Saginaw Chippewa Disenrollees Sue Interior for Failure to Enforce the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan Distribution of Judgment Funds Act

Here is the complaint in Cavazos v. Zinke (D.D.C.):


The plaintiffs are represented by Gerald Torres, Michael Sliger, and Hope Babcock.

News coverage: “Expelled Tribe Members Say Feds Did Nothing to Protect Their Rights


10-1 Motion to Dismiss

12 Opposition

13 reply

Update in Rabang v. Kelly

Here are new docs:

4-11-18 Order Denying Defendants’ Rule 62.1 Motion For Indicative Ruling Regarding Dismissal

4-11-18 Rabang v. Kelly (9th Cir.) Kelly Appellants’ Motion For Voluntary Dismissal Of Appeal

4-11-18 Rabang v. Kelly (9th Cir.) Notice of District Court Decision Denying Appellants’ Motion For Indicative Ruling

4-11-18 Rabang v. Kelly (W.D. Wash.) Order Denying Defendants’ Rule 62.1 Motion For Indicative Ruling Regarding Dismissal

Federal Court Stays Nooksack RICO Case Pending DOI Election Investigation

Here is the order in the matter of Rabang et al v. Kelly et al, 17-cv-00088 (W.D. Wash.):

Doc. 140 – Order

At plaintiff’s request, the court has extended a stay of the proceedings until April 30, 2018. It is awaiting the BIA’s final determination regarding the validity of the Nooksack’s 2017 general election.

Nooksack Federal Status Report: BIA Questions 126 Special Election Ballots

Here are the materials in the matter of Rabang et al v. Kelly et al, 17-cv-00088 (W. Wash.):

Link: Case archive

Federal Court Denies Reconsideration Motion; Plaintiff “Nooksack Tribe” Still Lacks Standing

Here are the new materials in Nooksack Indian Tribe v. Zinke (W.D. Wash.):

45 Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration of Order Granting Motion to Dismiss

47 Federal Defendants’ Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Motion for Reconsideration

48 Plaintiff’s Reply in Support of Motion for Reconsideration of Order Granting Motion to Dismiss

54 Joint Status Report

55 Minute Order Lifting Stay

56 Order On Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration

ABA Human Rights Journal: “Tribal Disenrollment Demands a Tribal Answer”

William R. Norman Jr., Kirke Kickingbird, and Adam P. Bailey have published “Tribal Disenrollment Demands a Tribal Answer” in the ABA Human Rights Journal.

Differing Scholarly Opinions on the Ethics of Representing Tribes Engaged in Disenrollments

Here is George K. Komnenos, Tribal Advocates as Ministers of Justice: A Potentially Problematic Concept, 29 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 1079 (2016): GeorgeKKomnenosTribalAdvo

An excerpt:

In June 2015, the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA) adopted its first Ethics Opinion entitled Formal Duties of Tribal Court Advocates to Ensure Due Process Afforded to All Individuals Targeted for Disenrollment (“Opinion”). The Opinion is not intended to prescribe an overarching code of professional conduct for tribal advocates. On the contrary, the Opinion serves as a reminder to attorneys and Indian bar associations that “lawyers’ ethical obligations to their licensing jurisdictions do not stop at reservation boundaries.” The Opinion puts forward the notion that tribal advocates have a dual duty: they are bound not only to their individual clients, but to the Native American community at large. According to the Opinion, “[t]he responsibility of a tribal advocate differs from that of the usual advocate; his or her duty is to further justice in the greater Native American community, not merely to win his or her case.” Though this statement is made in the context of encouraging lawyers to be vigilant in defending their clients’ constitutional rights, it bears grave dangers.

And here is Nicole Russell, “To Further Justice in the Greater Native American Community”: Ethical Responsibilities of a Tribal Attorney in Disenrollment Disputes, 30 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 911 (2017):


An excerpt:

This Note will explore the ethical challenges faced by attorneys when representing member clients in two contexts. Part I will examine the generally heightened ethical obligations facing attorneys in their representations of tribal clients. This section will provide an analysis of procedural and ethical requirements, detail their variances, and point to recent attempts by tribal coalitions to develop a more coordinated code to guide nonmember representation. The discussion will necessarily involve the Model Rules of Professional Conduct(Model Rules) and their state derivations because many tribes have used these codes as the foundation for their own standards. Part II will examine what has been termed the tribal “disenrollment epidemic” and interrogate the premise that tribal advocates have a duty to distance themselves from disenrollment proceedings. Ultimately, this Note posits that not only are tribal advocates held to more– and sometimes higher–ethical standards than those put forth in the Model Rules, but that they are barred from representing tribes in many of the ongoing disenrollment proceedings which take place without the trappings of due process.