Colorado Court of Appeals Case re. Membership v. Enrollment [ICWA]

I get this question a lot and have had many discussions about it recently, so I know there are some specific attorneys out there who will be interested in this case:

“As a matter of first impression in Colorado, a division of the court of appeals holds that a child’s membership in a tribe, even absent eligibility for enrollment, is sufficient for a child to be an Indian child under the Indian Child Welfare Act.”

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

Klamath Tribes

Water Attorney(RFQ). The Tribes is accepting “Qualification Statements” from attorneys or law firms that are active members in good standing of the Oregon State Bar (or is willing to obtain admission into the Oregon State Bar at own expense) and have experience in Oregon water law and Indian Water Rights. The primary purpose is to provide legal advice and represent the Klamath Tribes on a number or critical natural resource and water-related issues ongoing in the Klamath Basin. RFQI’s will be accepted up to 4PM on October 10, 2017.

Ho-Chunk Nation

Tribal Prosecutor, Black River Falls, W.I. The position hours are Monday-Friday 8 AM-4:30 PM. Pay depends on qualifications. Interested applicants should submit an application, resume, and transcripts if they are within 2-5 years of graduating law school. Applicants may visit the Ho-Chunk nation website to apply.

Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

Managing Attorney, Office of the Reservation Attorney. Requires JD/LLM from ABA accredited law school, licensure and membership in good standing in any State Bar; must be licensed by the Washington State Bar Association within 2 years of hire. At least 10 years’ experience as an attorney required, with at least 5 years’ experience supervising legal office attorneys/staff. Requires experience/expertise in Indian Law, excellent legal research and writing skills, budgeting and organizational skills. Requires expertise and experience in Indian Law and tribal government operations. Must have at least a substantial working knowledge in applicable federal and state laws, regulations and rules related to tribal governmental operations. Must be familiar with the applicable laws, rules and regulations pertaining to tribal jurisdiction/sovereignty. Salary DOE; provides generous health and retirement benefits. Requires completed application, cover letter, resume listing at least three professional references and writing sample. Contact Human Resources at for application materials and more information. Open until filled. First round applications review Sept. 15, 2017.

Navajo Nation Washington Office

Government and Legislative Affairs Associate. Assists the Nation with protecting its interests by assisting on proposed and pending congressional legislation and policy initiatives. Visit the Navajo Nation website to apply. Open until filled.

DNA-People’s Legal Services

Medical Legal Partnership Attorney, Tuba City, A.Z.  In collaboration with hospitals and health systems, we provide free, comprehensive legal services to low-income children and their families in the medical home setting. Provide trainings, resources, and technical assistance to medical and social service providers on the full range of health care programs and services that benefit patients. Conduct systemic advocacy to improve access to health care and reduce barriers to support programs for low-income children and their families. This position reports to the Managing Attorney. The MLP program is a client referral program from doctors, who have been trained by the MLP
attorney to identify legal issues. Closes October 13, 2017.

Staff Attorney, Hopi Public Defender. Visit the DNA-People’s website to apply. Also closes October 13.

Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP

Associate Attorney, Portland, O.R. Qualifications for candidates include: (1) superior research and writing skills; (2) strong academic performance; (3) strong communication skills; and (4) a commitment to tribal representation. We are looking for candidates who have between 1-4 years of legal experience. Prior experience in the field of Indian law is strongly preferred. Hobbs Straus Dean & Walker, LLP, a national law firm with offices in Washington, DC, Portland, OR, Oklahoma City, OK, Sacramento, CA and Anchorage, AK, specializes in Federal Indian Law and has worked for over 30 years to realize positive change in Indian Country. Our attorneys are dedicated to promoting and defending sovereign rights, expanding opportunities for tribes, and improving the lives of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, law school transcript, and writing sample to Tim Erdman at

Berkey Williams LLP

Indian Law Fellowship, Berkeley, C.A. The one-year Fellowship offers a competitive salary, full benefits, training, and the opportunity to work with experienced attorneys in a firm focused exclusively on serving Indian tribes and tribal organizations. The Fellowship begins in September, 2018, with some flexibility depending upon the candidate’s schedule. Interested law school graduates or 3rd year law school students should send a cover letter, resume and a writing sample to Gloria Coronado, ICWA/Administrative Assistant, at No phone calls please. Deadline to apply is October 6, 2017.

California Indian Legal Services

Staff Attorney, Sacramento office. The Staff Attorney will assume a varied case load that may include: brief counsel and services to low income Indian individuals; state and federal court litigation; contract negotiation; advising tribal clients; developing and implementing constitutions, codes, and policies for tribal clients; making presentations; and ICWA related dependency cases. Submit a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to Patricia De La Cruz-Lynas, Director of Administration, California Indian Legal Services, Re: Sacramento Staff Attorney, 117 J Street, Suite 300, Sacramento, CA 95814. E-mail We will accept applications until the position is filled. All applicants will be notified when a final hiring decision is made.

Last Friday Job Announcements9/1/17

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

Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa

Tribal Court Strategic Planning RFP. The consultant will engage with justice system partners in a data-informed planning process and will develop a written tribal court strategic plan that will guide the development of the Fond du Lac Tribal Court. To submit a proposal, send a proposal by e-mail to or by mail to Miyah Danielson, Executive Director for Tribal Programs, 1720 Big Lake Road, Cloquet, MN 55720. Proposals must be received by 4:30 p.m. central time on Friday, September 1, 2017.

