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  • Medicine Bluffs: Sacred Spaces, Healing Ceremony

    By: Stephanie Conduff | Law Clerk | stephanie.conduff@procopio.com Theodore J. Griswold | Partner | ted.griswold@procopio.com I was recently invited to the sacred Summer Solstice Prayer Ceremony with the Comanche Nation. It took place on Medicine Bluffs on their traditional lands – a place surrounded by sage, a serene vista and on a bluff that allowed me to see for miles in the four directions. Elders shared with me that Medicine Bluffs is considered a place of puhu. In their Native language p...

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  • Benefits Abound for Tribes Looking to Operate Their Own Utility

    By: Christopher R. Scott | Intern Theodore J. Griswold | Partner | ted.griswold@procopio.com If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself, or so the saying goes. It’s a saying that couldn’t be more apt for those tribal governments who have created their own utility company. Plagued by high electricity costs for some tribal citizens, no electricity access for others, and a disinterested non-Tribal utility serving their reservations, a handful of tribal governments have asserte...

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  • Give Us Our Stuff Back

    By: Eric Abeita | Intern Theodore J. Griswold | Partner | ted.griswold@procopio.com Last month, the Paris auction house, EVE, attempted to sell 29 Hopi headdresses known as Katsinam.  This same auction house has sold various Native American religious items in four auctions within the past 18 months.  This auction, however, was challenged legally by the United States Embassy in Paris.  The US Embassy filed two actions to stop the sale of the sacred items, but both were defeated.  The Board of...

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  • It’s Just that Simple: Carcieri Fix Passes Senate Committee Vote

    By: Christopher R. Scott | Intern Theodore J. Griswold | Partner | ted.griswold@procopio.com Attorneys and scholars like to wax poetic about theories of interpretation and jurisprudence, but sometimes all it takes to change the law is a vote. In the context of Native American Law, the “Plenary Power of Congress” has become almost a throw-away phrase—one often referenced but far less frequently relied upon. That Power can be destructive or productive, depending upon the direction in which t...

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  • Good News Regarding Income Tax Relief for Certain Tribal Government Programs

    By: Eric D. Swenson | Senior Counsel | eric.swenson@procopio.com Theodore J. Griswold | Partner | ted.griswold@procopio.com On June 4, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Procedure 2014-35, which provides the requirements that must be met order for an Indian Tribal program to meet the requirements necessary for the General Welfare Exclusion to apply.  A General Welfare program is a social welfare program offered by a government to its people, including Indian Tribe's to its ...

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  • Don't “Waive” Goodbye to Sovereign Immunity…

    By: Christopher R. Scott | Intern Theodore J. Griswold | Partner | ted.griswold@procopio.com For those of us interested in the more wonky corners of the profession, there is an ever-expanding jurisdictional split on the horizon at the intersection of Civil Procedure and Federal Indian law. As one of those enthusiasts, I found this most recent case to be fascinating both for its approach to Federal Indian Law generally and its take on sovereign immunity. The United States District Court for the E...

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  • Attorney General's Indian Country Fellowship

    By: Stephanie Conduff | Law Clerk | stephanie.conduff@procopio.com Theodore J. Griswold | Partner | ted.griswold@procopio.com The Department of Justice has created an opportunity in Indian Country worthy of serious praise. Prosecutors have the best shot at helping people. They are positioned to assist our people into more empowering places – restorative justice programs – including federal court programs for veterans.  For example, the U.S. District Court in Roanoke, Virginia, began its Vet...

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  • The Idea of Indians

    By: Eric Abeita | Intern Theodore J. Griswold | Partner | ted.griswold@procopio.com During the NBA Finals, a television ad was aired that opposed using Native Americans as mascots, specifically targeted to the Washington Football Team.[1] The ad stated that Native Americans refer to themselves in many ways, “Indomitable, strong, Inuit, Blackfoot,” but they don’t refer to themselves as the R- word. It was particularly powerful in that it did not specifically state that R- word, but ended wi...

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  • Appreciating the Opportunity

    By: Theodore J. Griswold | Partner | ted.griswold@procopio.com Procopio recently had the pleasure of being one of the sponsors of the Inter Tribal Sports Golf Tournament at Pechanga.  Beautiful day, magnificent course, and great company.  Our golf was not legendary, but it was a great way to support ITS  along with other sponsors Pechanga, Pala, Sycuan and the Randy Jones Invitational.  We appreciate the opportunity to give back to the community we work with.  That got me thinking about som...

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  • Opportunities and Threats to Indian Country Business: E-Commerce and Tribal Sovereignty

    By: Christopher Scott | Intern Theodore J. Griswold | Partner | ted.griswold@procopio.com Many tribal governments are in serious need of economic development avenues. As sovereign nations within U.S. borders, they have the inherent authority to bypass laws and regulations that regulate business relationships with non-tribal online retailers, tech start-ups, and even larger digitally-focused companies interested in hospitable climates for expansion.  E-commerce, once a fledgling industry, is on ...

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