American Indian Law Center

AILC has launched its new site with vastly improved customer interface.
Albuquerque, August 6, 2008 —

The American Indian Law Center, Inc. (AILC), the nation’s oldest existing Indian-managed and Indian-operated legal and public policy organization in the country, is pleased to announce the launching of the new and improved, customer-focused, AILC website. The site,, is designed to provide information on the numerous services and programs that the AILC makes available to tribal governments and tribal leadership, tribal judges, and incoming Indian law students attending law schools throughout the country.

See attachment and visit to get more information about the AILC.

Snowmaking OK’d at Snowbowl Resort

Snowmaking OK’d at Snowbowl resort
Aug. 8, 2008 11:00 AMAssociated Press

A federal appeals court has approved snowmaking using reclaimed wastewater at the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort north of Flagstaff.

The decision by a full panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is a blow for Indian tribes that had argued that the use of wastewater for snowmaking on peaks they consider sacred violates their religious freedom.

The full appeals court overturned a ruling by a three-judge appeals panel last year that held that using wastewater on the San Francisco Peaks violated the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Friday’s ruling says the tribes will still have full use of the mountain for their ceremonies and the snowmaking would not affect that.

IGRA Pathbreakers Named

Native Americans to be honored for their contributions to Indian gaming rights

Six people who have worked to protect and expand Indian gaming rights since the inception of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act 20 years ago will be honored this fall by the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

The individuals, named “Pathbreakers” for their leadership in helping tribes achieve economic freedom, will be lauded during a national conference sponsored by the College’s Indian Legal Program. “Indian Country’s Winning Hand: 20 Years of IGRA” will be Thursday and Friday, Oct. 16-17, at the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort & Casino in Scottsdale/Fountain Hills. The Pathbreaker’s Banquet will be Oct. 16 in the resort’s Courtyard Plaza.

Robert Clinton, Foundation Professor of Law and a co-chair of the conference’s planning committee, said Indian gaming has been the “white buffalo of the reservation economies, providing the first successful means of economic self-sufficiency for many tribes since their traditional economies were destroyed or decimated through the processes of non-Indian settlement of their former lands.”

The Pathbreakers, who were selected by their peers on a committee comprising leaders of major Indian gaming organizations and programs, have been in the forefront of efforts to restore tribal self-sufficiency and respect for tribal sovereignty, Clinton said.

“They are modern-day warriors who have successfully and selflessly fought important battles for their people, without any thought of personal gain — the mark of a true tribal leader,” Clinton said. “We are privileged and honored to recognize and celebrate the important work and accomplishments of these Indian Gaming Pathbreakers.”

The six are:
· Frank L. Chaves, Former Chairman, New Mexico Indian Gaming Commission. Chaves has worked on gaming issues with tribal governments in New Mexico for more than 12 years. A member of the Pueblo of Sandia, he served as the director of economic development for the Pueblo and was co-chair of the New Mexico Indian Gaming Association.
· Richard G. Hill Sr., Chairman, Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. For nearly 20 years, the Hill name has been synonymous with Indian gaming and tribal economic development. He is a former chairman and spokesperson for the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), and he led a national negotiating team in the 1990s to resolve conflicts over Indian gaming between the states and tribal leaders.
· John A. James, Chairman, Cabazon Band of Mission Indians. James has been at the forefront of Indian gaming in California for several decades, from bringing high-stakes bingo to the Cabazon in the 1980s to developing a premiere gaming destination in Southern California. He also is chairman of the Cabazon’s Business Committee and a former executive secretary of NIGA.
· Mark Macarro, Chairman, Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. With the support of the California Nations Gaming Association, Macarro served as spokesman for a number of successful Indian gaming ballot initiatives in that state. He represents the Pechanga in the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and on the board of directors of the NIGA, and is chairman of the Riverside County Sheriff Native American Affairs Commission.
· Clinton M. Pattea, President, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. Pattea has served on the Nation’s Tribal Council for more than four decades. Arizona’s success in Indian gaming often is attributed to the visionary leadership of Pattea, who was involved in negotiations in the 1990s with then-Gov. Fife Symington who’d refused to discuss a compact with the Nation.
· Ernest L. Stevens Jr., Chairman, National Indian Gaming Association. First elected in 2001, Stevens is in his fourth term at the IGRA helm. He is a former councilman for the Oneida Nation and former first vice-president and treasurer of the NCAI. Stevens recently received the 2008 Gaming Executive of the Year award from the International Masters of Gaming Law.

