NCAI Amicus Brief in Merrill v. Milligan

On January 24, 2022, a unanimous three-judge court in the Milligan case blocked Alabama’s newly drawn congressional map. The Court ordered the state Legislature to draft a new congressional map that complies with the Voting Rights Act by including two districts where Black voters have the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. The Supreme Court is now hearing the case.

Here is NCAI’s amicus brief in the matter.

#MeToo in Indian Country: A Short and Incomplete Collection of News Stories

Articles selected based on google search at 9AM this morning — “metoo american Indians”

Indianz: National Congress of American Indians under #MeToo fire

ICT: NCAI Attorney John Dossett under fire after #MeToo allegations

Indianz: Prominent Indian Country attorney reassigned after #MeToo allegations

NPQ: Will #MeToo Movement Lead to Protections for American Indian Women?

Vice Impact: Native American Women Have Been Saying a Lot More Than #MeToo for Years

Jezebel: Native American Lit Community Warns of Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Sherman Alexie 

NPR: ‘It Just Felt Very Wrong’: Sherman Alexie’s Accusers Go On The Record

Medium: Sherman Alexie and the Sexual Assault Legacy of Federal Native American Boarding Schools

NBC: Native American women speak out about sexual assault and violence

New Mexico News Port: Native Women Leaders Express #Me-Too Concerns

HCN: Where #Metoo meets #MMIW

Bustle: These Women Running For Congress Won’t Let Native Americans Be Left Out Of #MeToo


The Nation: Confronting the ‘Native Harvey Weinsteins

OPB: Native American Women On Sherman Alexie: ‘The Silence Was Destructive’

TIME: The Silence Breakers

Yes!: Why Reading Sherman Alexie Was Never Enough

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

The Tulalip Tribes of Washington

Paralegal, W.A. Provides support to attorneys. Under the direction of an attorney, the paralegal will resolve routine legal issues, complete substantive legal work that requires knowledge of legal concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field. Researches and analyzes law sources as requested and performs clerical duties as needed.

Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska

Court Investigator (RFP), Juneau, A.K. The Tlingit & Haida Tribal Court is soliciting contractual-service proposals for a Court Investigator(s) for cases involving children in the Tribal Court. The Tribal Court will contract with up to three (3) Court Investigators for a one (1) year contact with three (3) one-year Options for a maximum of four years.

Stockbridge-Munsee Community

Appellate Judicial Services (RFP), Bowler, W.I. The Stockbridge-Munsee Community, a federally-recognized Indian tribe, is seeking proposals from qualified firms or individuals to provide judicial services to the Stockbridge-Munsee Court of Appeals for three (3) open judicial positions on the Court of Appeals.  The successful bidder will be expected to participate on a panel of three (3) appellate court judges and preside over appeals of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Tribal Court. Proposals are due no later than April 10, 2018 by 4:00pmCST.

Department of Justice

Assistant United States Attorney, Albuquerque, N.M. The Albuquerque Office has three vacancies in its Criminal Division. The mission of the office is to represent the Criminal and Civil interests of the United States. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico will enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States, provide Federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime, seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior, and to administer and enforce the Nation’s laws to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans. Applications close on April 9, 2018.

Comanche Nation

Tribal Attorney (RFP), Lawton, O.K. The Comanche Nation is requesting proposals from qualified attorneys or law firms experienced in American Indian Law to provide competent, effective, and timely legal representation. Candidates must be licensed with the Oklahoma Bar Association. Please submit a resume and a proposal demonstrating the capacity and capability of the attorney or law firm to perform the work involved. Proposals must be submitted by April 16, 2018 by 5pm.

