Category Archives: Tribal Law

Tribal Land: Land In Trust

What Is Tribal Land in Trust?

Tribal land is land in trust given to the Native Americans by the American Government under the Indian Reorganization Act. This act gives land to the American Indians under the trust of the government to preserve and improve natural resources of the tribal reservations, and land that is owned by Native Americans. The Department of The Interior has since returned over 9 million acres of land back to Indians and Indian Reservations.

Better Way of Living for Native Americans

These reorganizations are meant to make the quality of life better and more resourceful for generations to come. 90% of Indian Reservation land was lost in 1887 under the Dawes Act, so being given back even 10% of the land lost and being given the land for improvements and better ways of living for the American Indians is a positive and progressive step.

Limits to How Land Is Used

Under these laws, the American Indians are self-governing and therefore not subject to state law. There are, however, limitations to how the land may be used and many motions regarding tribal law that go forward must be approved beforehand.

The Indians who reside on Native American land can either own their dwelling spaces through an allotment or they can be given their dwelling spaces by the tribal authorities.

Free to Trust Application

Should a tribal member desire to own an allotment on or off of a reservation, there is a “free to trust” application that has to be completed. An attorney can guide these tribal members through the process. These applications require an understanding of Tribal Law can require consultation with our experienced Palm Springs tribal attorneys.

Tribal Lands Seek Protection Against Fracking

A recent article states that environmental and tribal coalition groups have sued to obstruct a rule from 2015 in order to protect wildlife and public resources. The case is set to repeal the Trump Administration’s change to the rule that protects against fracking on lands that belong to federal and tribal communities. Continue reading

Understand Indian Law Before Entering Into Business Transactions with Native American Tribes

As recently appeared in The Public Record:

Doing Business with Native American Tribes

Since its creation, the federal government has contracted with and passed laws affecting the self-determination of Native Americans. State governments have also entered into agreements or “compacts” with tribes, typically involving gaming and taxes on products and services offered by tribal entities. These laws and agreements have created significant opportunities for private entities to do business with Native American tribes and on reservation land in many areas, including real estate, natural resources, retail and commercial enterprises, as well as tourism and entertainment. Continue reading

The Specifics Of Indian Tribal Law

Native Americans are governed by two types of laws in the United States. The first combines State and Federal laws all United States residents must adhere to. Indian law is the second, and is only applicable to Native American tribal groups. This provides Native Americans with a unique business and legal environment. Continue reading

Judge Sides with County Over Tribal Land Lessee Taxes

A recent publication stated that the Aqua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians from Coachella Valley, California recently lost a lawsuit that accused a California county of unlawful collection of taxes on leased tribal trust lands. A California federal judge ruled that the collection of these taxes did not overly interfere with self-governance of the tribe. The decision sided with Riverside County over a possessory interest tax that is charged to non-Native American lessees on the recognized tribal reservation. The unique case required specific knowledge and expertise of Coachella Valley tribal law attorneys. Continue reading

The Laws Regarding Leasing Indian Trust Land

The Leasing Of Indian Trust Land

The secretary of the interior must approve the lease of all Indian land whether agricultural, mineral and gas, business or residential. Federal regulations still apply if the tribe has their own realty services and requires approval of the BIA. Federal regulations state the secretary can provide the required consent for landowners and groups. This means not all landowners are aware or have consented to all leasing decisions. Continue reading

State declines to get involved in tribal dispute

The State of California has declined to get involved in a dispute between two groups of Indians who run the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino, a story by said. The case is before a federal court, which is deciding whether one faction violated a court order by trying to reopen the casino. The State of California says its job is to protect its citizens, and that the tribe is obligated to resolve its own issues. Continue reading

Update on Disputes Between Farmers and Tribes Over Water

Farmers and Tribes have a long standing feud over The Trinity River. Since the 1930s, the farmers have been using water from the river and a dam was approved in 1955 with construction finishing in 1962. The problem is that the Yurok have relied on the fishing from the surrounding rivers to survive. When the farmers are depleting the water levels, the fish die off and there isn’t enough food for the members of the tribe. Continue reading

