By:      Ted J. Griswold | Partner |

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 and 619.515.3277.

No Dice for California Indian Casinos?

By:     Kele Bigknife | Intern |

Theodore J. Griswold | Partner |

If you have ever ventured onto the gaming floor of one of the many Indian casinos in California, you have likely been puzzled by the diceless craps tables, or the roulette games conspicuously missing the iconic ball-bearing wheel. These games are often wildly popular in casinos. The history behind these creative work-arounds lies in the origins of gambling in California, the enactment of California’s Gambling Control laws, and Tribal-state gaming compacts negotiated as early as 1999.

Beginning largely in the mid-1800’s, the allure of “striking it rich in the west” brought copious amounts of miners to the golden-state of California in search of their share of the riches. As settlement camps grew larger with an abundance of mostly risk-loving men, gambling tents flourished. However, soon after, public opinion turned in the United States with many viewing gambling as socially immoral. In 1860, California banned all banked games (games where the player bets against the house) with Penal Code § 330. Fast forward to the mid-1980’s, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decision in California v. Cabazon, which concluded that while States in a Public Law 280 state could prohibit activities on Tribal lands as part of a general law, if the activity is regulated rather than prohibited, the State did not have jurisdiction. This decision culminated in the passage of the 1988 federal gaming statute, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

IGRA provides the legislative and regulatory framework for Tribes to establish gaming operations in an effort to promote tribal economic development, self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments. IGRA defines three classes of games that each have their own regulatory scheme, with Class III including the games commonly associated with Las Vegas-style gambling including roulette and craps. Before a Tribe can lawfully operate a class III gaming operation, Tribes must do the following: (1) look to see if the chosen form of class III gaming is regulated in the state where the Tribe is located, (2) negotiate a compact with the state that is approved by the Secretary of the Interior, and (3) adopt a Tribal gaming ordinance that has been approved by the Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission.

In 1999, the Governor of California negotiated gaming compacts with many of California’s federally recognized Indian Tribes. As part of these Tribal-state negotiations, house-banked card games were regulated, but certain games such as craps, roulette, and dice-games based on chance remained prohibited under the state constitution and laws. Essentially, California forbids games where a ball or dice alone determines the outcome. With these restrictions in mind, Tribal casinos got clever and invented new games that simulated the same or similar odds to craps and roulette, but retained the legal definition of house-banked card games.

California Roulette varies from casino to casino, but the idea remains consistent. Players wager bets on a typical roulette layout, but the ultimate winning pick is based on a card numbered and colored identical to that of a roulette wheel. Some casinos have a spinning card wheel that uses a flapper to stop on the winning card. Others casinos draw three random cards and place them face-down on three regions on the table labeled “1-12”, “13-24”, and “25-36”; representative of the range of numbers. A roulette wheel is spun, and the number range that the ball lands in determines which card is flipped over to reveal the winning card.

California Craps sidesteps the dice “chance” prohibition by using a combination of dice and playing cards, or cards alone. Again, the variations differ from casino to casino, but the essential idea is that cards are representative of the winning “dice” numbers, thus making it a house-banked card game.

The California Division of Gambling Control has released Tribal Casino Advisory bulletins in favor of allowing California Roulette and diceless forms of California Craps, but has explicitly called out some variations of California Craps, stating that it considers any house-banked games played with dice, whether or not they incorporate the use of cards, to be unauthorized Class III gaming activities. While these advisory opinions have scared some Tribes into doing away with any form of craps or roulette, it is important to remember that the advisory opinions do not constitute legal advice. As long as Tribes can continue to present the viable argument that the particular game is a house-banked card game, the Tribal casinos are functioning within the boundaries of their Compacts, and players can continue to “roll the dice.”

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 and 619.515.3277.

Beware of Illicit Marijuana Grown on Tribal Lands

By: Hazel Ocampo | Associate |
Theodore J. Griswold | Partner |


Tribal lands are in danger of becoming the target for illicit marijuana grows, which may expose Tribes to hefty fines. Last year, the state of California experienced a massive growth of marijuana cultivation by illicit operations on public forest and park land.