National Congress of American Indians

Staff AttorneyWashington D.C. NCAI has an opening for a Staff Attorney in the Washington, D.C. office. Subject areas may include (but are not limited to): tribal sovereignty, the federal trust responsibility, tribal lands, environment and natural resources, public safety, tribal justice systems, juvenile justice, federal agency consultation, taxation, economic development, and other issues of importance to Indian tribal governments. Applicants must have a JD degree and active bar membership, with eligibility for D.C. bar admission. This is a salaried position offering competitive compensation and benefits, with salary based on experience. Applicants should send their resume, a brief writing sample, three references, and a cover letter to Derrick Beetso at Deadline to apply is April 13, 2018.

Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation

Opioid Litigation Attorney (RFP), Toppenish, W.A. The Yakama Nation is requesting proposals for an attorney or firm who can represent the Nation in opioid-related litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors. Proposals are due April 6, 2018.

Public Defender, Toppenish, W.A. Due to an increased staffing, our office is seeking both a full-time and part-time attorney.  Our attorneys are tasked with representing individuals in many jurisdictions, including state, municipal, and tribal courts.  Both challenging and rewarding, our office works as a team in providing defense in criminal and civil matters.  The positions pay $33.37 per hour with excellent benefits.  Please contact Bevra Jacobson for any questions.

San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe

Tribal Court Judge (RFQ), Tuba City, A.Z. The San Juan Southern Paiute Tribal Court is accepting requests for qualifications for tribal judge. The Judge for the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribal Court is responsible for the fair and impartial administration of justice for all cases and controversies within the jurisdiction of the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe. The Tribal Judge shall administer all cases and controversies arising in law or equity under the Constitution of the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, and may assign cases and other matters to lower courts of special jurisdiction, such as traditional dispute resolution, as the Tribal Council establishes in accordance with the Constitution. Responsibilities will also include establishing and overseeing the administrative operations of the Tribal Court and providing assistance and recommendations to the Tribe to seek out and secure funding to support Tribal Court operations. Additional duties and responsibilities may include the development of Tribal Court rules of procedure, Tribal ordinances and Tribal codes for approval by the Tribal Council.

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Tribal Code Review and Revision (RFP), Cass Lake, M.N. The Leech Lake Tribal Court (LLTC) is engaged in a comprehensive review and update of the Tribes’ Code and Court Rules. The LLTC seeks to contract with a firm or attorney to assist in reviewing and editing the existing Child Welfare and Family Relations portions of the Leech Lake Code and the Leech Lake Rules of Court.  The Court is also seeking recommendations for revision and development of additional codes for the benefit of the Band.  Much of the drafting work can be completed remotely. However, the successful candidate will need to be available to travel to the Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota as needed to meet with the judges, attorneys and other stakeholders throughout the drafting process. Proposals are due no later than April 20, 2018.

Grand Traverse Bay of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians Tribe

Appellate Judge, Peshawbestown, M.I. The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians Tribe serves notice to the Tribal Membership and licensed attorneys about a judicial vacancy on the Tribal Appellate Court.  The judicial vacancy on the Tribal Appellate Court may be filled by a Tribal Member or a licensed attorney for the balance of the unexpired six (6) term, due to end on September 30, 2020. Submissions due no later than April 12, 2018.

Last week’s post: March 30, 2018

NCAI Webinar: Gun Purchases, Tribal Convictions, and Using the Instant Criminal Background Check System (Feb. 23 at 2pm)

Identifying dangerous persons across jurisdictions can help prevent needless tragedies. Keeping firearms away from persons who are legally prohibited from purchasing firearms requires collaboration across many jurisdictions—including tribal governments.  NCAI will be hosting a webinar on NICS, featuring a presentation from JoAnn Garrison, Liaison Specialist from the FBI NICS Business Unit. The webinar will provide an overview of NICS and the ten federal firearm prohibitions, and then explain how tribes can access and use NICS to protect tribal citizens form illegal gun possession. The discussion will primarily focus on the two federal prohibitions specific to domestic violence: the Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence federal prohibition, 922(g)(9), and the Protection Order federal prohibition, 922(g)(8).  Attendees will gain knowledge of the role they play in sharing information needed to determine if a firearm transfer is disqualified under federal law as well as highlight the importance of sharing record information on a national level.

