Friday Job Announcements

Job vacancies are posted on Friday. Additional announcements may appear throughout the week. If you would like your Indian law or leadership job posted on Turtle Talk, please email

Department of Interior

Attorney-Adviser, Office of the Solicitor, Phoenix. A.Z. The Office of the Solicitor is seeking an Attorney-Adviser to provide legal counsel and representation for the Western Region of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, analyze complex legal issues and provide advice on a broad range of legal issues affecting bureaus within the department, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, handle all phases of administrative litigation, draft litigation reports and provide other legal support, and handle general law matters. This position pays $74,872 to $136,771 per year, and applications close on May 4, 2018.

Sonosky, Chambers

Summer Associate, Washington D.C. Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson, & Perry LLP is a national law firm dedicated to representing Native American interests in a wide range of endeavors including trial and appellate litigation, federal Indian law, tribal law, Indian self-determination and self-governance matters, transportation and infrastructure, natural resources, and economic development, among others. The firm’s practice includes representation of tribal interests in federal, tribal and state courts, and before Congress, state legislatures, and federal and state agencies. Sonosky, Chambers is recruiting 2L students for 2019 summer associate positions. Interested applicants should see the job announcement linked above for more information. Applications close on August 31, 2018.

Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians

Associate General Counsel, Temecula, C.A. The Associate General Counsel will work in the Office of the General Counsel under the direct supervision of the General Counsel for the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians.  The Associate General Counsel will work with the General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel to provide legal services, representation and advice on legal issues confronting the Tribal Government, its entities and enterprises; provide guidance and assistance to Tribal Government departments; and provide limited service to tribal members in matters relating to tribal status. Please see the job announcement for more information and how to apply.

Water Protector Legal Collective

Strategic Planning, Mandan, N.D. The Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) is seeking proposals from professional qualified consultants to provide services to WPLC for the development of a three to five year strategic plan. All proposals should clearly define how they will work with WPLC to assist in a comprehensive, participatory planning process. Applications close on May 4, 2018. Please see the job announcement for more information and how to apply.

National Congress of American Indians

Project Attorney, Washington, D.C. The National Congress of American Indians has an opening for a Project Attorney in the Washington, DC office. The Project Attorney will have responsibility for day to day management of NCAI’s VAWA implementation technical assistance project. This project is focused on supporting tribes as they implement Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction pursuant to the Violence Against Women Act of 2013. The Project Attorney will work closely with senior NCAI staff assigned to the project, with an inter-tribal working group of tribal stakeholders, and with other project partners. Applications close on May 31, 2018. Please see the website for more information and how to apply.

Swinomish Indian Tribal Community

Staff Attorney, Swinomish Village, W.A. The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community is seeking a Staff Attorney to provide legal advice and representation, document drafting and collaboration with a wide range of Swinomish Indian Tribal Community policy committees, departments and entities. Work may include contract preparation, drafting ordinances and policies, treaty hunting/fishing rights and management, environmental protection and habitat restoration, land management, Indian gaming and gaming regulation, housing and utilities, health care and/or social welfare programs, employment or taxation. Qualified applicants must be licensed, or have the ability to become licensed within six months, to practice in Washington. We are seeking an energetic attorney, preferably with at least three years of experience, with excellent written, oral, research and analytical skills, strong interpersonal communication and negotiation skills, and an ability to work hard and thrive in an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural environment; bring flexibility to a fast-paced and dynamic work setting; enjoy and excel at creative problem solving; have demonstrated a commitment to working with Native or other minority communities and/or restorative justice; and a commitment to reside on or near the Swinomish Reservation.

Qualified applicants must have experience or demonstrated expertise in one or more of the following: drafting and negotiating contracts; drafting statutes, policies and procedures; litigation, preferably in Federal Court; representing public or private entities; gaming regulation or operations; and Indian law, including protection of treaty rights, as well as expertise in several of the substantive fields of law listed above. Compensation DOE. For application and complete job description please provide your contact information to Wendy Otto, 11404 Moorage Way, LaConner, WA 98257; (fax) 360-466-5309; email Applications will be accepted until suitable candidate is found. Native American hiring preferences under Swinomish Tribal Code 14-01.120 will be in effect during the selection of candidates. Applicants must pass a background check and a drug test.