In response, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 165, authorizing severe civil fines against unauthorized marijuana grows causing damage to land managed by the United States Bureau of Land Management, and other state and federal agencies. The law recognizes that illicit marijuana grows lead to water theft and resource degradation. Last year, illicit marijuana growers diverted 5 million gallons of water from rivers and streams, introduced toxic pesticides, and caused the unauthorized discharge of waste into state waterways.

The new law attempts to curtail the harmful environmental consequences resulting from illicit marijuana grow sites. The law permits fines of up to $40,000 for the illegal dumping of hazardous materials into rivers or streams, and up to $10,000 for the unlawful diversion or obstruction of streams or rivers in connection to illicit marijuana grows. These fines will be assessed by courts and by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife.

So what does this have to do with Native American lands? Potential unintended consequences with steep fines looming for illicit cultivation on state public lands, growers will be looking for a new “safe haven” to grow their product. In many instances, they may be looking at tribal lands as that “safe haven,” which can be a significant detriment to an unknowing tribal community. The best defense for tribal governments is awareness, diligence and the creation of their own protective measures so that illicit growers can be efficiently expelled.

Hazel is an Associate on the environmental team at Procopio as well as an active member of Procopio’s Native American Practice Group. Her practice focuses on environmental law, including climate change, clean technology and sustainability. Hazel regularly assists state and federal government agencies on project permitting involving the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). She also represents businesses and individuals on permitting, compliance and enforcement matters under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, Superfund and the Endangered Species Act.

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.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Approves Sale of City’s Share in Navajo Generating Station

By: Nikke Alex | Intern
Theodore J. Griswold | Partner |

Last week, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Commissioners approved a sale of the city’s share of the Navajo Generating Station to the Salt River Project. As a part of the agreement, LADWP pushed for an early retirement of one of the three 750 megawatt units at NGS. However, the early retirement of the unit was not an explicit condition of the sale.

The NGS, a 2,250 megawatt coal-fired power plant, is located on the Navajo Nation near Page, Arizona. For more than 50 years, NGS has supplied electricity to customers in California, Arizona and Nevada, yet many Navajo homes lack running water and electricity. NGS also supplies electricity to pump water through the Central Arizona Project (CAP) – the largest aqueduct system in the United States. The CAP supplies water to nine tribal communities in Arizona and New Mexico. The stake holders of NGS are now the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Salt River Project, Arizona Public Service Company, Nevada Power Company, and Tucson Electric Power Company.

In 2013, former Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, announced Los Angeles will phase out electricity supplied by coal by 2019. Currently, LADWP purchases electricity from NGS in Arizona and Intermountain Power Project in Utah. LADWP owns a 21.2% share of NGS but does not own a share of the Intermountain Power Project.

Since NGS is located on tribal land, the site lease is contingent upon Navajo Nation Council approval. In 2013, the Navajo Council and Navajo President approved a lease extension through 2044 despite community concerns regarding air quality and public health. The issues surrounding NGS have been complex. Since municipalities and cities demand energy and the CAP requires electricity to supply water to Phoenix and Tucson, the Navajo Nation lease with NGS fuels the Navajo Nation with much needed predictable revenue, and NGS helps the U.S. federal government fulfil Indian water-rights settlements. As large cities are transitioning to cleaner energy sources, utility operational plans should include a strategy to transition to cleaner energy sources in order to end reliance on the coal-fired NGS that is powered by coal extracted from Navajo lands.

Nikke Alex is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and is entering her third year at the University New Mexico School of Law. Nikke was the former Executive Director of the Black Mesa Water Coalition, an environmental justice non-profit that worked to replace coal-fired power plants with renewable energy. Nikke is a recipient of the 2015 Procopio Native American Internship.

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.

