What Does the Future Hold for Tribal Governments Under the New Administration? A 2017 Update
As tribal nations continue to make strides asserting their sovereign authority and expanding their economies, there has been a greater focus on federal Indian policy and the scope of the federal trust obligation. Tribes have expanded their government relations activities in Washington, D.C., while other entities have expressed concern for tribal rights. A new presidential administration means new opportunities for tribes in such areas as infrastructure and economic development, but it also brings new challenges, such as possible cuts in federal Indian program funding.
In this LIVE Webcast, a panel of distinguished professionals and thought leaders organized by The Knowledge Group will explain how new players and new policies are likely to usher in important changes affecting tribal governments and economies. Speakers will also offer insights on the key opportunities and challenges to look out for.
Key Topics Include
- Overview of Tribal Government
- Official Immunity
- Federal Indian Policy
- Federal Funding
- Tribal Self-Determination
- Expectations for Trump Administration
- Legislative Opportunities
- Tribal Labor Sovereignty
- Tax Reform
- Healthcare Reform
- Energy Development
Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP
- Foundational Doctrines of Federal Indian Law.
- Respect for the inherent and ongoing sovereignty of Tribal Nations, which means recognizing the right of Tribal Nations to exercise broad control over their own lands and peoples. Summarize the variety of Tribal governments and the various powers they exercise.
- Acknowledgement of the Federal Government’s Trust obligation, which means that due to the course of history, and many commitments made in treaties and other agreements whereby Tribal Nations ceded land, the Federal Government is obligated to use its authority and power to protect tribal interests, including anything from defending those interests in court [Note conflicting examples of new US Attorney General establishing an inter-agency working group on crime in Indian Country, with his past opposition to allowing Tribe’s expanded jurisdiction over non-Indians in domestic violence cases] to providing resources to assure the well-being of tribal governments and peoples.
- The Trump Administration has put forth several proposals and preliminary policy ideas that may profoundly affect how these two foundational doctrines are applied in the real world.
- Federal Budget Cuts. The President has announced his intent to reduce Federal spending in a number of areas, principally involving social services, while increasing spending for Defense. As most Federal funding for Tribal Nations is found in the social services budgets, and as these budgets are an important manifestation of the Trust Responsibility, it appears likely that Indian Nations will face substantial funding cuts, which for many still impoverished Tribal Nations will be quite difficult to absorb. [Note: by the time of the webinar we should have the President’s detailed budget proposals, which can be summarized during the webinar, but with the qualification that the proposal are subject to Congressional review and will likely change before becoming final.]
- Energy Development – Two Directions with Disparate Impacts on Indian Country.
- President’s Strong Commitment to Promoting U.S. Energy Development should be a stimulus for energy-resource Tribal Nations.
- That same commitment will also clash with other Tribal interests, such as was witnessed in the Dakota Access Pipeline matter.
- Climate Change and Other Environmental Policies. Like other Trump proposals this has potentially a strong upside, but also will raise concerns for a number of tribes.
- Upside. By easing climate change restrictions, energy development will be easier and energy consumption will likely increase creating a stronger market for tribal energy products.
- Downside. Most Tribal Nations do not export energy, but several tribal communities are immediately threatened by the impact of climate change, including those along coastlines and those impacted by wildfires; more broadly, Indian communities have strong environmental values, having experienced environmental degradation at the hands of non-Indians for decades if not centuries, and are generally concerned about the easing of environmental restrictions.
- Executive Order. Briefly Describe the Content of the President’s Executive Order on Climate Change and positions taken by EPA director Scott Pruitt.
National Congress of American Indians
- The Administration & Indian Country
- What to expect–White House & Congress this year
- What is the Climate?
- What does this mean for Indian Country?
- Areas of Potential Concern
- Tribal priorities
Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt
- Tribal Lands
- Tribal Control
- International Borders/Immigration
- Economic Development/Tax Reform
Who Should Attend:
- Native American Affairs Lawyers
- Governmental Affairs Lawyers
- Labor and Employment Lawyers
- Land Use Lawyers
- Environmental Lawyers
- Tax Lawyers
- Lobbying Firms
Gregory Smith is a partner in the DC office of Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP, a law firm dedicated to the representation of tribes and tribal interests. For nearly 30 years, Mr. Smith has provided a broad range of legal and legislative services to tribal governments and tribal organizations. He continues to represent a number of tribes and serves as general counsel to: United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc.; National Indian Education Association, National Council of Urban Indian Health; and the National Indian Head Start Directors Association. A graduate of Yale College and Cornell Law School, Mr. Smith was named “Indian Child Advocate of the Year” in 2008. Among other positions, he is the co-chair of the National Council of the National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian Institution).