The conference is a balanced 20-year retrospective of the successes, failures and impact of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. The conference sponsors are offering an early registration rate of $350, through Sept. 15; thereafter, the rate is $450, through Oct. 10. Pathbreaker’s Banquet tickets are being sold separately for $100 each, through Oct. 8. To register or order tickets, go to For more information, call Darlene Lester at (480) 965-7715.

JOB: Assistant US Attorney

District of Montana
Missoula Branch Office
Vacancy Announcement # 08-MT-06

About the Office: The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana is a smaller office with the main office in Billings and staffed branch offices in Butte, Great Falls, Helena, and Missoula. The Missoula Branch Office handles various criminal cases which include, extortion, threats, environmental crime, child pornography, on-line predators, economic crime, public corruption, immigration, and drugs. The Missoula Branch Office staff consists of the Deputy Criminal Chief, two Assistant U.S. Attorneys, a Paralegal Specialist, and a Legal Assistant.

Responsibilities and Opportunity Offered: This Assistant U.S. Attorney will be the fourth AUSA in the office and will serve as one of the narcotics prosecutors for the District of Montana. This particular position will handle Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and non-OCDETF narcotics cases. In addition to trial work, other areas of responsibility include interaction with multi-jurisdictional drug task forces and training of officers. The AUSA will also be responsible for appellate work.

Required qualifications: Applicants must possess a J.D. degree and be licensed and authorized to practice as an attorney under the laws of a State, territory, or District of Columbia, and have at least one year post-J.D. experience, and demonstrate excellent computer literacy skills to include experience with automated research on the Internet, and electronic e-mail and word processing systems. Applicants must be active members in good standing of the bar (any jurisdiction). An applicant must either be a member of the Montana Bar or be willing to sit for the Montana Bar exam and take steps to become a member of the Montana Bar shortly after joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The position has promotion potential to an AD-29.
Preferred qualifications: Applicants must demonstrate a quick analytical ability and the facility to accurately and precisely articulate the critical issues in a case. Applicants must demonstrate superior oral and writing skills as well as strong research and interpersonal skills, and good judgment. Applicants must possess excellent communication and courtroom skills and exhibit the ability to work in a supportive and professional manner with other attorneys, support staff and client agencies. Applicants must have a demonstrated capacity to function, with minimal guidance, in a highly demanding environment. Experience with automated electronic court filing.

Travel: Travel will be required.

Salary Information: Assistant United States Attorneys’ pay is administratively determined based in part, on the number of years of professional attorney experience. The current recruiting range of pay is $48,310 – $127,864. The District does not anticipate having the financial resources to offer a salary at the top of the range. These rates include locality pay of 13.18%.
Location: Missoula, Montana is a vibrant community with great diversity providing many opportunities for new businesses, families and individuals seeking to experience the Montana quality of life. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana, Missoula is one of the west’s most sophisticated smaller cities. Population is about 60,000 in the city and 90,000 in the county. Industries that support Missoula include: wood products, government, medical, education, small business and tourism. The University of Montana is in Missoula and has in excess of 14,000 students.

Recreational opportunities in Missoula are abundant and compliment the Montana life style. Missoula is rich in cultural attractions ranging from symphony, arts, live theater, historical museums, shops, galleries and numerous sporting activities and events. Within a couple miles of Missoula, outdoor enthusiasts can experience several recreational opportunities complimented by four seasons in the millions of acres of wilderness and recreation area. There are many lakes, rivers and ski areas for outside recreation.

Relocation Expenses: Relocation expenses are not authorized.

Application Process and Deadline Date: Interested applicants should send a detailed resume and cover letter to the address below. The material should include information regarding the education and professional background of the candidate and a listing of all bar memberships.

United States Attorney’s Office
Attn: Kora Connolly
2929 3rd Avenue North, Suite 400,
Billings, MT 59101.

No telephone calls please. Applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on the closing date, which is August 15, 2008. Please note Vacancy Announcement # 08-MT-06 on your application. If you prefer, you can email your resume and cover letter to Applications sent via email must be received by 4:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on August 15, 2008.

