Does Brackeen v. Haaland Apply:

This document is primarily for non-lawyers, so while you can @ me about details, there is a reason this document doesn’t get into the nitty gritty question of federal court jurisdiction in state court trials (please note the work the word “may” is doing). We hope this will be helpful for tribal social workers, their state counterparts, reporters, and maybe some lawyers who are trying to understand the implications of a 325 page decision.

Oregon Court Affirms Klamath Tribes’ Water Rights

On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, in an order from Klamath County Circuit Court Judge Cameron F. Wogan, the Oregon court again affirmed the Klamath Tribes’ water and treaty rights. Wednesday’s order rejected attacks on the Tribes’ water rights determined by the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) during the administrative phase of the Klamath Basin Adjudication (KBA), affirmed the senior priority date of the Klamath Tribes’ water rights in the Klamath Basin, and upheld the need to maintain a healthy and productive habitat to meet the Tribes’ treaty right to fish, hunt, trap, and gather.

Klamath Tribes Chairman Don Gentry responded to the order, “We are pleased that Judge Wogan upheld the rulings from the administrative phase of the KBA. He reaffirmed that the 1864 treaty entered into between the Klamath Tribes and the United States reserved to the Tribes sufficient water to keep our fisheries and other aquatic resources healthy so that we can protect our natural resources and cultural traditions.”

NARF Staff Attorney Sue Noe explained, “Judge Wogan correctly affirmed quantification of the Tribal water rights based on the habitat needs of the fish, wildlife, and plants. Although he ruled that opponents of the Tribal rights will have another chance to try to reduce the amounts by showing the Tribes don’t need all the water awarded by OWRD to meet their livelihood needs, Judge Wogan made clear in no uncertain terms that the amounts cannot be below what is necessary to provide healthy and productive habitat.”

Importantly, like all other courts that have considered the issue, Judge Wogan ruled that the Klamath Tribes’ water rights extend to Upper Klamath Lake. Upper Klamath Lake forms part of the border of the former Reservation and provides critical habitat for the endangered c’waam and koptu (Lost River and shortnose sucker fish), which are sacred fish species traditionally harvested by the Tribes.

Represented by NARF, the Klamath Tribes successfully achieved recognition of their treaty-reserved water rights in federal court litigation in the 1970s and 1980s in United States v. Adair, but the federal courts left quantification of the water rights to the state adjudication in the KBA. After the successful conclusion of the KBA’s 38-year administrative phase, the Tribes were able to begin enforcing their water rights for the first time in 2013. The administrative determinations are presently on review in the Klamath County Circuit Court and Judge Wogan’s ruling is the latest to come out of that process.

Bay Mills Indian Community Continues Fight Against Line 5-Petition to Intervene in MI Public Service Commission Proceedings


2020-05-11 U-20763 Petition to Intevene by Bay Mills (Cover ltr+POS)

2020-05-13 U-20763 Comments of Bay Mills Indian Community + Attachments A-F (cover ltr +POS)

Most Claims against Federal Approvals of Keystone XL Allowed to Proceed

Here is the order in Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. Trump (D. Mont.):

92 DCT Order

Briefs here.

Briefs in Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Fort Belknap Indian Community v. Trump (Keystone XL)

Here are the briefs on the United States’ and TransCanada’s Motions to Dismiss Rosebud and Fort Belknap’s treaty and jurisdiction claims regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline.

News coverage here, and more information here.  Previous posts on this case are here.

Job Announcements

Good afternoon! This is a special edition of Thursday Job Announcements. If you have recently sent a job announcement to Turtle Talk but do not see it here, it is possible that the information wasn’t sent to us in the requested format. For more information please see our recent post.

If the information has been sent in the past week, it will appear in tomorrow’s regularly scheduled Friday Job Announcement post. Thank you again for both your patience and your dedication to Indian Country legal opportunities!

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. See below for examples.

  2. An attached PDF job announcement.

Please send all job announcements in this requested format.


Havasupai Tribe

Tribal Prosecutor, Supai, AZ. Represent the Tribe in adult criminal matters and juvenile proceedings involving allegations of child dependency, incorrigibility, and juvenile offenses. Application closes August 11, 2019. Interested applicants should provide a letter of interest and a current resume to Kristin McPhie at Please see the job description for more information.

