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In the United States, there are over 560 federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaska Native Corporations that possess unique, sovereign rights.  The continuing expansion and diversification of tribal economies requires tribes, their commercial partners, and impacted government parties to secure sophisticated legal counsel.

K&L Gates Indian Law lawyers understand the issues this expansion has raised and have extensive experience handling a wide variety of matters involving tribes and their business partners in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, Pennsylvania, California, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Washington, D.C. Our lawyers and public policy professionals have advised public and private clients, local governmental agencies, and Indian tribes on how to address and resolve issues involving many areas of Indian law. Our national practice has been recognized in the 2015 U.S. News & World Report-Best Lawyers® survey as “Tier 1” in “Native American Law”.

Our depth and breadth of experience in these areas enable our attorneys to negotiate unique resolutions for often difficult and complex legal problems relating to Indian tribes. Specifically, K&L Gates attorneys have helped clients with disputes, treaty issues, complicated real estate transactions in Indian Country, and Indian property rights outside Indian Country for water rights and access to hunting and fishing sites. We have represented local and regional governments on treaty matters and major litigation, and have represented tribes and other parties on policy matters in Washington, D.C.

Because our experience includes working with both public and private entities, in addition to Indian tribes, we collaborate with many other groups at K&L Gates, including public policy, real estate, healthcare, litigation, tax, banking, intellectual property, and labor and employment.  This interaction has helped us offer a full contingent of services to tribes and to other clients on Indian law matters.

Areas of Practice

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Provided an in-depth assessment of the impact of IGRA on a ballot initiative in California that would have impacted Native American gaming in that state.
Represented an Indian Tribe in defending against a union campaign targeting the employees in its casino and resort located on Indian land. 
Represented California and Oklahoma Indian tribes regarding regulatory issues surrounding opening of casinos and in negotiating for class III gaming licenses from the state.
Analyzed issues raised in a land claim filed by a Native American Tribe in a federal court in Pennsylvania as the first step in gaining the right to conduct slots gaming in Pennsylvania, which was then considering (and subsequently enacted) gaming legislation. 
Represent a Northwest tribe on a pro bono basis in federal court litigation seeking tribal recognition.
Represented a corporation in federal court in litigation arising from business activity on leased tribal property.
Represented a Native American owned corporation chartered under tribal law in a trademark dispute in federal district court. K&L Gates obtained an order that required the plaintiff to bring its trademark claims against our client in Yakama tribal court. An appeal is pending with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 
Represented Skagit County in its opposition to the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ decision to take land into trust for the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community for construction of a marina and industrial complex. 
Represented Skagit County regarding the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ decision to take land into trust for the Samish Indian Nation. The Samish Indian Nation agreed to a remand of its fee-to-trust application. 
Major Construction
Represented a number of clients in their efforts to deal appropriately with archeological and cultural issues raised in construction projects, including the City of Blaine in disputes related to the discovery of a burial site in a construction project. Developed mediation techniques that lead to the successful resolution of extremely sensitive claims.