.871.7160.

Michigan Indian Legal Services (MILS)

Pro Bono Assistant, Traverse City, MI. This is a two-year, grant-funded position. The Pro Bono Assistant will support the implementation of MILS’s new pro bono program by working with the MILS staff to develop and implement a statewide pro bono program targeting late-career and retired attorneys to provide community legal education, mentor MILS staff attorneys, and provide direct client representation. For more information see the description.

Program Associate, Climate & Energy, Washington, DC. Support the Vice President of Litigation, Climate & Energy, in developing and monitoring projects underway as part of the Climate & Energy program; Convene and coordinate teams and workgroups from various programs; Facilitate project meetings, status updates, and debriefings; and more. The application has a rolling deadline. Please see the job description or click here for more information.

Tribal Court Public Defense Clinic, University of Washington School of Law

Staff Attorney, Tulalip/Seattle, WA. The purpose of the position of part-time Staff Attorney is to provide in-person support to the Tribal Court Public Defense Clinic (TCPDC) team by staffing the Tulalip Tribal Court office and appearing in court during court calendars where the full time public defenders are engaged in teaching related activities. The position is open until filled. Please see the job description and application on the UW Human Resources Website for more information.

Pueblo of Sandia

Assistant General Counsel – Water, Environment & Natural Resources, Albuquerque, NM. Serves as a key member of the Pueblo’s legal team. Responsibilities will cover a wide range of legal matters that would typically confront a tribal general counsel’s office, including: providing a diverse range of legal advice to the Pueblo; performing high level legal research and analysis in various areas of law and policy specifically in relation to water and environmental law and policies; and serving as the primary contact and expert for the Pueblo’s water and natural resource legal matters, subject to the direction and oversight of the General Counsel. For more information see the website.

See posts from June 28, 2019.

Posted in Research | Tagged , , , , ,

Federal Court Materials in MHA Nation Allottees Trespass Suit against Oil and Gas Companies

Here are the materials so far in Hall v. Tesoro High Plains Gas Co. LLC (D.N.D.):





Here are materials in a related case, Chase v. Andeavor Logistics LP (W.D. Tex.):

22 Motion to Transfer

25 Memo in Support

28 Amended Complaint

40 Response to Motion to Transfer

57 Reply

67 DCT Order Granting Motion to Transfer

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Research | Tagged , , , , , ,

South Dakota SCT Dismisses Tort Claim Arising on Pine Ridge

Here is the opinion in Chase Alone v. Brunsch, Inc.:


Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Research | Tagged , ,

Symposium on the Settlement of Indian Reserved Water Rights Claims

Draft agenda here.

The Native American Rights Fund and Western States Water Council will hold their 2019 Symposium on the Settlement of Indian Reserved Water Rights Claims August 13-15 at Harrah’s Resort Southern California in Funner, Calif.  Registration and information, including a draft agenda, can be found here.

Posted in Research | Tagged , ,

Wisconsin Speakers Taskforce on Adoption Looking at Speeding up Adoptions

Press releases: Speakers Taskforce on Adoption Membership 052919
Speakers Taskforce on Adoption 051419

Any tribal member and/or tribe can give testimony on this issue here:

Thursday, July 25, 2019
Unity School District Performing Arts Center
1908 150th St.
Balsam Lake, WI 54810
Start time: 12:00 noon
Please feel free to attend either session. If you would like time to speak please contact: Meagan Matthews at: 608-266-8551 or

We would note that one outcome of the opioid epidemic is that some groups are pushing to terminate parental rights faster, particularly for children under the age of 3. A recent law passed in Arizona attempts to do just that, and was pushed by Generation Justice, a group founded by the recent past CEO of the Goldwater Institute.

Posted in Author: Kate E. Fort, Child Welfare, ICWA | Tagged , , , ,

National Indian Law Library Bulletin (7/10/2019)


The National Indian Law Library added new content to the Indian Law Bulletins on 7/10/19.

Federal Courts Bulletin
Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. Department of Health and Human Services (Indian Health Care Improvement Act)
Williams v. Big Picture Loans, LLC (Sovereign Immunity) 

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

  • Beyond an emergency declaration: Tribal governments and the opioid crisis. 
  • ‘Race, racism, and American law’: A seminar from the Indigenous, Black, and Immigrant legal perspectives. 
  • Texas Indian holocaust and survival: McAllen Grace Brethren Church v. Salazar. 

News Bulletin
This week, in brief: 

  • Upcoming House subcomittee hearing on several Indian Country bills 
  • Tracking the 2020 Census 
  • Bipartisan bill to reinstate grants for Native American language programs passes the Senate

U.S. Legislation – 116th Congress Bulletin
The following bills were recently proposed in the Senate: 
S.2307 – Building Indigenous STEM Professionals Act
S.1977 – Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas Water Rights Settlement Act

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Research | Tagged

High Country News: “How to Indigenize the Green New Deal and environmental justice”


Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, cultural resources, Environmental | Tagged ,

New Mexico Notice and Time Frame Case from Court of Appeals [ICWA]

Children, Youth & Families Department v. Tanisha G. and Isaac G.

This is an interesting and remarkable case, and a way to deal with continued notice violations and delay by an agency. Here are the highlights of this disturbing case of agency overreach:

CYFD took Child, then age four, into custody on January 26, 2018, after the 12 Bernalillo County Sheriffs Office executed a warrant for Father’s arrest, leaving no caregiver in the home to care for Child.


Parents were served with the petition on February 6, 2018. By that time, Father  had been released from custody and the charges against him dropped; his arrest was apparently the product of mistaken identity.