Gregory Smith is a partner in the DC office of Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP, a law firm dedicated …
Denise Desiderio is Policy Director at the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). NCAI, founded in 1944, is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities. As Policy Director, Denise oversees the advocacy work of NCAI in Congress and the Administration on behalf of tribal governments.
Denise comes to NCAI with nearly 20 years of experience in Indian affairs. Prior to joining NCAI, Denise spent 5 years with the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs leaving as Deputy Staff Director in 2014. Denise had the opportunity to work with three Chairs of the Committee, Senators Dorgan, Akaka and Cantwell. During her time on the Committee, Denise oversaw the legislative and oversight agenda of the Committee. Prior to joining the Committee, Denise worked in the Administration at both the Department of the Interior in the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs office and at the National Indian Gaming Commission.
Denise has a B.A. from Marymount University and a Juris Doctor from George Washington Law School. Denise is a citizen of the Sappony Tribe.
Denise Desiderio is Policy Director at the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). NCAI, founded in 1944, is the oldest, …
Sarah Lawson works with tribal governments and tribal entities nationwide to help them achieve their self-governance and economic development goals, while protecting tribal resources and tribal sovereignty. Before joining Schwabe, Sarah spent over 10 years working in tribal government, advising tribal councils and tribal departments on a variety of matters. Sarah’s work is particularly focused on tribal tax and real estate matters, and she is widely regarded as an authority on issues involving Indian trust land.
Sarah earned her B.A. from the University of Michigan, J.D. from the University of Wisconsin, and L.L.M. in Tax from the University of Washington. She is an enrolled member of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska.
Sarah Lawson works with tribal governments and tribal entities nationwide to help them achieve their self-governance and economic development goals, while protecting tribal resources and tribal sovereignty. Before …
Print and review course materials
Method of Presentation:
Experience in Native American law
NASBA Field of Study:
Specialized Knowledge - Technical
NY Category of CLE Credit:
Areas of Professional Practice
Unlock All The Knowledge and Credit You Need
Leading Provider of Online Continuing Education
It's As Easy as 1, 2, 3
Get Your 1-Year All Access Pass For Only $199
National Congress of American Indians
About Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP
For 35 years, Hobbs Straus has worked to help tribes realize positive change in Indian Country. We are committed to providing Indian and Alaska Native tribes and tribal organizations with the highest quality legal services and advocacy. And our extensive and unique experience allows us to understand the challenges tribal governments face in the context of Indian law’s past, present, and future.
The foundation of our practice is built on our recognition that tribes have an inherent right to self- government and matters related to tribal sovereignty permeate all practice areas. Promoting and defending tribal sovereignty is the backbone of our practice.
Since 1982, Hobbs Straus has represented tribal interests before federal, state and tribal governments. We have represented numerous tribal clients before tribal and federal courts, including a number of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. We combine that insight with a thorough understanding of the complex issues surrounding local tribal law, tribal custom, and federal Indian law. In addition to tribal governments and tribal entities, our clients include national Indian organizations such as the National Congress of American Indians and Americans for Indian Opportunity as well as national and regional Indian organizations representing the education, housing, health, child welfare, and gaming interests of Indian tribes and Indian people.
Hobbs Straus is a national law firm with offices in Washington, DC, Portland, OR, Oklahoma City, OK, and Sacramento, CA.
About National Congress of American Indians
About Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt is a law firm that offers a new type of client experience based on a deep industry focus. We provide full spectrum legal services to our clients through comprehensive, proactive and industry-focused support to help them achieve their goals. We are more than a collection of lawyers; we are partners in our clients’ businesses. Our understanding of key industry sectors allows us to help clients achieve success through ideas, advice, and exceptional legal counsel. With more than 165 attorneys, Schwabe is one of the largest Pacific Northwest regional law firms, with offices in Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Bend, Eugene, Salem and Mountain View, CA.