Native Americans face unique legal challenges that are becoming ever more complex in today's changing world. We pride ourselves on our historic work with tribal leaders, program staff and reservation attorneys across the country to problem-solve and identify innovative solutions to both new and age-old problems.
For more than 30 years, our attorneys have relied upon their unparalleled experience to navigate and where necessary, to pave the way through the complicated terrain that lies at the crossroads of federal, tribal and state laws and their associated regulations. By understanding the unique nature of Indian law, our attorneys are positioned to meet the diverse needs and interests of Native American tribes, tribal business enterprises and other tribal instrumentalities. This unique expertise is invaluable not only for our tribal clients, but also for non-tribal clients who seek to conduct business in Indian Country.
Although our goal is to resolve matters whenever possible by working collaboratively with federal agencies, state and local governments, other tribes and private entities, our attorneys have extensive experience litigating issues that are unique to tribes. We have successfully represented tribes in federal district courts, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Supreme Court, tribal courts and administrative agencies.
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Our attorneys regularly prepare and present articles and presentations to local, regional and national audiences on issues of concern to Native Americans.
Our Tribal Practice Group conducts an annual Tribal environmental seminar (TES) for Tribal leaders, Tribal environmental program managers and in-house counsel. Themes for our previous TES have included the following:
2009 - Assessing natural resource damage in Tribal areas and how to protect the Tribe’s natural resources for future generations.
2008 - Using the media as a tool in identifying and resolving Tribal environmental issues.
2007 - Climate change and the impact on treaty-protected rights.
2006 - Protection of Tribal natural resources.
2005 - Tribal sovereignty: protection of Tribal water rights.
2004 - Tribal sovereignty: Developing Brownfields and establishing intergovernmental relationships.
2003 - Tribal sovereignty: Developing and promoting Tribal civil regulatory authority.
2002 - Protecting Tribal reserved water and environmental quality rights for future generations.
2001 - A seminar for Tribal environmental professionals and resource managers.
2000 - The role of Tribal governments in FERC hydropower dam relicensing proceedings.
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation Win Trial on Liability for Transboundary Environmental Contamination
SCB congratulates its client, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, for prevailing in its trial seeking environmental cleanup liability against Canadian smelting giant, Teck Metals, Ltd. After eight years of hard-fought litigation, the Tribes obtained a federal court ruling holding Teck liable for its decades-long practice of contaminating the Upper Columbia River. For more information, see the Tribes' press release posted to SCB's Environmental Law Blog.
SCB Congratulates Co-Plaintiff State of Washington on its Summary Judgment Victory
SCB represents the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the plaintiff in litigation under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, known as the federal Superfund Act) against Teck Metals, Ltd. regarding environmental contamination in the Columbia River. On November 29, 2011, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington denied Teck's motion asking the court to determine as a matter of law that the Tribes' co-plaintiff, the State of Washington, is a liable party under the Superfund Act. Teck argued that the State was liable as an "arranger" for permitting mining and related activities in the region under written contracts. The court disagreed, finding that the State was not liable. For more information about SCB's Tribal and Environmental Litigation practice, please contact Richard Du Bey, Paul Dayton, or Leslie Clark (206.682.3333 or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).