In the ensuing seventy-seven days, the parties appeared for three hearings: a status conference on February 27, 2018, and two adjudicatory hearings that had been set for April 2, 2018, and April 24, 2018, respectively. The district court declined to 14 commence the adjudication on either April 2 or April 24, however, because although CYFD had mailed ICWA notices to several tribal entities on February 8, 2018, and the tribal entities had received those notices shortly thereafter, CYFD had not filed proof of service to establish receipt in the record.

On April 25, 2018, Parents filed separate motions to dismiss, arguing that 19 CYFD had failed to commence the adjudication within sixty days as required by the Abuse and Neglect Act.


The district court heard the motions to dismiss on the morning of May 24, 6 2018, at which time CYFD orally moved for an extension of time to commence the adjudicatory hearing. The district court denied CYFD’s request, noting that the court and parties had attempted multiple times to commence the adjudication, that CYFD’s failure to comply with ICWA’s notice requirements had precluded the court from timely adjudicating the matter, that the court had reminded CYFD that the time limits were running, and that CYFD had failed to file a motion to extend the time limits when the parties were last in court.  The district court granted the Parents’ motions to dismiss the petition with prejudice.

Hours later, Father filed an emergency motion for contempt of court, stating that arrangements had been made for Child to be reunited with Parents at 11: 15 a.m., but CYFD refused to return Child. The district court conducted an emergency hearing at 3:00 p.m., during which CYFD stated that it intended to file a motion to reconsider or, alternatively, to stay the judgment. The district court admonished CYFD for keeping Child without jurisdiction and ordered reunification before 5:00 p.m. that day, which occurred. CYFD appeals the district court’s dismissal order.

The Court of Appeals upholds the lower courts dismissal and ADDS THIS:

Finally, we briefly address CYFD’s assertion that the district court “was … inexplicably dismissive of [CYFD]’s concerns for Child’s welfare, which is not only an abuse of discretion, but demonstrates a conscious disregard by the [district] court of its statutory duty to ensure that ‘a child’s health and safety shall be the paramount concern.'” Contrary to CYFD’s characterization, however, we note that the district court heard from Father’s attorney that the conditions in the home had been remedied. The guardian ad litem (GAL) reiterated that Parents’ attorneys had suggested that the home was now clean and safe for Child. The GAL stated that Child and Parents share a strong bond and that Child was suffering from anxiety due to his separation from Parents. The GAL believed it was safe to return Child to  Parents. Moreover, the criminal allegations against Father, which had brought Child into CYFD’s custody in the first place, were a product of mistaken identity and had been dismissed months earlier. Based upon this testimony, we disagree with CYFD’s characterization that the district court disregarded Child’s health and safety.

Posted in Author: Kate E. Fort, Child Welfare, ICWA | Tagged , , , , ,

Qualified Expert Witness Case out of Alaska Supreme Court [ICWA]


I have been trying to figure out how to comment on this particular opinion, though I may just default to Alaska’s QEW holdings have always been outliers . . .

So as a reminder for us all, this is how the Minnesota Supreme Court described the purpose of the QEW:

The third clause—“including testimony of qualified expert witnesses”—further identifies what must be included as part of the court’s “beyond a reasonable doubt” determination. Id.; see also Larson v. State, 790 N.W.2d 700, 705 (Minn. 2010) (“[A] limiting phrase . . . ordinarily modifies only the noun or phrase that it immediately follows.”). The clause provides that testimony from a QEW must support the court’s serious-damage determination. But this testimony need not stand alone. The statute provides that the court’s serious-damage determination must be supported by evidence “including testimony of qualified expert witnesses.” 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f) (emphasis added). “Include” means “[t]o contain as a part of something.” Include, Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014) (emphasis added). So long as the QEW testimony supports the district court’s serious-damage determination, section 1912(f) has been satisfied. In other words, the court may pair the required QEW testimony with other supporting evidence to make its serious-damage determination.

The Alaska Supreme Court is now interpreting the regulations to mean

. . . the primary consideration in determining whether an expert is qualified under ICWA is the expert’s ability to speak to the likelihood of harm to the child if returned to the parent’s custody; knowledge of tribal customs and standards is preferred, but such knowledge alone is insufficient. The experts in Oliver’s and Lisa’s cases, despite their extensive knowledge of tribal cultural standards, do not meet this requirement.


As a tribal elder and leader of his community, Encelewski is clearly qualified to testify to tribal cultural standards and childrearing norms. But nothing in the record shows he has sufficient knowledge, either through his experience on the ICWA committee or from formal training, to discuss specifically how Oliver’s conduct or the conditions in his home were likely to result in serious physical or emotional harm to the child if returned to his care. There is no evidence that the source of Encelewski’s conclusion that Oliver’s behavior would likely harm the child is based on anything other than Encelewski’s extensive life experience as a community leader and grandfather. This is insufficient to qualify him to testify about the likelihood of harm if the child is returned to Oliver. To meet the ICWA standards, Encelewski — as the sole expert testifying in support of terminating Oliver’s parental rights — must have been qualified to testify about that causal relationship; nothing in his testimony supports such a qualification.

Among other things, I believe this means that most QEW trainings for Alaska are going to need to fundamentally change to address this holding, especially for tribes using leaders or child welfare committee members as their QEWs.

Posted in Author: Kate E. Fort, Child Welfare, ICWA | Tagged , , , ,

Association on American Indian Affairs Fifth Annual Repatriation Conference

November 12-14, 2019

We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center

at the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation in Fountain Hills, AZ

Register for “Healing the Divide” here.

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