American Indian and Indigenous Law

Indian law is complex, with numerous federal statutory requirements regarding Indian rights protection and governance.

Representing clients on Indian law issues throughout the U.S. and Canada, Dickinson Wright has extensive experience and knowledge of Indian law, tribal rights and the many legal, economic and cultural issues impacting Native American, First Nations peoples and those doing business with them.

Broad-Based Experience and Comprehensive Representation

In addition to representing a wide range of tribes and tribal business enterprises, including tribal casinos and casino regulatory agencies, we counsel local governments, private companies and other non-Indian clients in their business dealings on Indian reservations or with tribal peoples.

We actively represent clients in economic development transactions, including gaming, as well as assist in resolving the complex issues that arise regarding tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction tax matters.  Team lawyers also litigate these and other cases involving Indian law, tribal rights and land claims in federal, state and tribal courts.

In terms of project development, our team works to assure that projects are fully compliant with applicable laws and regulations while ensuring their economic integrity.  Our tribal clients frequently seek our assistance in resolving problems with federal, state and local government agencies, and we always strive to solve those problems quickly and economically.

Among the Indian Law practice’s areas of expertise are:

  • Providing general representation to tribes, including securing status clarification for unrecognized tribes; developing and drafting tribal constitutions, tribal codes, bylaws and ordinances; and assisting with land claims. 
  • Organizing and advising tribal business entities, including telephone companies and economic development agencies.
  • Assuring protection of tribal trust resources and the environment, including resolving matters related to claims and title; water rights and fishing; hunting and gathering rights; and cultural resource protection.
  • Assisting with all phases of tribal gaming and development of other business structures.
  • Negotiating and documenting tribal casino financing.
  • Negotiating leases for commercial developments on Indian reservations, including power plants, shopping centers and golf courses.
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