Department of Justice

Assistant United States Attorney, Anchorage, A.K. The Anchorage Office is seeking two (2) AUSAs to work in its Criminal Division. The successful candidate primarily will be responsible for handling the investigation and prosecution of federal crimes. This will include prosecuting a wide range of cases such as firearms offenses, drug crimes, child exploitation and other violent crimes, fraud, embezzlement and other white collar crimes. In addition, the candidate may also be called upon to assist in the prosecution of a wide variety of other criminal cases as needed to address the districts priorities. Assistant United States Attorneys work their cases from inception through appeal, and thus, in addition to district court work, the successful candidate will be responsible for drafting appellate briefs and presenting oral arguments. This position pays $72,987 to $164,100 per year, and applications close on May 9, 2018. Please see the website for more information.

Last Week’s Post: April 20, 2018.

Friday Job Announcements

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

Regional Native Public Defense Corporation

Public Defender, White Earth Reservation, M.N. Candidates with criminal defense experience and knowledge of Indian law are preferred, but all are welcome to apply. Candidates must be currently licensed to practice law in the State of Minnesota. RNPDC seeks justice and fair treatment for Native Americans facing criminal charges in and around the White Earth and Leech Lake reservations in Northern Minnesota. We act to respond to historical mistreatment and the racial disparities prevalent for Native people in the criminal justice system today. Salary depends on qualifications. Health & dental insurance, annual Minnesota attorney registration fee and malpractice insurance are provided by the firm at no cost to the employee. To apply, email or mail a cover letter, references and resume to:

James Hughes
Executive Director
Regional Native Public Defense Corp.
P.O. Box 487
Cass Lake, MN 56633

Fort Belknap Indian Community

Associate Judge, Child Welfare, Harlem, M.T. Serves as hearing judge for the Fort Belknap Indian Community tribal court, in accordance with the Fort Belknap Indian Community Tribal Law and Order Code and under the general supervision of the Chief Judge. Submit complete application and resume.

Intertribal Court of Southern California

Tribal Court Administrator, Valley Center, C.A. Responsible for the management of the non-judicial administration and day-to-day operations of the Intertribal Court. Interested applicants should submit cover letter and resume to Human Resources via email to Position is open until filled.

Little River Band of Ottawa Indians

2018 Summer Legal Intern, Manistee, M.I. Assists the Unified Legal Department in its role as in-house legal counsel to the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. The Unified Legal Department provides legal services and representation to the Tribal Government and its Enterprises, including Elected Officials, Departments, Commissions, and the Little River Casino Resort. The position is paid at a rate of $15.00-$17.50 per hour, depending on experience. The position is temporary part-time and will last eight to twelve weeks. Applications must be received by March 30, 2018, 5:00 p.m. EST.

Wind River Inter-Tribal Council

Tribal Court Positions, Fort Washakie, W.Y.  The Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes for the Wind River Reservation located in Wyoming are re-establishing the Wind River Tribal Court.

Uniting Three Fires Against Violence 

Training Coordinator, Sault Ste. Marie, M.I. Determines, develops, coordinates, and administers culturally sensitive anti-violence education services for Native American individuals and groups within the State of Michigan.  Responsible for implementing specific Uniting Three Fires Against Violence (UTFAV) funded grant activities and projects, as defined by the specific goals and objectives.

Department of the Interior

Regional Solicitor, Northeast Region, Bloomington, M.N. Represents and acts for the Solicitor as the chief legal officer for the Department of the Interior for legal matters covered in the Northeast Region. Closes 12/18/2017.

Previous Friday Job Announcements: 11/10/2017

Dear Tribal Leader Letter Announcing Consultation Dates Regarding Infrastructure (Pipeline) Decisions

Here. Additional information here along with dates and locations of the listening sessions.

Recent events have highlighted the need for a broader review and consultation as to how, prospectively, Federal decisionmaking on infrastructure projects can better allow for timely and meaningful tribal input. On behalf of the Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, Department of the Army, and other Federal agencies, we invite you to consultations on how the Federal Government can better account for, and integrate tribal views, on future infrastructure decisions throughout the country. Consistent with our nation-to-nation relationship, our consultations are with tribal leaders and your designated staff. In particular, we have identified the following questions we seek your input on:

(1) How can Federal agencies better ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions, to protect tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights within the existing statutory framework?

(2) Should the Federal agencies propose new legislation altering the statutory framework to promote these goals?

We will provide a framing paper with additional detail on these questions, including a description of the statutory framework currently in place. While these questions are of particular interest to the Federal agencies, we welcome any input relevant to the broader topic.

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

Department of the Interior

Attorney-Advisor, Office of the Solicitor, Division of General Law, Employment and Labor Law Unit, Washington D.C. (Closes 9/26/16)

Department of Justice

Law Student Volunteers, The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Michigan is currently recruiting 4 Student Volunteers for Winter/Spring 2017. This is a volunteer (unpaid) position and is intended to last for one semester in Detroit. Closes Monday, October 3, 2016.

