National NALSA Board has San Diego Connections

By: Gabriela M. Rios | Law Clerk |
Theodore J. Griswold | Partner |

The National Native American Law Students Association (NNALSA) Board announced its 2015 Executive Board on October 27, 2015 and San Diego is well represented. The Native American Law Practice Group at Procopio would like to extend congratulations to Anna Hohag and Alexandra Mojado on their recent appointments.

Anna Hohag, a citizen of the Bishop Paiute Tribe, was elected to be the Area 1 Representative, which covers Arizona, California, Hawai`i, and Nevada. Anna was a recipient of the 2015 Procopio Native American Law Internship Program at the San Diego office. Prior to interning at Procopio, Anna worked for the Pala Band of Mission Indians as a tribal liaison. She primarily focused on land and environmental issues for the tribe. Anna is now in her second year at the University of Arizona College of Law.

Alexandra Mojado, of the Pala Band of Mission Indians, was elected to serve as Secretary on the National NALSA Board of Directors. Prior to law school Alexandra was a graduate student at UCLA focusing on Public Law 280 and its impact on domestic violence. She is now in her second year at the University of Arizona College of Law.

National NALSA promotes the study of Federal Indian Law and supports Native American students in law school. It also seeks to educate the broader legal community about Native issues by hosting an annual moot court competition and writing competition. A link to the entire board can be found here.

As an active partner in the San Diego Native American community, Procopio’s Native American Law Practice Group is proud to see local Native American law students taking an active role in the Native American legal community at the national level. The firm would like to wish them success on the National NALSA Board and in their future endeavors.

Gabriela is a citizen of the Cahuilla Band of Indians and currently clerking for Procopio. She graduated from the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona in 2015 and is awaiting July bar results.

Ted is head of the Native American Law Practice Group and primary editor for the Blogging Circle. Connect with Ted at and 619.515.3277

Indigenous San Diego App Launches at 72nd NCAI Conference


By: Theodore J. Griswold | Partner |

As the Native American Practice Group leader at Procopio, I work in the community with strong, thoughtful leaders who are on the frontlines of self-governance and defining the contours of sovereignty nationally and internationally.  It is from this place that Procopio works in partnership with the Maataam Naka Shin and Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association (SCTCA) to release a first-of-its-kind mobile application designed to raise interest and awareness about San Diego’s Indigenous museums, exhibits, businesses, lands and public sites of interest. This app can lead to increased understanding of indigenous communities, greater economic self-determination and empower tribally-owned businesses by connecting residents and visitors to the City of San Diego with Native places of interest in our community.

And it couldn’t come at a better time. The free app, called Indigenous San Diego, premieres this week at the 72nd National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Convention and Marketplace where more than 4,000 participants from the 567 tribal governments are expected to attend.  While its initial release will be focused on the NCAI Convention, the app will have much broader appeal, and it will continue to grow in both scope and in its use.

We will be at the Marketplace in Booth 106 to explain more about the Indigenous San Diego app and provide assistance on how to download it.  We would love to meet you and hear of your ideas and what you would like to read about in upcoming Blogging Circle posts.

We are extremely proud to be part of this exciting initiative in which we leverage technology to increase public awareness and understanding of historic and current actions of Tribal communities, and in doing so, further knowledge about this vital part of the San Diego culture and economy.

The mobile app can be downloaded on Procopio’s website here.   Features connect users to:

  • Tribal museums
  • Cultural trails and landmarks
  • Public museums with indigenous exhibits
  • Tribal-owned businesses
  • Tribal lands
  • Higher education

Griswold 2013Ted is the leader of the Native American Law practice group and primary editor for the Blogging Circle. He works to connect tribal leaders in the community and create spaces for community development and economic empowerment in Indian Country in his practice. Connect with Ted at and 619.515.3277.

California is the First State to Ban the R-word Mascot

By: Anna Hohag | Intern |

Theodore J. Griswold | Partner |

This past Sunday Governor Gerald Brown signed into law the California “California Racial Mascots Act”(Assembly Bill 30), making California the first state in the country to officially ban the use of the derogatory “r*dskins” mascot, nickname, and team name in public schools.

Currently, there are only four public schools in California still bearing the r*dskins name; however the consequences of this law could extend well beyond these schools. As Ray Halbritter, the leader of the “Change the Name” campaign and Oneida Nation Representative, opined, “As California goes, the country goes.”  Once states begin banning use of derogatory terms like the R-word and social awareness increases on the issue, Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Football team, may finally have no choice but to do what is right and change the name. Continue reading

Tribes Not “Persons” Under the Federal Credit Reporting Act, Immune From Individual Suit

Tribes Not “Persons” Under the Federal Credit Reporting Act

By: Sandra L. Shippey | Partner |

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin held on September 4, 2015 that the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin (the “Oneida Tribe”) is immune from the suit by an individual plaintiff for alleged violations of federal lending laws. The suit alleged that on three occasions in February 2015, establishments owned and operated by the Oneida Tribe printed receipts displaying more than the last five digits of Plaintiff’s credit card number and the expiration date, in violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). 15 U.S.C. § 1681c(g)(1). The Oneida Tribe argued that the plaintiff’s claims were barred under the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity, among other things. Continue reading

The Internal Revenue Service Addresses the Federal Income Taxation of Per Capita Distributions to Tribal Members

By: Eric D. Swenson | Senior Counsel |
Theodore J. Griswold | Partner |

On September 18, 2015, in Notice 2015-67 (the “Notice”), the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued final guidance on the federal income tax treatment of per capita distributions made to Tribal Members from funds held in Tribal Trust Accounts. See entire Notice here.

By way of background, it has been long standing law that Tribal Members are U.S. citizens and, similar to other U.S. citizens, are subject to federal income taxes on their receipt of income. See Squire v. Capoeman, 351 U.S. 1 (1956) (per capita distributions of net gaming revenues taxable). Continue reading