40 Questions Tribal Governments Should Consider When Discussing Whether to Undertake a Cannabis Business

By: Theodore J. Griswold | Partner |
Stephanie Conduff | Law Clerk |

The prospects of cannabis cultivation and sales in Indian Country are hot topics, with uncertainty the part of every conversation. The immediate discussions regarding the business of Tribal cannabis development often creates more questions than it does solutions for Indian Country. But is your Tribal Government asking all of the right questions?

With the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) October 2014 Policy Statement, Tribal Governments find themselves in a changing legal landscape, and it is likely to change even more in the coming months and years. Just last week, the Senate introduced legislation that hinted to the intent of Congress regarding increasing cannabis availability throughout the Veteran’s Administration (here).

With the uncertain atmosphere surrounding the Tribal cannabis industry, we thought that it would be good to issue-spot some of the formative questions that a Tribal Government should be discussing as they consider new opportunities within the cannabis industry. These are not comprehensive, but hopefully they will start the conversation as you identify the primary concerns within your community.

40 Questions Tribal Governments Should Consider

Reliability Questions

  1. The DOJ Policy does not legalize cannabis use or sale—it uses prosecutorial discretion to create a policy of tolerance. Does the DOJ Policy Statement mark a permanent shift in policy that you can rely on?
  2. Is there a risk of that Policy changing with a Presidential or Congressional change?

Legal Questions 

  1. Is your state a Public Law 280 state? How does Public Law 280 affect the legality of the business?
  1. If the Tribal Government sells the cannabis in an edible form or in other packaged forms, are there other federal laws that apply?
  1. If your business is enforced against, are your assets safe? How can you protect your assets from forfeiture proceedings?
  1. If this DOJ industry tolerance is deemed illegal, are the contracts with vendors, consultants, and others in the cannabis business matters enforceable?
  1. Is the Tribal Government willing to agree to limited waivers of sovereign immunity in your contracts?

Tribal Policy Questions

  1. Many Tribal Governments take steps to protect the youth from drug paraphernalia or references in the community. Will the cannabis business confuse your message?
  1. Will you allow a cannabis business advertising like shirts, pens and other things that youth can wear or take to school? Or what will your public service campaign look like for tribal youth?
  1. How will you conduct Tribal drug testing of employees if you have a Tribal Code that regulates cannabis use in the Tribal Government’s jurisdiction?
  1. What other employee policies will have to change in response to these Tribal laws?
  1. Will employees working in the cannabis business or using the business be eligible to drive federal General Services Administration (GSA) fleet vehicles?
  1. Do you have a Tribal Controlled Substances Code, and what is required to ensure your Tribal Government is being mindful of the Department of Justice (DOJ) memorandum?
  1. How will this affect Tribal elders, Tribal youth, and other citizens?
  1. What internal controls will you have in your businesses to control the handling of cannabis products and cash?
  2. What specific steps do you need to take to regulate and then operate/allow cannabis business on the Tribal land?
  1. Are you interested in marketing cannabis? Growing cannabis? Or both? These actions are very different endeavors and are treated differently by the DOJ policy.

Health and Safety Questions

  1. The Tribal Government has a responsibility for public safety. How will you ensure safe grows and the safety of your firefighters, or Fire Dancers?
  1. What is your security plan for the business, its facilities and operations and the employees?
  1. Will you create a “cannabis card” or registration process to be able to track product flow and destination?
  1. If this is a cash business, how will cash be handled? Will you allow armed guards on Tribal land?