Internet Sites: This and other attorney vacancy announcements can be found at:
Department Policies: Assistant United States Attorneys generally must reside in the district to which he or she is appointed. See 28 U.S.C. § 545 for district-specific information.
The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer. Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, color, race, religion, national origin, politics, marital status, disability, age, status as a parent, membership or nonmembership in an employee organization, or personal favoritism. The Department of Justice welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities. The Department is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department of Justice. This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

It is the policy of the Department to achieve a drug-free workplace and persons selected for employment will be required to pass a drug test which screens for illegal drug use prior to final appointment. Employment is also contingent upon the completion and satisfactory adjudication of a background investigation. Only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the Executive Office for Immigration Review and the United States Attorneys’ Offices. Unless otherwise indicated in a particular job advertisement, non-U.S. citizens may apply for employment with other organizations, but should be advised that appointments of non-U.S. citizens are extremely rare; such appointments would be possible only if necessary to accomplish the Department’s mission and would be subject to strict security requirements. Applicants who hold dual citizenship in the U.S. and another country will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
There is no formal rating system for applying veterans’ preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Department of Justice considers veterans’ preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans’ preference are encouraged to include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documentation (e.g., the DD 214 or other substantiating documents) to their submissions.

Intertribal Court of Southern California – Temet Aguilar (’02)

New home more centrally located, officials say
By EDWARD SIFUENTES – Staff Writer Wednesday, July 30, 2008 11:05 PM PDT

The Intertribal Court of Southern California has a new home at the Rincon Indian Reservation. Lisa Powless, the court’s clerk, answers phones at the new location. (Photo by Edward Sifuentes – Staff Photographer) The Intertribal Court of Southern California has a new home at the Rincon Indian Reservation. Temet Aguilar, the court’s administrator, said the facility is scheduled for a grand opening ceremony Friday. (Photo by Edward Sifuentes – Staff Photographer)

RINCON INDIAN RESERVATION —- The fledgling Intertribal Court of Southern California has a new home at the Rincon Indian Reservation.The 3-year-old court deals with legal issues that arise on local American Indian reservations, such as civil disputes and land use, housing and family matters. It serves as an appeals court, mediator and arbitrator for 10 San Diego County tribes.Until earlier this month, the court was housed in an office building in Escondido. The Rincon tribe offered to remodel a building at its reservation on Golsh Road. The building was formerly occupied by the Indian Health Council, a clinic serving local tribal communities.Rincon will lease the building to the court for $1 a year, said Temet Aguilar, the court’s administrator. On Wednesday, construction workers were at work remodeling the 4,000-square-foot building, half of which will be used by the court. The space includes a reception area, administrative offices, a library, a conference room and a courtroom. The building is more than just a new home for the fledgling court, Aguilar said. “What this represents is the tribes entering into the modern era of their development by exercising their sovereignty,” Aguilar said. In 2006, retired Superior Court Commissioner Anthony Brandenburg was sworn in as the intertribal court’s judge. Brandenburg said the intertribal court fills a judicial gap that was created by the federal government in the 1950s. In California and several other states, law enforcement agencies, such as the sheriff’s department, have jurisdiction over criminal matters under a federal law called Public Law 280. However, sheriff’s deputies cannot enforce laws enacted by tribal governments, such as land use, hunting and illegal dumping ordinances. And outside courts don’t have authority to settle disputes among tribal members, such as trespassing, evictions and other minor infractions. Federal courts handle felony cases on the reservations. On local reservations, tribal councils, usually made up of five elected officials, serve as “judges” over disputes that occur in their reservations. They also are sometimes called upon to settle patron disputes in their casinos.Since most local tribes are small, family conflicts can often occur when disputes erupt in tribal communities. For tribes that participate in the system, the intertribal court serves as an independent judiciary, where people can appeal tribal council decisions, Brandenburg said. The court “takes the personal and political aspect out of it,” Brandenburg said. The member tribes are: Los Coyotes Band of Mission Indians, La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians, Manzanita Band of Kumeyaay Nation, Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians, Pala Band of Cupeno Indians, Pauma Yuima Band of Mission Indians, Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians, San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians, Santa Ysabel Band of Diegueno Indians and Jamul Indian Village. The intertribal court is largely funded by its member tribes and assistance from the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association, a nonprofit organization that administers various welfare, educational and cultural programs for local tribes. Last year, the intertribal court handled about 100 cases. Most of the cases involved trespass disputes and family matters, such as child custody and child support disputes. It served as a mediator or arbiter in about 25 other cases, Aguilar said. The new location, which is more centrally located for most local tribes, may drive up demand for the court. It is also conveniently located near the Indian Health Council, which serves many of the same tribes as the court, said Court Clerk Lisa Powless. “I feel more involved in the community,” Powless said referring to the new location. “I like it.”

