Category Archives: Tribal Law

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

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

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