Relationship Questions

  1. Neighbors and others who have opposed gaming or economic ventures may oppose cannabis development. Who are your local adversaries and how will they complicate your business? Will they pursue the federal, county or state government to regulate you?
  1. Will this affect your relationship on Capitol Hill and with Congress on any future appropriations?
  1. Will this affect other federal grants or programs that you are operating which have drug testing or other behavioral requirements?
  1. How will you screen those who want to do business with the Tribal government?
  1. What processes are you going to use to ensure the contracting is done consistent with Tribal law and with Tribal transparency (i.e. following Request for Proposals, Native Preference, etc.)?
  1. Does a cannabis business require Secretarial Approval through the Department of Interior for land use or business agreements?
  1. Are any of the financing or cannabis business agreements considered management contracts under the NIGA?
  1. Is there a reason to compact with the state to share in the tax revenues to ensure a “safe harbor”?
  1. Will you sell products at a lower price because of lower taxation within the Tribal Governments’ jurisdiction like in tobacco sales?
  1. Will you use the tax revenue for a specific health community need to offset social impacts?
  1. Is this a political issue for tribal leadership that could divide the Tribal citizens or lead to political instability?

Practical Questions

  1. There may be large amounts of cash that the Tribal Government cannot deposit into a bank because of current banking regulations. Where will you keep the money? Will you use armored cars? How will you handle cash and product transportation?
  1. Can the cash received from the remittance of taxes be handled differently from the business profits relative to banking deposits?
  1. The Tribal Government may need to create physical barriers, like bulletproof glass, at the point of sale or place where taxes are remitted in cash. What type of security will be necessary at the site to protect Tribal employees?
  1. Given the cash dependency, the Tribal Government may be under increased scrutiny by the IRS and other investigative entities in the federal government. Do you want to invite this increased security? How will you prepare for such potential auditing?
  1. Banking institutions have federal restrictions on deposits from “illegal” businesses. Who will you bank with now and will they accept your deposits?
  1. The Tribal Government may have issues with their 401(k) provider, insurance carrier, and other benefits providers. Will these affect your insurance carrier and coverage rates?
  1. This is a new industry–are the other consultants, dispensaries, and others interesting in doing business with the tribal government ethical, trustworthy and established?
  1. History has shown us that new business such as gaming can be profitable for many Tribal governments, but the risk must be weighed. This industry must be approached in a similar way – with open dialogue, solid guidance, and wisdom. Who will work with you through this process?

Procopio is in a position to assist tribal governments work through these questions.

Please subscribe to our blog and you will be notified of an upcoming blog post on the: Social, Political and Cultural Ramifications of Marijuana Legalization in Indian Country.

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.

Stephanie Conduff, a Tribal citizen, works with tribal governments and citizens on Capitol Hill on issues of regulation, self-governance, and self-determination.

Peacemaking, Restorative Justice and Empowering Native Communities

By: Stephanie Conduff | Law Clerk |
Theodore J. Griswold | Partner |

I am a certified peacemaker.

How so? How many of our readers know what that means? Raise your hands? Okay, that’s what I thought…

At this point, you may imagine me calming the nerves of family members or even that of co-workers at the water cooler. Maybe you envision a circle and a talking piece. You see — circles— even blogging circles — are trendy. Even this season’s Orange is the New Black featured one.

Tribal Governments can use a Peacemaking Court as a forum for resolving conflicts using traditions, customs and culture as the basis for finding peace in the resolution.  For some, it can be codified in law and even be a division of the District Court.

Peacemaking is a process that requires the parties to agree to peacemaking and to the selection of the peacemakers in order to participate in the peacemaking process and resolve their differences.

The core values of the Peacemaking court are respect, humility, compassion, spirituality and honesty. No value carries more significance than any other. Participation in the Peacemaking Circle process indicates acceptance of these values both in word and action and a commitment to move forward from the point of dispute.

What is ironic about being a certified peacemaker is that it isn’t about an individual, and it surely isn’t about creating peace. It is about a unified community and about the intent of the circle. It is about restoring balance and about healing. In one tribal Peacemaking court, for those who are litigants and request peacemaking, the goal of the peacemaker is to strive to be:

  • Mediators of their differences;
  • Leaders in teaching them our history, customs and culture;
  • Healers of conflict by promoting peace and harmony;
  • Guides to teach them and help them find their tribal identity.

