NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR PROCOPIO’S SUMMER 2018 NATIVE AMERICAN LAW INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR PROCOPIO_S SUMMER 2018 NATIVE AMERICAN LAW INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

By:      Theodore J. Griswold | Partner | ted.griswold@procopio.com

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 of this engaging opportunity.

The Native American Law Internship provides an opportunity for two Native American law students to gain hands-on experience dealing with everyday legal issues facing Native American communities.  Interns are involved in matters that deal with specific Indian law-related legal practice matters and other legal problems facing tribal governments and Native entities.  Procopio Interns reach out to local Native American youth to provide guidance and inspiration regarding educational direction and opportunities.

Interns join a nationwide network of the next generation of Native American Law attorneys in an active alumni program consisting of judicial clerks, governmental attorneys and associates at law firms.  Following the internship, we remain active with our alumni to mentor and prepare them for their success in the industry.  If you are interested in where the past interns have directed their professional paths following their summer at Procopio, see our recent update here.

To learn more about our practice area and legal issues affecting Native Americans, you may consider subscribing to our blog by clicking follow on the bottom left of this page.  Then, each week, you will receive up-to-date information relating to law, policy and current events in Indian Country from Procopio attorneys and guest contributors.

Applications are due Tuesday, October 31st by 5 p.m. PST.

Internship applications should include:

  1. A writing sample
  2. Law school transcript
  3. Resume
  4. Cover letter identifying why this is an opportunity you would like to pursue, any tribal governmental experience you have and why Native American legal issues are significant to you.

The program is ten weeks and begins after May 15, 2018.  Applications can be emailed to: ted.griswold@procopio.com or sent via USPS mail to:

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch, LLP
Attention: Ted Griswold
525 B Street, Suite 2200
San Diego, California, 92101

Our team looks forward to learning more about you, your interests and adding to our nationwide network of Procopio Alumni throughout Indian Country – please apply today!

Ted GriswoldTed Griswold is head of Procopio’s Native American Law Practice Group and primary editor for the Blogging Circle. Connect with Ted at ted.griswold@procopio.com and 619.515.3277.

 

BLOGGING ALL OVER THE WORLD IN 2016

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By:      Ted J. Griswold | Partner | ted.griswold@procopio.com

As we look forward to what 2017 may bring, we thought that it might be instructive to review our readers’ interests in 2016.  Thanks to those more tech savvy than yours truly, I was able to determine that the Blogging Circle was read in 10 countries around the globe over the past year.  Readers from the USA, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, India and Australia—all countries with active indigenous populations—were somewhat predictable, but gaining readership in in the UK, Italy and Ireland was a bit more surprising.  It tells us that there is a diverse audience out there that is looking to learn more about Native American legal issues that may be applicable to their local situation, wherever that is.

What were people looking for?  The top 10 Blogging Circle articles reviewed in 2016 were:

1. No Dice for California Indian Casinos?

2. Aviation in Indian Country: Seminole Tribe of Florida

3. “What’s Up? Native American Aviation and Airspace

4. Standing Rock Sioux Water Protectors Win a Battle, But More Battles to Come

5. Pride or Prejudice: Native Regalia and Graduation Ceremonies

6. Bully’s Beware: Tribal Elected Officials CAN be Sued in State Court

7. Indian Tribes May Gain Relief from NLRB Actions

8. Where are they now? 9 and Counting…The Procopio Native American Internship Alumni

9. Increasing the Numbers: Effective Recruitment of Native American Law Students (Guest column)

10. Now Accepting Applications for Procopio’s Summer 2017 Native American Law Internship Program

We appreciate your interest and hope that you enjoyed reading the Blogging Circle this year, and we look forward to surprising you with additional relevant, entertaining and newsworthy articles next year.  Wishing you a happy, safe and prosperous New Year.

Ted GriswoldTed is head of the Native American Law practice group and primary editor for the Blogging Circle. Connect with Ted at ted.griswold@procopio.com and 619.515.3277.

NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR PROCOPIO’S SUMMER 2017 NATIVE AMERICAN LAW INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

now-accepting-applications-for-procopios-summer-2017-native-american-law-internship-program

By:      Theodore J. Griswold | Partner | ted.griswold@procopio.com

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 of this engaging opportunity.

The Native American Law Internship provides an opportunity for two Native American law students to gain hands-on experience dealing with everyday legal issues facing Native American communities.  Interns are involved in matters that deal with specific Indian law-related legal practice matters and other legal problems facing tribal governments and Native entities.  Procopio Interns reach out to local Native American youth to provide guidance and inspiration regarding educational direction and opportunities.

Interns join a nationwide network of the next generation of Native American Law attorneys in an active alumni program consisting of judicial clerks, governmental attorneys and associates at law firms.  Following the internship, we remain active with our alumni to mentor and prepare them for their success in the industry.  If you are interested in where the past interns have directed their professional paths following their summer at Procopio, see our spring 2016 update here.  Our most recent interns, Kele Bigknife and Heather Torres, have returned to their final years at University of Michigan and UCLA Law Schools.

