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Indian Nations

Tribal Government Affairs

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Effective tribal sovereignty and the full exercise of the tribal right of self-government requires management structures that encourage political stability, enactment of comprehensive tribal laws to preempt assertions of regulatory authority by state and municipal governments, as well as tribal participation in federal and state political processes.

Godfrey & Kahn’s Indian Nations Practice Group has extensive experience assisting tribes in all of these matters, including:

  • Preparation of laws that provide separation of powers, establishment of independent tribal courts, and limited procedures for orderly administrative review of tribal government actions that do undermine elected leaders’ ability to govern;
  • Representation of tribal election boards and ethics boards where in-house counsel is conflicted;
  • Performance of confidential internal audits of government operations to provide reliable information needed by tribal leaders, prevent misinformation in the community, and allow tribes to correct their own problems without interference from outside law enforcement agencies;
  • Drafting of tribal laws that assert the full measure of tribal regulatory authority under federal Indian law and assure that matters involving a tribe and its members are heard in the tribe’s court including: ordinances relating to land use, environmental matters, sacred sites, commercial dealings with members, and consumer laws, as well as laws that establish tribal law enforcement agencies, tribal realty offices and tribal land records systems.
  • Advice in connection with state and federal legislative processes, administrative agencies, and campaign finance, ethics, election and lobbying laws.
Brian Pierson

Pierson, Brian L.


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