Tribes Sue EPA over Clean Water Act Rules

Here is the complaint in Pascua Yaqui Tribe v. EPA (D. Ariz.):

1 Complaint

Here is the complaint in Navajo Nation v. Wheeler (D. N.M.):

1 Complaint

Freep Article on Back 40 Mine

As a side note, the Indian Law Clinic got to work on parts of this issue a few years back, and this article nicely encapsulates how complicated it is, and how dangerous the mine is.


The Michigan-based permitting process for the Back Forty mine has left the Wisconsin side of the river mostly on the sidelines, Cox said.

“When the EPA, the Army Corps, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service all take actions that are federal, they are obligated to consult with the tribe under laws such as the National Historic Preservation Act, the National American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act,” he said.

“(Michigan) gets to contend, ‘Nope, we’re the authority now, so we’re not obligated to do anything with you Indian nations — you independent, sovereign nations. We’ll send you a letter, let you know what we’re doing. But we won’t communicate with you directly.’ “

Cox questioned Michigan’s “strange-sounding process” of leaving so many things unresolved in the approved permit.

“You would think that, rather than try to conditionalize a permit to include all that’s required, you would just say, ‘We’re not going to issue this permit until all of these big things are addressed, like groundwater modeling,'” he said. “I guess in Michigan they don’t see it that way.”

Across the river, in Michigan’s Menominee County, the board of commissioners passed a resolution opposing the Back Forty mine back in 2017.

“It’s right on the river, 150 feet from the Menominee River,” board vice chairman William Cech said. “There’s never really been a successful sulfide mine without leaving a large stain on the landscape that they are digging in

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

Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin

DV Prosecutor. Responsible for prosecution of Domestic Violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking cases on the Menominee Indian Reservation and coordinate and work with the Courts, Law Enforcement, Probation-Parole, Domestic Violence, and Sexual Assault Workers to reduce domestic violence on the Menominee Reservation and encourage arrest procedures and enforcement of protection orders. Apply online.

Swinomish Tribe

Staff Attorney. To apply, submit the following: Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Employment Application (you may request this application via email); Office of Tribal Attorney Application Addendum; over letter including an explanation of the applicant’s interest in the position, along with current resume, the names and contact information for at least 3 professional references, and two writing samples to:

Wendy A. Otto
Swinomish Indian Tribal Community
11404 Moorage Way
La Conner, Washington 98257

Chickasaw Nation

Associate General Counsel, Ada, OK. Provide CNDC leadership with sound and solution-oriented legal representation and policy analysis. Job ID: 49415

Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson, & Perry LLP

2018 Summer Associates. 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 – is currently recruiting incoming 2L students for 2018 summer associate positions. Interested applicants should send the following to Will Stephens, Partner at (please also copy

  • Cover letter;
  • Resume;
  • Transcript; and
  • Writing sample (a writing sample relevant to our practice area is preferred, but not necessary).

Interested applicants should send this information no later than Thursday, August 31, 2017.

Previous Friday Jobs Announcement: 6/9/17

Assistant Tribal Attorney Vacancy with Menominee Indian Tribe

menomineesealThe Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin is a federally recognized tribe located in Keshena, Wisconsin.

The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin Legal Services Department currently seeks an Assistant Tribal Attorney-CS, SS. The ideal candidate will be a dynamic and energetic attorney capable to perform work in child support and child welfare and other projects as assigned. The Assistant Tribal Attorney-CS, SS will work as part of a team to protect and preserve the best interests of Menominee children and families. The position is located in Keshena, Wisconsin. The successful candidate may be eligible for federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.

The position of ASSISTANT TRIBAL ATTORNEY-CS, SS in LEGAL SERVICES with the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin has been posted beginning 9/28/2016 12:00:00 AM with a Close Date of 10/27/2016 11:59:00 PM.

This posting can be viewed at .”

Documents on the Aquila Resources Back 40 Mine Permit from Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin

Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin’s press release on the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s decision to grant a mine permit for the Back 40 Mine, an open-pit gold, zinc, and copper mine next to the Menominee River, which threatens cultural properties and sacred sites. Tribal resolution in opposition to the mine.

Information on the Water Walk on September 21st in Stephenson, Michigan is here. Facebook page for the Remembering Our Ancestors event on September 22 is here. Letter from Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in support is also at that page.

Public hearing on the permit is October 6 at Stephenson High School. Written comments can be submitted to MDEQ until November 3.

Article on the NHPA issues with the mine from the ABA Native American Resources Committee Newsletter is here.

Op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel here.