To learn more about our practice area and legal issues affecting Native Americans, you may consider subscribing to our blog by clicking follow on the bottom left of this page.  Then, each week, you will receive up-to-date information relating to law, policy and current events in Indian Country from Procopio attorneys and guest contributors.

Applications are due Friday, October 28th by 5 p.m. PST.

Internship applications should include:

  1. A writing sample
  2. Law school transcript
  3. Resume
  4. Cover letter identifying why this is an opportunity you would like to pursue, any tribal governmental experience you have and why Native American legal issues are significant to you.

The program is ten weeks and begins after May 15, 2017.  Applications can be emailed to: ted.griswold@procopio.com or sent via USPS mail to:

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch, LLP
Attention: Ted Griswold
525 B Street, Suite 2200
San Diego, California, 92101

Our team looks forward to learning more about you, your interests and adding to our nationwide network of Procopio Alumni throughout Indian Country – please apply today!

Ted GriswoldTed Griswold is head of Procopio’s Native American Law Practice Group and primary editor for the Blogging Circle. Connect with Ted at ted.griswold@procopio.com and 619.515.3277.

 

DISTRESSED TRIBAL COMMUNITIES (PROMISE) ZONED TO A BETTER FUTURE

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By: Kele Bigknife | Intern | bigknife@umich.edu

Theodore J. Griswold | Partner | ted.griswold@procopio.com

The Promise Zone Initiative was launched under the Obama administration in January 2014 to designate and aid a number of high-poverty urban, rural, and tribal communities to create jobs, increase economic security, expand educational opportunities, increase access to quality, affordable housing and improve public safety.  A community seeking designation was tasked with detailing how the Promise Zone designation would help accelerate and strengthen the community’s efforts for revitalization.  Selection as a Promise Zone partners the community with federal government liaisons to help the community gain a competitive advantage in applying for federal grants and loans, and to streamline the federal bureaucracy.  The goals of the program include boosting economic activity and job growth, leveraging private investment, expanding educational opportunities, and the secondary benefit of reducing violent crime.

The third and final round of selections for Promise Zone Communities was announced earlier this summer, and two tribes are among the nine additions.  The Spokane Tribe of Washington and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota join the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota (second-round admits), and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (first-round admits) as “Promise Zone” communities.

The Promise Zone’s tag-line reads “a child’s zip code should never determine her destiny.”  The effects of being raised in an impoverished community historically correlates to the child’s odds of graduating high school, her health outcomes, and her lifetime economic opportunities.  Many tribal areas have seen the devastating effects of poverty, and have suffer from a lack of housing, jobs, health services, and educational opportunities.  However, with the help of the Promise Zone program, hope has returned to some of these communities.

Moreover, the program works.  The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is one of the oldest tribal communities in the US, and has seen some areas of its reservation at a poverty rate of nearly 52%. After receiving the Promise Zone designation, the tribe has received close to $100 million in federal investments that have funded new affordable housing, a health clinic, child development programs, a community center, and rural development projects that have provided some citizens with access to potable water for the first time.  Additionally, the Choctaw Nation has secured $21 million in New Markets Tax Credits to build an environmentally sustainable steel manufacturing facility, which will support approximately 300 new jobs in the region.

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Sioux Tribe once faced poverty rates higher than 49% of their population, and has seen similar economic advances as the Choctaw Nation since being designated a Promise Zone.  The reservation has expanded access to high-speed internet, built water and sewage infrastructure within the community, and supported an after school meal program through the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program.

With these Promise Zone tribal success stories, the future appears brighter for The Spokane Tribe of Washington and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.  Some of the proposed plans for these tribes include creating jobs through investments in renewable energy, constructing affordable houses, establishing technology centers and regional food hubs, and reducing crime by updating law and order codes and community policing strategies.

If you are a tribal official or member of a distressed tribal community who missed out on this round of the initiative, there are still many ways to benefit from the program.  The US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website maintains a comprehensive list of federal grant opportunities for distressed communities.  Communities who did not receive Promise Zone designations are welcome to apply for any of these grants and work toward their own, more promising future.

Kele Bigknife is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and is in his third year at the University of Michigan Law School. He is a member of the Editorial Board for the Michigan Business and Entrepreneurial Law Review. Kele is a recipient of the 2016 Procopio Native American Internship.

Ted GriswoldTed is head of the Native American Law practice group and primary editor for the Blogging Circle. Connect with Ted at ted.griswold@procopio.com and 619.515.3277.

Tribe Beats Beer Behemoth in Trademark Settlement

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By: Kele Bigknife | Intern | kele.bigknife@procopio.com

Theodore J. Griswold | Partner | ted.griswold@procopio.com

In June, the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina filed suit in federal court against beer giant, Anheuser-Busch LLC (AB), and one of its distributors R.A. Jeffreys Distributing Co. LLC, alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition, and unfair and deceptive practices. Without the Tribe’s permission, AB and R.A. Jeffreys used the Tribe’s logo mark and slogan mark in promotional material advertising Budweiser and Bud-Light alcohol products at multiple convenience stores near the Lumbee reservation.