–You can register for the webinar here.–

The webinar will be recorded if you are not able to join. If you have any questions, please contact: Elizabeth Reese,

MSU Law Webinar on Careers in Indian Law

Here. Geared toward current and prospective law students.

Attorneys with an understanding of Native American culture and legal issues are in high demand. Join us to learn more about the career paths of four Michigan State Law graduates who are working in Indian country. Each graduate will discuss the challenges and rewards of Indigenous Law work. Brief remarks regarding MSU Law’s Indigenous Law and Policy Center also will be offered. Following the presenters’ remarks will be a 15-minute Q and A session during which the presenters will answer questions from webinar participants.

DOJ Motion to Dismiss and Supporting Amicus Briefs in Goldwater (ICWA) Litigation

Motion to Dismiss here.

Footnote 8:

Plaintiffs do not seek the type of reliefincreased funding or systemic changes in the quality of child-welfare services provided by state agencies – that the Ninth Circuit found unworthy of Younger abstention in Jamieson, 643 F.2d at 1354; instead, they demand that this Court enjoin state courts and agencies from applying long-standing state and federal laws to their ongoing child-custody proceedings, which clearly warrants equitable restraint under Younger.

(emphasis added)


Membership in a federally recognized Indian tribe, or being born the child of a member of such a sovereign entity, is not a forced association. ICWA does not require association, but rather protects associations that already exist.

In addition, Casey Family Programs plus twelve other national child welfare organizations filed this amicus brief (gold standard brief).

Finally, it is a key best practice to require courts to follow pre-established, objective rules that operate above the charged emotions of individual cases and that presume that preservation of a child’s ties to her parents is in her best interests. See National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, supra, at 14. Application of the best-interests-of-the-child standard should be guided by substantive rules and presumptions because “judges too may find it difficult, in utilizing vague standards like ‘the best interests of the child,’ to avoid decisions resting on subjective values.” Smith v. Organization of Foster Families for Equal. & Reform, 431 U.S. 816, 835 n.36 (1977). Courts should not terminate a child’s relationship to a parent based on “imprecise substantive standards that leave determinations unusually open to the subjective values of the judge.” Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 762-763 (1982).

Finally, the national Native organizations (NCAI, NICWA, AAIA) also filed this amicus brief (historical brief).

The Indian Child Welfare Act must be viewed in light of the historical abuses that it was intended to stop. For most of American history prior to ICWA’s enactment, federal Indian policy favored the removal of Indian children from their homes as a means of eroding Indian culture and tribes. State and private child welfare agencies later took on the implementation of these policies, carrying them out with little concern for the families or communities they affected. By the 1970’s, the widespread and wholesale removal of Indian children from their parents and communities resulted in a crisis recognized as “the most tragic and destructive aspect of American Indian life today.” H.R. REP. No. 95- 1386, at 9 (1978), reprinted in 1978 U.S.C.C.A.N. 7530, 7532.

DOJ Motion for Summary Judgment and National Orgs Amicus Brief Filed in Guidelines Litigation

Latest filings in Nat’l Council for Adoption v. Jewell:

DOJ Memorandum for Summary Judgment

A favorite footnote (5 is good too):

10 Finally, BAF does not elaborate as to why placement with an Indian child’s family or tribe could not also be “loving,” and its silence is telling. ICWA was designed as a remedy for precisely this type of bias: the stereotype held by some child-welfare advocates that Indian children will be better off placed with a non-Indian family. See Miss. Band of Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield, 490 U.S. 30, 37 (reiterating that Congress feared that application of a “white, middleclass standard” will, “in many cases, foreclose[] placement with [an] Indian family”). BAF’s misguided view is, at best, an “abstract concern” that is insufficient to create standing. See Lane, 703 F.3d at 675 (citing Simon, 426 U.S. at 40).

National Organizations (NCAI, NICWA, AAIA) Amicus Brief in Support