Gila River Indian Community

Protective Services Attorney, Office of General Counsel. Closes 9/30/16

Supervising Protective Services Attorney, Office of General Counsel. Closes 9/30/16

California Indian Legal Services

Senior Staff Attorney, Eureka office.

Lawsuit Challenges BIA Right of Way Regulations

Greenberg Traurig has filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior on behalf of the Western Energy Alliance, challenging the Department’s proposed Right of Way Regulations.  The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for North Dakota, and is captioned as Western Energy Alliance v. United States Department of the Interior.

The complaint is here: Western Energy Alliance v. DOI Complaint

Western Energy Alliance’s brief in support of motion for a TRO and Preliminary Injunction is here:  Western Energy Alliance Brief in Support of TRO.

Department of the Interior’s Response Brief is here: Defendants’ Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction

The Western Energy Alliance alleges:

  1. The proposed rule violates Strate v. A-1 Contractors, because it attempts to allow Indian tribes to exercise jurisdiction over non-Indians within rights-of-way
  2. The proposed rule improperly allows Indian tribes to unilaterally terminate rights-of-way
  3. The proposed rule violates traditional rules regarding tribal jurisdiction
  4. The proposed rule authorizes Indian tribes to tax activities within rights-of-way in violation of the scope of tribal jurisdiction
  5. The Department has failed to explain the basis for its departure from longstanding federal policy regarding rights of way.
  6. The Department failed to comply with NEPA

Interestingly, the Western Energy Alliance also asserts that the Department of the Interior has no authority to impose sanctions or otherwise take enforcement action against trespassers within rights-of-way:

Congress has not otherwise granted BIA the ability to deal with trespass on Indian lands that would serve as the basis for the Rule’s sweeping assumption of trespass authority. As such, BIA is without authority to enforce alleged trespass actions within Indian land rights-of-way, or over Indian lands generally.


The District Court is holding a hearing on Western Energy Alliance’s motion this morning in Bismarck, ND. Commentary to follow.

Interior Board of Indian Appeals Decides Newtok Village Leadership Dispute

IBIA order affirming the decision of the Acting Alaska Regional Director here.  The Board held that the Acting Alaska Regional Director’s decision was not arbitrary or capricious.

Newtok Village Council suit in federal court to prevent further interference from Newtok Traditional Council previously reported here.  No new updates on that case.

The Newtok Village in Alaska needs to be relocated nine miles inland to avoid erosion, but a leadership controversy was preventing the release of $6.5 million from the federal government.  The Tribe elected a new council in October 2012 and reaffirmed the election in a membership meeting June 2013, but the old council was still requesting funds and contracts with the BIA.  The old council appealed the Regional Director’s decision to the DOI in August 2013.  The new IBIA order will now allow the Tribe to move forward with the planning stages of the relocation, but many financial issues that arose under the old council’s mismanagement still need to be settled and at least one old council member has said that he will appeal: “It’s not even close to over yet.  We are going to the highest court, even to the top of the White House.”

Press Release: Interior Announces $1.2 Million to Be Awarded to Tribes to Take Control, Operate Their Bureau of Indian Education-Funded Schools

As part of the Obama Administration’s historic commitment to ensure that all students attending Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)-funded schools receive a world- class education, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today announced that six federally recognized tribes have been awarded $1.2 million in Sovereignty in Indian Education (SIE) enhancement funds to promote tribal control and operation of BIE-funded schools on their reservations. The funds implement a recommendation contained in the Blueprint for Reform of the Bureau of Indian Education issued on June 13, 2014, by the American Indian Education Study Group convened by Secretary Jewell and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

“Increasing tribal control over BIE-funded schools not only promotes tribal self-determination, but also provides greater tribal discretion in determining what American Indian children should learn, increasing accountability throughout the school system,” Secretary Jewell said. “With school management authority, these communities will have more power to create lessons with tribal cultural values and Native languages, both of which can ensure their children stay connected to their heritage and help them to succeed in the future. These enhancement funds can make the difference in an effective, relevant and rigorous education for American Indian children.”

The following tribes will receive enhancement funding:

  • Gila River Indian Community, Sacaton, Arizona
  • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Fort Yates, North Dakota
  • Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Belcourt, North Dakota
  • Tohono O’Odham Nation, Sells, Arizona
  • Navajo Nation, Window Rock, Arizona
  • Oglala Sioux Tribe, Pine Ridge, South Dakota


Full press release here.