The lawsuit claimed that AB’s use of the allegedly infringing marks led to a significant amount of confusion within the community and among consumers, creating a false impression in the minds of the public that the Lumbee Tribe had approved of AB’s products being sold under its logo and slogan. According to the complaint, many members of the Lumbee Tribe found the advertising offensive because alcohol abuse is often associated with Native American communities.

AB and R.A. Jeffreys quickly settled the lawsuit with the Tribe in exchange for a “sizeable donation” to one of the Tribe’s nonprofits, cessation of the advertising campaign, and an apology for the improper use. The Tribe has announced that the settlement money will go towards supporting education and youth programs.

This story is an example that even against a huge multi-billion dollar corporation, a Tribe should fight to protect its valuable intellectual property rights and ensure that a Tribe’s name, customs and culture are not abused for third party financial gain. It also exemplifies the importance of Tribal Governments trademarking their identity to protect their image and expedite resolution when abuse occurs.

Kele Bigknife is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and is entering his third year at the University of Michigan Law School. He is a member of the Editorial Board for the Michigan Business and Entrepreneurial Law Review. Kele is a recipient of the 2016 Procopio Native American Internship.

Ted GriswoldTed is head of the Native American Law practice group and primary editor for the Blogging Circle. Connect with him at ted.griswold@procopio.com and 619.515.3277.

 

 

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 tribal citizens.  Under the General Welfare Exclusion, the value of what is provided to the recipient is  not be taxable under the General Welfare Doctrine if the particular program requires that the recipient show financial need.  Under the new IRS Rule, the IRS is removing this “financial need” requirement for Indian Tribal programs that draft their programs in accordance with the rules set forth in the IRS Revenue Procedure.

Examples of benefits that are generally not taxable under the General Welfare Exclusion, where financial need is a requirement, include health coverage, educational assistance, sustenance payments (e.g., utilities), relocation assistance, and disaster relief.  These services are affected by this Ruling.  Tribal governments operating social welfare programs should review their program terms to avoid exposing Tribal citizens to the risk of potential and unnecessary taxable income that could otherwise be excluded.  Amending the program terms could also remove exposure of the Tribe to penalties for failing to properly treat such benefits for tax purposes.

To find a more detailed discussion on this issue, click here.

Ted is head of the Native American Law practice group and primary editor for the Blogging Circle. Connect with Ted at ted.griswold@procopio.com and 619.515.3277.

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 with a simple shot of a Washington helmet on a football field to convey the message. The ad was developed by the National Congress of American Indians, and paid for by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation tribe in California. It was targeted to be aired during the Superbowl, but extraordinary airtime costs kept it from being seen on television’s biggest forum.

This week, the U.S. Patent Office agreed with the ad’s sentiment, when it ruled that the R-word nickname is “disparaging to Native Americans” and that the six registered trademarks that involve the R-word must be canceled. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board found that “substantial composite of Native Americans found the term REDSKINS to be disparaging in connection with respondent’s services during the relevant time frame…” Blackhorse, et al v. Pro-Football, Inc., Cancellation No. 92046185, Board Decision, pg. 72 (June 18, 2014).

Momentum for the campaign to get Washington to change its nickname is building. Like so many social movements that succeed because of public pressure, this one may ultimately be victorious because the American people will finally say enough, or because the Washington Football team will get hit in its pocketbook when it can’t protect its team name from use by others. This issue may ultimately be resolved by financial cost, but money has nothing to do with why teams should stop using Native Americans as mascots.

It remains perplexing and sad that Native Americans are still being used as mascots all over the country, and that the R-word is still being used for that team in the Nation’s capitol. Advocates for using Native Americans as mascots state that Native American names and tribes are used in “respectful ways”, and it is done to “honor” the tribes by making them “positive mascots”. This contention misses the point.   The point is that Native Americans are people, living and working in modern America. They are not a thought or an idea of what a Native American is, they are Native Americans. When a team uses a Native American tribe as a mascot, it is not allowing the American people to see Native Americans as everyday people in their communities. It is a dehumanizing effect that can be corrected.

The legal proceedings in Blackhorse will continue, as there is little doubt that the football team will appeal. However, public awareness can change. People can choose not to support the disparagement of Native American people as mascots by their individual actions. “Proud, forgotten, Indian. . . . rancher, teacher, doctor, soldier.” These are the appropriate images of Native America. Maybe over time this idea will sink in, and replace those archaic ones that are caricatures of a Native American.

Eric Abeita is a member of the Isleta Pueblo and is entering his third year at the University of New Mexico School of Law. Eric is a recipient of the 2014 Procopio Native American Internship.

Procopio trademark attorney Megan E. McCarthy is preparing a more thorough analysis of the 177 page Blackhorse case which will be posted here in the near future. Please check back for Megan’s analysis.
[1] See the NCAI ad at http://www.youtube.com/user/NCAI1944.

Ted is head of the Native American Law practice group and primary editor for the Blogging Circle. Connect with Ted at ted.griswold@procopio.com and 619.515.3277.