My debut into peacemaking is a result of years serving as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Chief Justice Barbara Smith who sits on the Supreme Court for the Chickasaw Nation. She has been a facilitator for the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) Chautauqua Peacemaking Project and is on the Advisory Committee for their current Peacemaking Project. She is also on the NARF Board of Directors. Though she is too humble to agree, I consider her the intellectual leader of peacemaking. She is entrusted by the elders of many tribal nations with the wisdom and traditions used in their peacemaking over the centuries.

She and her brother, the Honorable Michael Smith, a District Court Judge for the Sac and Fox Nation, have mentored me for years. They co-teach at the University of Oklahoma and took 15 of us through a journey of self-discovery to prepare to become peacemakers.  They are the ones that brought me to Medicine Bluffs.

Peacemaking requires patience. You have to let go of being in charge of communication in the circle — something that is difficult for attorneys and law students to do. If you represent a client who chooses the peacemaking circle route, then you will not even be allowed in the circle. There is no need for representation in the circle.

Peacemaking takes time. Really, it is all about time. In a circle you start to realize that everyone is equal. No titles and accolades exist within the circle. I am just a voice.  Not THE VOICE in the circle.  Who am I as a person, then, I wonder? For years now, every time I introduce myself or someone introduces me it is based on what I do. What am I supposed to say to this group of people looking at me if I can’t tell them what I do or what I’ve done?

The circle can introduce new doubts that you didn’t even know that you have inside of you — then give you the time and perspective to work through to the natural resolution.

For many litigants who opt-in to the circle they initially think it will be easier. Some perceive it will be less punishment. However, the circle oftentimes commands courage, requires responsibility and provokes shame in a way so intimate a Judge could never convey it down from the bench. When the litigant must be in community with and listen to the victim or the victims’ family there is a sense of obligation that often emerges. As it pertains to a justice system, Chief Justice Smith said something powerful that stays with me: It is better for my soul to do good things instead of mean things.

For example, punishing tribal youth for poor decisions, which will affect their college admission chances or potential job opportunities, does nothing for the person or the Native community. Instead, healing is a good thing for those involved in the circle and in the tribal community. After all, a tribe is a family of families. By making them aware of their actions and the affect it has on others can often prompt change and self-evaluation that can promote responsibility and maturity. Participation in the circle is voluntary.

Peacemaking courts are analogous to other restorative justice courts we see in mainstream judicial systems. Examples of these are DUI courts, drug courts, Veteran’s courts, Sex Trafficking Courts and Homelessness Courts. I think the success we have seen in the Homelessness Court, that started in San Diego in 1989, show us that doing something innovative can make a difference in citizens’ lives. An except from a presentation on the ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty highlights the importance of this program in the San Diego Community:

“Homeless Court helps the community by engaging homeless people in gainful activity, thereby removing them from the doorways, parks and gathering places where they are unwanted and susceptible to arrest. It helps homeless defendants move back into productive lives because the sentence is most often participation in a work and counseling program that offers help with overcoming social problems, enhancing job seeking skills and locating employment opportunities and affordable housing. In the words of Charles Campbell, past Presiding Judge of the Ventura Superior Court, “Other than providing temporary housing, incarceration of the homeless does nothing to benefit the homeless or the community.” Referrals to specialized alcohol and drug treatment programs, mental health services and training or searching for employment help the community to tackle the problem of homelessness in a meaningful and practical way.”

Ultimately, it is up to each sovereign to decide how to operate their court systems and systems of justice. I am confident that we can find ways to intentionally include multigenerational dialogue of our youth and our elders when addressing community issues in achieving balance. Peacemaking is a natural path to that end.

To learn more, join the National American Indian Court Judges Association, Columbia Law School, and the Native American Rights Fund at the Traditional Peacemaking: Exploring the Intersections between Tribal Courts and Peacemaking, Including Alternatives to Detention at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino – Tulsa on October 6-7. Topics they will cover include:

  • Peacemaking Doesn’t Operate in a Vacuum: The Importance of Context
  • Approaching Culturally Appropriate Justice with Indigent Defendants
  • Peacemaking from the Ground Up
  • Peacemaking from the Bench
  • Preparing the Next Generation of Peacemakers: Academic and Court Training Options
  • Reentry Programs Using Peacemaking/Peacemaking in Correctional Facilities

To register for the event, click here.