Contact staff writer Edward Sifuentes at (760) 740-3511 or

NPR on Dorgan Bill

Below is a link to the audio of the NPR story on the Dorgan bill. Salt River President Diane Enos (’92) is quoted both in the short article and is interviewed in the audio.

Bill Bolsters Tribal Power To Prosecute Rape Cases
by Jenny Gold

Listen Now add to playlist

Previous Coverage
In an award-winning series, NPR’s Laura Sullivan reported on the prevalence of rape on tribal lands and the difficulty in prosecuting sexual assault cases.
July 25, 2007Rape Cases On Indian Lands Go Uninvestigated
July 26, 2007Legal Hurdles Stall Rape Cases On Native Lands

All Things Considered, July 23, 2008 · Native American women are far more likely to be raped than other women – and tribal officials say many incidents on reservations across the country go unreported and uninvestigated, NPR’s Laura Sullivan reported a year ago on All Things Considered.

The Justice Department estimates that 1 in 3 Native American women will be raped in her lifetime, and most victims who do report their assaults describe their attackers as non-Native. Legally, tribal authorities can do little to stop them. Chickasaw Tribal Police Chief Jason O’Neal told NPR in 2007 that “many of the criminals know Indian lands are almost a lawless community that they can do whatever they want.”

For the past year, the Senate has held hearings on reservations nationwide on how to stop the assaults. The resulting legislation, called the Tribal Law and Order Act, was introduced in the Senate on Wednesday by Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, who is chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

Dorgan’s bill has three primary goals. First, it would make it easier for tribal police like O’Neal to arrest non-Indians who commit federal crimes on tribal lands, including sexual assault. Second, it would increase the sentencing power of tribal courts by allowing them to put convicted tribal members behind bars for three years instead of one – and even send them to federal prison. Third, the bill would increase accountability for U.S. attorneys by requiring them to keep a record of every case on tribal lands they decline to prosecute.

“I think now the women finally have a voice,” said Georgia Littleshield, director of the Pretty Bird Woman House domestic violence shelter on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in South Dakota.

“I sit with women who cry and are mad because the feds didn’t want to pick up the case. This bill, I think, would give women more of a right, that the prosecutor’s got to be more accountable for federal jurisdiction on these cases. And he’s going to have to be accountable for the cases he doesn’t prosecute,” Littleshield said.

But others have their doubts about the legislation, including Diane Enos, president of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Arizona. She says the bill is better than nothing, but it doesn’t do enough. With money from their successful gaming casinos, the Pima-Maricopa tribe has been able to hire its own police. But even with extra security for the community, tribal officials still cannot prosecute non-Indian assailants.

“You’ve got Congress people who are scared stiff of seeing tribes get authority over non-Indians. I’m not sure that they understand why, but it’s almost a knee-jerk reaction. If they came, took the time to come here to look at our courts, our police departments and the due process we afford, maybe they would feel a little bit different,” Enos says.

The Justice Department is concerned that giving tribes the right to send offenders to federal prisons will cause overcrowding.

Nonetheless, the Senate bill is gaining bipartisan momentum. A companion bill is expected soon in the House.

JOBS: Sault Tribe and Sac & Fox

Tribal Attorney — Prosecutor
Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Must have a JD and be admitted to practice law in the State of Michigan and 3 y ears of training or experience in Indian Law and tribal court prosecution is preferred. Submit resumes to: Sault Tribe Human Resource Department, 2186 Shunk, Sault Ste Marie, MI 49783 906.635.7032. fax 906.635.4992 or apply online at

Assistant Attorney General
Sac & Fox Tribe in Iowa
Must have a JD from an ABA accredited law school and 3 years experience in Federal Indian law. Send or fax resume by August 8, 2008 to Personnel, 349 Meskwaki Rd. Tama, Iowa 52339. For more info: 641.484.4678 fax: 641.484.8478.