Oklahoma Tribes Sue Interior over Gaming Compact Approvals

Here is the complaint in Cherokee Nation v. Dept. of the Interior (D.D.C.):

1 Complaint

1-1 Comanche Gaming Compact

1-2 Otoe-Missouria Gaming Compact


26 Amended Complaint

Federal Court Holds Oklahoma Gaming Compacts Automatically Extend to 2035

Here are the materials in Cherokee Nation v. Stitt (W.D. Okla.):

125-1 Tribes Motion for Summary Judgment

126 State Motion for Summary Judgment

128 Wichita Tribes Motion for Summary Judgment

140 Tribes Response

141 State Response

142 State Response to Wichita Tribes

145 Wichita Tribes Response

149 DCT Order

Case tag here.

Citizen Potawatomi Nation and Muscogee (Creek) Nation Intervene in Oklahoma Gaming Compact Suit

Here are the updated materials in Cherokee Nation v. Stitt (W.D. Okla.):

21 Citizen Potawatomi Nation Motion to Intervene

21-1 Complaint in Intervention

23 Muscogee (Creek) Nation Motion to Intervene

23-1 Complaint in Intervention

28 DCT Order Granting Motions to Intervene

Prior posts here.

Oklahoma Court of Appeals on Reason to Believe ICWA Case

Here is the opinion.

This case went to trial–a unique aspect of Oklahoma child welfare law–on January 23, 24, and 25, where the Mom testified about her work in getting the children enrolled in the Choctaw Tribe. When Mom appealed the termination of parental rights based on lack of ICWA compliance, the

¶10 State filed an objection and response asserting, inter alia: “At the time of trial, the evidence and record showed the children were not members of an Indian tribe.” It claimed that “the only other way the children could be defined as Indian children implicating the application of ICWA was if the children were ‘eligible for membership [in a tribe] of which the biological parent is a member.’ See BIA Regulations §23.108(a).” State argued that, because Mother testified she is a member of the Cheyenne Arapaho Tribe and the children are not eligible to be members of that tribe, “but that she was trying to enroll the children as Choctaw (of which she could not be a full member given her membership in Cheyenne Arapaho), there was no reason to believe the children met the definition of ‘Indian Child’ at the time of trial given the evidence and testimony in the record.” It argued that the record in the case showed that the children were not tribal members at the time of trial and the record only reflected their membership after Mother filed the motion for new trial.

(emphasis added)


¶28 Although it is clear the trial court and State may not have been affirmatively informed of the children’s membership in the Choctaw Nation until February 3, 2017, this date is not determinative of the date ICWA became applicable. We reiterate that the trial court and State had reason to know at trial that ICWA may very well apply and this warranted further investigation. Despite the Choctaw Nation’s previous communication about the children’s membership status, Mother’s detailed testimony about establishing her own membership and the children’s membership raised red flags that further inquiry at trial was needed despite the Choctaw Nation’s earlier communication.

¶29 We recognize that that does not mean that IWCA applied to the case from the date it was filed in 2011. ICWA became applicable on the date the children became eligible for enrollment3 or the date they enrolled, which was January 20, 2017. At the latest, ICWA applied as of January 20, 2017, a date before trial started. ICWA’s provisions, including the heightened burden and expert witness requirements, were applicable at trial.

The distinction between when a court has reason to know a child might be an Indian child and then when ICWA applies (prospectively, Oklahoma has frustratingly stated in the past, In re M.H.C.2016 OK 88381 P.3d 710) is a question we get a lot.

Friday Job Announcements

Job vacancies are posted on Friday. Some announcements might still appear throughout the week. If you would like your Indian law job posted on Turtle Talk, please email indigenous@law.msu.edu.

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Attorney, Durant, OK. Applicants should send their resumes to: Karen Burkett, Senior Recruiter, at kburkett@choctawnation.com

Tohono O’odham Nation

Chief Prosecutor, Sells, AZ. Applicants must have at least six years of relevant experience, including three years of supervisory experience, and be licensed in Arizona.  To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and three writing samples to Laura Berglan, Acting Attorney General, via email at laura.berglan@tonation-nsn.gov.

Bear River Band of Rohnerville

Court Clerk, Loleta, CA. Apply here.

Oglala Sioux Tribe

In-house Attorneys (2), Pine Ridge, SD. Requirements: degree from an accredited law school; admitted to practice and in good standing by a State Bar Association; hair follicle drug test; criminal background check; experience working with Tribes and knowledge of federal Indian law. Salary: depends on years of legal experience, up to $150,000 per annum. Interested candidates must submit a Letter of Intent and documents to: Lisa Cummings, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Legal Department, PO Box 2070, Pine Ridge, SD 57770 or email to LisaC@oglala.org. Telephone number: 605.867.2138.

University of Washington School of Law

Staff Attorney, Tribal Court Public Defense Clinic, Seattle, WA.

Friday Job Announcements

Job vacancies are posted on Friday. Some announcements might still appear throughout the week. If you would like your Indian law job posted on Turtle Talk, please email indigenous@law.msu.edu.

Wisconsin Judicare Inc.

Staff Attorney, Wasau, WI. Wisconsin Judicare’s Indian Law Office has an opening beginning February 1st for an attorney to represent Native American individuals and groups on a variety of issues including criminal defense representation in tribal courts and Indian law litigation in tribal and state courts.

Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

Tribal Attorney-Assistant Prosecutor. Responsible for prosecuting criminal, juvenile, landlord-tenant, and Indian child welfare cases in state court. The Tribal Attorney – Assistant Prosecutor is also responsible for assisting and providing back-up coverage for the Tribal Attorney – ACFS on Indian Child Welfare matters in the state courts.

Havasupai Tribe

In-house General Counsel. The Havasupai Tribe, located in the Grand Canyon region of Arizona, is seeking a full-time in-house general counsel set up a tribal office in either Phoenix or Flagstaff.  The job requires frequent trips to Supai, Arizona.  All applicants must have at least 3 years experience working for tribal governments in areas other than gaming.  Applicants should submit a letter of interest, a relevant writing sample and resume to:  office@mvicklaw.com

Choctaw Nation

Executive Director of Legal & Compliance. Will report to the Senior Executive Officer of the Legal and Compliance Division. Responsible for the management of the CNO In-House Legal Department in its entirety. This position will coordinate with the Senior Executive Officer and outside counsel on all legal matters, will manage internal case management, and the delegation of assignments to In-House Associate Counsel and personnel.

Eastern Shoshone Tribe

Attorney General. Responsible for providing legal advice and counsel to the Eastern Shoshone Tribal government, its departments and enterprises; and represents the Eastern Shoshone Tribe in all matters at issue before federal, state and tribal courts. The Attorney General serves as the Director for the Office of Attorney General.