Stephanie Conduff is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Stephanie is especially thankful for her mentors, the Honorable Barbara Smith and the Honorable Michael Smith, who have significantly invested in her and her understanding of the inner-connection between cultural relativity and progress in Indian Country.

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.

PLSI: Empowering Indian Country, Building the Legal Profession and Native Bar

By: Eric Abeita | Intern
Theodore J. Griswold | Partner |

Transitioning into law school can be a difficult process.  The methods of research, analysis, and writing that are distinct to the legal profession are different than those learned in undergraduate or other graduate course work.  The ability to think like a lawyer is a trained and developed skill, and doesn’t come naturally to many people.  This is why the Pre-Law Summer Institute (PLSI) has become invaluable in preparing Native Americans for the rigors of law school.  The PLSI is a two month law school preparatory program run by the American Indian Law Center for American Indians and Alaska Natives.  Classes are held every June and July at the University of New Mexico (UNM) School of Law.  Students that have been accepted to any law school and those interested in applying or waiting to get in may attend the program.  It is an intensive program which mimics the first year of law school.  Participants take courses like Federal Indian Law, Torts, Property, and Legal Writing.  The credits you receive do not transfer to law school, but the experiences and knowledge you obtain far outweigh any school credits.

The PLSI was started by former UNM School of Law Dean, Fred Hart.  His idea was to start a preparatory law curriculum for Native Americans that was based on sound legal education principles, rather than a space for a philosophical, political, or cultural training ground.  The PLSI has now existed for more than four decades and has been extremely successful.  Every year about 30 students go through the program, and virtually all graduate law school.  It has been touted as the most successful pipeline program for Native Americans in the country.  Former UNM School of Law Dean and now Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, Kevin Washburn, is a graduate of the PLSI.  I attended the PLSI two summers ago, and it was an invaluable experience that prepared me for the demands of law school.  The PLSI also plugs its graduates into a network of former participants who are now attorneys, judges, administrators and other professionals.

More programs like the PLSI should exist for various professions for Native Americans.  The PLSI has no doubt boosted the number of Native Americans successfully attaining law degrees, and similar programs would certainly increase the number of Native Americans with medical, business and other advanced degrees.  If you are a Native American interested in attending law school, I would highly recommend taking advantage of the PLSI.  It will give you a strong fundamental base of law school skills that will allow you to succeed in law school and your profession.  It will give you a confidence on your first day of law school that your peers will not have.  As more Native Americans become credentialed with college and advanced degrees, our ability to run self-sustaining Native communities increases significantly.  To learn more about the PLSI, click here.

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.

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.

Attorney General’s Indian Country Fellowship

By: Stephanie Conduff | Law Clerk |
Theodore J. Griswold | Partner |

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 Veterans Treatment Court in spring 2011 when only one other existed at the federal level, in Utah.

We need to get Native people into this prestigious fellowship to protect our citizens!

Applications are being accepted for an Indian Country Fellowship that “is designed to create a new pipeline of legal talent with expertise and deep experience in federal Indian law, tribal law, and Indian Country issues that can be deployed in creative ways to build tribal capacity, combat violent crime, and bolster public safety in Indian Country jurisdictions.”

The Indian Country Fellowship is open to all eligible Honors Program applicants, including current law students graduating in the coming academic year.  The 2014-2015 Honors Program application opens on July 31st and closes on September 2nd.

Imagine … this time next year you could be in Oklahoma, Mississippi, Minnesota, Colorado, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska or Arizona! And what is even more amazing than that… you could be working in sovereign nations including the: Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Navajo Nation, Santee Sioux Tribe, Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, Chickasaw Nation or Cherokee Nation.

With VAWA implementation upon us – this is an incredible time to experience both tribal and federal justice systems.


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.