Tribal Court Personal Representative Legal Services RFP. Provide legal representation to personal representatives in tribal court probate proceedings

Oglala Sioux Tribe

Notice is hereby given that the OGLALA SIOUX TRIBE is accepting applications for the positions of:

Administrative Law Judge
Attorney General
Prosecutor (3 positions)
Chief Judge
Ethics Committee (4 positions) & Alternate (2 position)
General Manager – Casino

All positions open until filled. Please call Oglala Sioux Tribe Secretary, Donna Solomon at (605) 867-8468 for further information.

Native American Disability Law Center

Attorney, Farmington or Gallup, N.M. The Law Center provides legal services to Native Americans with disabilities living on or near the Navajo & Hopi reservations.

National Council of Urban Indian Health

Director of Governmental Affairs, Washington D.C. The person in this role should have experience with Capitol Hill, public health, government affairs, grants, and the legislative process as well as a work history with Native American issues and a strong work ethic. This opportunity would be best for someone who has congressional experience and a passion for the betterment of American Indian/Alaska Native healthcare.

Policy Associate, Washington D.C. The person in this role should have experience with Capitol Hill, public health, government affairs, and the federal legislative process as well as a work history with Native American issues and a strong work ethic.

Shoshone-Bannock Tribes

Assistant Prosecutor. This position is for attorneys or advocates with entry to mid-level experience. This position will mainly handle criminal cases, but will involve some juvenile, child support, and child protection matters. Pay is dependent upon experience. Indian and Veteran preference applies. Call or email with any questions. You must turn in an application and all supporting documents by 5:00 p.m. on 25 August 2017 to be eligible for this position. Incomplete applications may be screened out. Telephone calls are not accepted in place of an employment application.

Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

Senior Staff Attorney, Office of the Reservation Attorney. Must have at least five (5) years but preferably ten (10) years of successful experience as a licensed attorney and provide evidence of expertise in issues related to Tribal Government and Policy, Water and/or Natural Resources Law, and/or Tribal Economic Development, and/or Employment Law. Open Until Filled with First Review August 18, 2017.

University of South Dakota School of Law

Tenure-Track Position in Trial Advocacy. Will teach two three-credit sections of the Trial Techniques class most semesters, and in addition, will be responsible for coaching the trial team program. The trial team has a high rate of student participation.

Kalispel Tribe of Indians

Paralegal, Airway Heights, W.A. Assists the assigned attorney with legal issues and concerns involving Tribal Legal Office activities.

Other positions posted recently:

University of Montana Alexander Blewett III School of Law – Natural Resources/Environmental law professor (8/16/17)

Prairie Island Indian Community – RFPs for Appellate Judge, Election Legal Services, and Associate Judge (8/14/17)

Nez Perce Tribe – Public Defender, Chief Judge

Last Friday Jobs Announcement: 8/4/17

The Ancient One is a Colville Ancestor

Here is “The ancestry and affiliations of Kennewick Man” as published in Nature.

From the abstract:

Kennewick Man, referred to as the Ancient One by Native Americans, is a male human skeleton discovered in Washington state (USA) in 1996 and initially radiocarbon-dated to 8,340–9,200 calibrated years before present (bp)1. His population affinities have been the subject of scientific debate and legal controversy. Based on an initial study of cranial morphology it was asserted that Kennewick Man was neither Native American nor closely related to the claimant Plateau tribes of the Pacific Northwest, who claimed ancestral relationship and requested repatriation under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). The morphological analysis was important to judicial decisions that Kennewick Man was not Native American and that therefore NAGPRA did not apply. Instead of repatriation, additional studies of the remains were permitted2. Subsequent craniometric analysis affirmed Kennewick Man to be more closely related to circumpacific groups such as the Ainu and Polynesians than he is to modern Native Americans2. In order to resolve Kennewick Man’s ancestry and affiliations, we have sequenced his genome to ~1× coverage and compared it to worldwide genomic data including the Ainu and Polynesians. We find that Kennewick Man is closer to modern Native Americans than to any other population worldwide. Among the Native American groups for whom genome-wide data are available for comparison, several seem to be descended from a population closely related to that of Kennewick Man, including the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (Colville), one of the five tribes claiming Kennewick Man. We revisit the cranial analyses and find that, as opposed to genomic-wide comparisons, it is not possible on that basis to affiliate Kennewick Man to specific contemporary groups. We therefore conclude based on genetic comparisons that Kennewick Man shows continuity with Native North Americans over at least the last eight millennia.

Profile on Criminal Justice at Colville

From the Wenatchee News:

NESPELEM — Charlene Bearcub looks out her office window in Nespelem and does not see justice.

A probation officer for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Bearcub lost her son to a gun nearly five years ago.

A few blocks away, she can see the small, gray house where her oldest son, Ronald D. Thomas Jr., was shot and killed Jan. 12, 2005.

Next to her office sit two pale yellow prefabricated buildings which house Colville Tribal Court, where a tribal jury acquitted the teenager arrested and charged with her son’s homicide.

They were both 18, and best friends.

Even if he had been convicted, the boy would have spent only a year in jail for the crime, at most, because he was tried in tribal court. Under terms of the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, no tribe may impose punishment greater than one year imprisonment. Serious crimes — like rape and murder — are supposed to fall to federal agents to investigate, and the U.S. Attorney for prosecution. But when the U.S. Attorney declines to prosecute, the only other option is tribal court.

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