Public Defender, Supai, AZ. Perform professional legal work involved in representing defendants in the Havasupai Tribal Court. Application closes August 11, 2019. Interested applicants should provide a letter of interest and a current resume to Kristin McPhie at Please see the job description for more information.

Association of Village Council Presidents

Associate General Counsel, Bethel, AK. The AGC’s focus areas include contracts, human resources, risk management, and compliance. This position is available starting September 2, 2019 and will remain open until filled. Please see job description for more information.

Oneida Judiciary

Wellness Court Coordinator, Oneida, WI. Develop & facilitate opportunities for participants to succeed in their journey to sobriety and wellness. Link all key players needed for the Wellness Court team. Coordinate the delivery of a variety of services for identified participants. Position responsibilities include all aspects of case management for Wellness Court participants. Offer support for positive outcomes. Continuation of this position is contingent upon funding allocations. Please see the job description for more information.

California Indian Legal Services

Staff Attorney, Escondido, CA. Supervised by the Directing Attorney, work collaboratively with other staff to provide exceptional legal services in all areas of Federal Indian law. Our fast-paced office provides legal services on issues of jurisdiction, tax, estate planning, trust assets, environmental law, natural resource development, tribal governance, employment and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).  Please visit California Indian Legal Services’ website here.

Prairie Island Indian Community

Guardian Ad Litem, Prairie Island Indian Community, MN. Seeking individuals who can provide guardian ad litem services for Tribal Court proceedings. There is no closing date for this application. Please see the job description for more information.

Native American Disability Law Center

Advocate, location TBD. Assist Native Americans with disabilities who need to access services & fully integrate into the community. This position is full-time and the application is open until filled. Please see the job description for more information.

Development Director, Location TBD. Identify potential funding sources, increase & diversify donors, maintain current funding sources. This position is part-time or contract and the application is open until filled. Please see the job description for more information.

The Department of the Interior’s Office of the Solicitor

Spring 2020 Internship Program, Washington, D.C.  The Division of Indian Affairs provides legal counsel and representation to the Secretary of the Interior acting as federal trustee to American Indian tribes and their members. The division also provides legal advice to the Bureau of Indian Affairs concern­ing the administra­tion of Indian service programs. Please see the internship description for more information and how to apply, and see the website for closing dates.

The ACLU of South Dakota

Indigenous Justice Organizer, Rapid City, SD. Work to implement a community outreach strategy to build scalable public education and advocacy programs, while incorporating organizing, coalition-building, leadership development, communication, and lobbying tactics. Please send cover letter and resume by email to Reference [ASD-91] in subject line; more information can be found here.

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate

Tribal Attorney, Agency Village, SD. Application and job description information can be seen at SWO Human Resources Office or here.  Application can be downloaded from “Apply Now” and emailed to ArnoldW@SWO-NSN.GOV or DeniseH@SWO-NSN.GOV.  Contact can also be at Arnold Williams 698-8238 or Denise Hill 698-8251 with questions. This position is opened until filled.

Native American Rights Fund

Staff Attorney, Boulder, CO. Must have excellent research, writing, and advocacy skills to assume a litigation docket. This position is open until filled. Please see the job description for more information.

Quinault Indian Nation

Senior Assistant Attorney General Children and Elder Services, Taholah, W.A. This in-house counsel position provides the Quinault Nation’s children’s and elders’ programs with an array of legal services. In addition, the incumbent works closely with the Quinault Family Services Department (QFS), the Quinault Child Support Services Program (CSSP), the Quinault Tribal Police Department (QPD) and other tribal departments to protect and enhance the welfare and safety of the tribal community. Please see the job announcement for more information. The position is open until filled.


Litigation Assistant, Chicago, IL. This position provides paralegal and administrative support for the litigation and advocacy activities of the Midwest Regional office, and provides support for  the administrative and operations needs in the office. Depending on qualifications and experience, we intend to hire either a Litigation Assistant I or II. We are reviewing applications on a rolling basis. Please find a job description with more information attached, and apply here.

Law Clerkship, Summer 2020. Work with attorneys on case development and litigation. Under the supervision of an attorney, perform legal and factual research, and develop case strategy and legal theories. Prepare briefs and motions, meet with clients and experts, participate in moots of oral arguments, and attend court proceedings and conferences with opposing counsel. This application is open until filled. Please see the job description of website for more information.

