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  • UPDATE: U.S. Supreme Court Denies Cert. in Indian Reserved Groundwater Rights Case

    By Procopio Partner Theodore Griswold The U.S. Supreme Court today (November 27, 2017) upheld a key decision affecting Native American tribal rights. Last March, we posted regarding the remarkable Ninth Circuit decision in Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians v. Coachella Valley Water District (849 F.3d 1262 (2017)), in which the Ninth Circuit affirmed that the federal “reserved rights” doctrine for water established in the seminal case of Winters v. United States, 207 U.S. 564 (190...

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  • Procopio Applauds the Honorable Lawrence R. Baca on Being Named the Sarah T. Hughes Civil Rights Award Winner

    Hats off to The Honorable Lawrence R. Baca! Mr. Baca was recently named the 2017 recipient of the Sarah T. Hughes Civil Rights Award. The Federal Bar Association established the Sarah T. Hughes Civil Rights Award “to honor that man or woman who promotes the advancement of civil and human rights amongst us, and who exemplifies Judge Hughes’ spirit a legacy of devoted service and leadership in the cause of equality.”  Mr. Baca has dedicated his career to addressing American Indian ci...

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  • Right Sizing Renewable Tribal Energy Projects at the Right Time

    What direction is renewable energy going in Indian country? Roof top solar is piecemeal and requires multiple individual actions to achieve a meaningful movement toward a green energy future. Utility scale solar and wind can impact large swaths of land and impact landscape-scale cultural viewsheds. Are community scale renewable energy projects the right fit for Tribal communities? More and more, it is appearing that this is the case. In California, utility scale renewable energy facilitie...

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  • Appreciating Diversity in Graduation Ceremonies

    High School Graduation is a significant accomplishment for every high school student and their families. The graduation ceremony honors those students for that accomplishment and is a time when their families and communities can take pride in their accomplishments. Schools want their students dressed “appropriately” for the occasion. But, what is “appropriate”?  For many schools, this means prohibiting students from altering their cap and gown and/or restricting the types of ...

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  • Improving Behavioral Health in Indian Country

    In December 2016 the first-ever Tribal Behavioral Health Agenda (TBHA) was released.  The TBHA is a ground-breaking formal statement recognizing the unique needs of tribal communities concerning behavioral health care and setting forth an agenda to improve the emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being of tribal members.  The TBHA resulted from extensive consultation among tribal leaders, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Indian Health Service ...

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  • Standing Rock Sioux Water Protectors Win a Battle

    On December 4th, 2016, while many were sipping their Sunday coffee, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that the Department of the Army will not approve an easement that would allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota.  I am sure more than one cup of coffee spilled with elation and disbelief that the Water Protectors at and near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation had achieved a major victory against Dallas-based Energy Transfer Part...

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  • SUN SETTING ON SOLAR RESIDENTIAL INCENTIVES IN CALIFORNIA: HAVE TRIBAL CITIZENS BENEFITED?

    In California, rooftop solar has largely been a success under the Million Solar Roofs Initiative (SB 1, 2006). Senate Bill No.1 includes the California Solar Initiative, an incentive program that is run by investor-owned utilities, and the New Solar Homes Partnership, which supports solar energy on new homes.  However, many Tribal citizens have not taken advantage of the financial incentive programs at the state, county, and local levels.  One of the reasons may have been outreach a...

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  • Now Accepting Applications for Procopio's Summer 2017 Native American Law Internship Program

    Procopio has a long-standing tradition of providing growth opportunities to the communities we serve.  Procopio’s Native American Law Practice Group extends this tradition by actively investing in the future leaders of Indian Country through offering paid internships for Native American law students or law students with an emphasis in Native American law.  Please join us in identifying qualified legal students within Native American communities that may be interested in being part...

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  • IS ALL “FAIR” IN FASHION AND APPROPRIATION?

    On July 12, 2016, New Mexico Federal Judge Bruce D. Black granted another partial win to Urban Outfitters in the infamous, Navajo Nation v. Urban Outfitters, by denying the Nation’s motion to dismiss Urban Outfitters’ trademark fair use defense. As a result, Urban Outfitters will be able to assert the affirmative defense of descriptive fair use against the Nation’s trademark infringement claim at trial. Descriptive fair use allows the use of another’s mark if used to describe a user...

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  • “Forage”- Ahead: Tribes Permitted to Gather Plants from National Parks

    Effective August 11, 2016, the U.S. Department of Interior authorized the National Park Service to enter into government-to-government agreements with federally recognized Tribes to allow tribal members to gather and remove plants or plant parts from national parks and monuments for tribal or cultural uses. In the agreements, Tribes must explain their traditional connections to a particular park or monument, and show that such connections predate the park’s establishment. Tribes must fu...

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