Litigation in the Context of Tribal Law

Tribal law is a complex and unique field, one that has become a truly vital area with the growth of population and the escalation of commercial development. The enforcement of tribal law plays a very important role in guaranteeing that the resources within tribal lands are utilized to the advantage of tribal communities. It also factors heavily into decisions regarding cases that relate to tribal rights. Continue reading

Update on the Lawsuit of Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Vs. California Water Agencies

According to Turtle Talk, this month the U.S. Department of Justice stood in defense of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians who have brought a lawsuit against two California water agencies. The tribe is accusing the Coachella Valley Water District and the Desert Water Agency of mismanaging the groundwater by depleting it and then replenishing it with salty, impure water from the Colorado River. The ongoing conflict is currently in Phase One of litigation. Continue reading

The 3 Gaming Classes Under Regulation of the IGRA

In 1988, Congress enacted legislation titled the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) to provide the framework for a gambling operation run by California tribes. This enactment was a direct response to the ruling that stopped California from interfering with existing tribal gaming operations. The IRGA set forth to provide tribes with opportunity for economic growth, self-sufficiency and stable government. Continue reading

Learn How Tribal Law is Recognized and How It Affects Development Planning

The state of California is home to 108 federally recognized Native American tribes and approximately 84 non-recognized tribes. Federally recognized and non-federally recognized Native American tribes both have unique political governments. Non-federally recognized tribes continue to practice their traditional Native American forms of government, and lack official recognition from the United States government. Federally recognized tribes have Native American governmental authority over their lands. For purposes of this guide, LD-IGR addresses governments under the jurisdictions of federally recognized tribes. Continue reading

How Our Coachella Valley Tribal Attorneys Help Tribes in the Local Area

Native American tribes are now emerging from centuries of indifferent, hostile, and complex regulation by outside authorities. Native Tribes are recovering self-determination, and developing tribal sovereignty. Tribal governments must deal with complex legal issues, caused by economic development, tribal politics, and cultural expression, as well as legal and policy issues caused by interactions with non-tribal members, businesses and government. Continue reading

Recent Decisions In a Tribal Lawsuit That Have Attorneys Worried Over Indian Land Use and Zoning Issues

Bryan Newland recently wrote an article on Turtle Talk about a case that is under the California Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, hereinafter IGRA. It is a suit seeking to require negotiations for a class II gaming activity on Indian lands controlled by the Big Lagoon Ranchereia, an Indian Tribe. The decision against the Tribe and in favor of the State is what has intrigued us. Continue reading

When Does My Case Information Become Privileged With A Coachella Valley Litigation Attorney?

The Basics of Client-Lawyer Privilege

If you think that you need a Coachella Valley litigation attorney, it is very important to make sure that you know the difference between privilege and unprivileged information before you begin. Privilege does protect you as a client, but it only extends a certain distance and you want to make sure that you do not give away something that is very important to your case. Movie and television law is not enough to educate you, it is important to keep reading to find out specifics about lawyer-client privilege. Continue reading

Palm Springs Tribal Attorney Keeps Up with the Indian Trust Administration and Reform Report

Indian Trust Administration and Reform Report

Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, named five Native American Indians to look into the way the Native American’s trust funds are being handled/managed. These funds have almost $4 billion dollars in them. This has all been done because President Obama is committed to ensuring that these trust funds are handled in a responsible manner. Continue reading

Palm Springs Tribal Attorney Answers: How is Indian Tribal Law Set Up to Govern On Reservations?

Indian tribes are unified under one government, or type of leadership. In America, even though the federal government may not recognize a certain people group, a particular state may officially recognize an Indian group. The process of official group recognition can be challenging. Legislatures and courts often get into the action of determining whether a specific group of Indians can be recognized. If a group is to be officially recognized, the history and control of territory are issues that need to be dealt with. Continue reading

Palm Springs Business Litigation Law Firm Follows the California Indian Tribes’ Release of the Draft for a New Bill on Indian Gaming

Our Palm Springs business litigation law firm has followed the upcoming Indian gaming bill in hot dispute. As of January 1, 2015, there may be websites that have legal, cyberspace poker gambling in the state of California. It’s forthcoming since eight California Indian tribes drew up a bill to endorse and modulate Internet poker in California. Continue reading