Position location(s)

  • Alaska – Anchorage and Juneau
  • California – San Francisco and Los Angeles
  • Coal Program – Chicago and Philadelphia
  • Midwest – Chicago
  • Florida – Tallahassee and Miami
  • International – San Francisco
  • Mid-Pacific – Honolulu
  • Northeast – New York
  • Northern Rockies – Bozeman
  • Northwest – Seattle
  • Oceans Program – Seattle and San Francisco
  • Rocky Mountain – Denver
  • Washington, D.C.

Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians Tribal Court

Tribal Court Director, Shingle Springs, CA. Responsible for ensuring that all court operations, programs and services are operating effectively and efficiently; managing court security, overseeing records management, and improving public access and information; supervision of staff and consultants relating to operational functions, wellness court programs and legal assistance programs; and more. This position is open until filled. For more information and to apply, please see the job description.

The California Native American Heritage Commission

Enforcement Attorney, West Sacramento, CA. Investigate and enforce all Native American cultural resources protection and access laws under the Commission’s authority. The application deadline has been extended. For more information please see the job description.

Mille Lacs Band Legal Aid

(2) Staff Attorney, Onamia, MN.  Practice in both Tribal and State District Courts, providing legal representation to Mille Lacs Band members (adult and juvenile) in criminal and civil matters. Specific areas of law include: Family law, public benefits, housing, education, ICWA/ Child Protection law, probate and wills, and criminal matters. MN Law License required for this position or able to obtain MN Law License within six months. This position is open until filled. Please see the job description for more information.

Tlingit & Haida

Child Welfare Attorney, Juneau, AK. The attorney will provide civil legal representation to Tlingit & Haida on child welfare cases and issues. The incumbent’s primary responsibility is to advise the Tribal Family & Youth Services (TFYS) department staff regarding the application of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and other State and Federal legislation that impact Tribal families. The deadline to apply is 4:00 pm, August 9, 2019. For more information see the job description or visit the website.

McKinley County (NM) District Attorney’s Office

Senior Trial Attorney (DUI Taskforce), Gallup, NM. This is a grant-funded position focusing on DUI criminal prosecution. Submit a letter of interest, resume, and references to by 5:00 p.m. August 30, 2019.

Assistant Trial Attorney, Gallup, NM. Main duties entail criminal prosecution. Submit a letter of interest, resume, and references to by 5:00 p.m. August 30, 2019.

Senior Trial Attorney, Gallup, NM. Main duties entail criminal prosecution. Submit a letter of interest, resume, and references to by 5:00 p.m. August 30, 2019.


See posts from Friday, July 26, 2019.

If you have recently sent a job announcement to Turtle Talk but do not see it here, it is possible that the information wasn’t sent to us in the requested format- for more information please see our recent post.

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.

VERY LAST CHANCE to Sign on To Tribal Amicus Brief in Fifth Circuit ICWA Case

From NARF:

Dear tribal leaders and tribal counsel,

Today the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a motion that extends the filing deadline for amicus briefs in Brackeen v. Zinke by two days.  This is one last call for Tribes who are interested in signing on to the tribal amicus brief in this case.

As you know, Brackeen v. Zinke is a challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in which a federal district court judge in Texas recently found ICWA to be unconstitutional.  The case is currently on appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) and our co-counsel at Dentons have draft a tribal amicus brief to complement the arguments being made by the Tribal Defendants and our allies, including law professors, child welfare organizations, and several states.  All federally recognized Tribes are invited to sign on to the brief in a show of unity.  Of course, there is no cost to join this brief—any federally recognized Tribe may do so free of charge.

If your Tribe would like to sign its name to the brief, please let NARF know by tomorrow, Tuesday, January 15 at 11:00pm Alaska Time (7pm ET/8pmCT/9pmMT/10pmPT).  Already more than 280 Tribes and more than 50 Indian organizations have signed on to the brief.

If your Tribe would like to sign on, we will need an email that provides the following:

  1. A statement from an individual (chairperson, executive director, general counsel, etc.) or body (tribal council, etc.) authorized to do so, asking to be added as a signatory on the brief.  A statement via email is fine; and
  2. The full name and correct spelling of the Tribe as it should appear on the brief.

The above information should be emailed to Erin Dougherty Lynch at and cc’d to Dan Lewerenz

Finally, if you would like a draft of the brief, please email Erin and Dan at and

Thank you again for your commitment to defending ICWA.

Erin Dougherty Lynch
Senior Staff Attorney
Native American Rights Fund