Skip to Main Content
-

Public Policy and Law: American Indian Law

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.

Our lawyers who focus on Indian law 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 depth and breadth of experience in these areas enable our lawyers to negotiate unique resolutions for often difficult and complex legal problems relating to Indian tribes. Specifically, we 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 the firm, 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.

Capabilities

Tribes and Native Corporations

Our firm regularly represents tribes and Alaska Native Corporations. Our clients include both tribal governments as well as member-owned businesses. Our work has addressed corporate and business issues and the interplay with treaty rights, taxation matters, federal and state litigation, and government lobbying. Of particular note is our work involving the rights of tribal entities to sell goods and use property free of federal and state taxation regimes.

Finance

Our finance experience includes acting as bond counsel, underwriter counsel, credit enhancement counsel, special tax counsel, and trustee counsel for taxable and tax-exempt financings for tribal governments and parties contracting with tribes throughout the country. Our Washington, D.C. office has assisted by providing a federal policy component working with Congress and relevant federal agencies.

We counsel tribes and Alaska Native Corporations as well as non-tribal corporations on corporate contracts and business transactions, including real estate development, financing, and acquisitions.

Gaming

The firm has advised on law and procedures created by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) under which Native American tribes may conduct gaming activities on Indian lands. We have analyzed related issues including the conditions under which a state must permit a tribe to conduct Class III (i.e., casino-type) gaming operations; sovereign and tribal immunity under IGRA; methods under which a tribe can establish gaming rights if a state refuses to negotiate a gaming compact; enforcement of prohibitions against such gaming; and whether a tribe may enter into a gaming compact with a state outside IGRA's procedures.

Public Policy

We have worked on behalf of municipalities, tribal entities, and commercial clients in public policy and lobbying matters. This work includes participation in the legislative process, lobbying for appropriations, trust and grant funding, and intervening in administrative agency proceedings on behalf of impacted parties.

Treaty Issues and Disputes

We have advised municipalities and government agencies with respect to issues involved with the development or redevelopment of property with treaty-protected fishing and other access rights. We counsel tribal and government entities on disputes involving Indian law and administrative decisions from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Additional Thought Leadership Pages

Consistently ranked National Tier 1 in Native American Law by U.S.News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms"

Return to top of page

Email Disclaimer

We welcome your email, but please understand that if you are not already a client of K&L Gates LLP, we cannot represent you until we confirm that doing so would not create a conflict of interest and is otherwise consistent with the policies of our firm. Accordingly, please do not include any confidential information until we verify that the firm is in a position to represent you and our engagement is confirmed in a letter. Prior to that time, there is no assurance that information you send us will be maintained as confidential. Thank you for your consideration.

Accept Cancel