The Role of Indian Tribes in America's Nuclear Future
Brief Description: This White Paper focuses on the modern role of Indian tribes in national policy-making concerning America’s nuclear future and its potential to affect Indian tribes, tribal resources or people.
Summary: In 2011, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future asked Chestnut Law Offices to prepare a White Paper on tribal issues that could be used by the Commission to address federal Indian law issues concerning tribal governments regarding storage facilities and permanent disposal repositories for both used/spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive wastes. Read the paper.
State v. Aamodt, 66-cv-6639 WJ/WPL (USDC NM)
The Court subsequently issued the Partial Final Judgment and Decree or Water Rights of the Pueblos de San Ildefonso, Nambé, Pojoaque, and Tesuque. It also issued the Interim Administrative Order requested by the eight government settlement parties.
Summary: Over the past several months the Pueblos of Nambé, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso and Tesuque (the “Pueblo Parties”) to the Aamodt Settlement have worked diligently to negotiate several agreements required by the Aamodt Litigation Settlement Act (“Act”), Pub. L. No. 11-291, tit. VI, §§ 601-626, 124 Stat. 3064, 3134-56 (2010). The Four Pueblo Parties and four other governments including the U.S. approved the Settlement Agreement dated April 19, 2012 and signed on March 13, 2013. The Pueblo continues to work with the Bureau of Reclamation (“BOR”) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”) and other governments on documents needed for each of the agencies and setting governments to carry out responsibilities under the Act. Read here.
Indian Law Touches the Art World: Emerging Issues Of Tribal Cultural and Intellectual Property
Summary: In the Southwest, issues are emerging that highlight the tensions between Art Law and Indian Law. The following paper highlights and explores issues of the sale of tribal cultural property and the applicable tribal and federal laws that pertain to them. In addition, the paper highlights current examples of tensions within intellectual property law as it pertains to tribal interests. The paper seeks to provide readers with a current landscape of issues and pitfalls to be aware of, in addition to practical advice for practitioners or individuals who do business in these topic areas. Read here.
Defending the National Historic Preservation Act
Summary: The federal rush for infrastructure and energy development, combined with the ongoing saga of the Dakota Access pipeline, is placing in jeopardy one of the most important laws used by federally recognized Indian tribes to prevent unintentional and intentional destruction of places of extreme significance to the ongoing survival of a tribe’s culture — those central core beliefs and world views that establish and sustain tribal identity. That law is the National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”) which applies to all federal actions.
When a federal agency is presented with a proposed project, section 106 of the act requires the agency to “take” into account the effect of the undertaking” on any property that is listed on, or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and afford the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (“ACHP”) the opportunity to comment. This requirement is implemented through regulations promulgated by the ACHP. If a site is found to be eligible, the agency with jurisdiction over the proposed action must engage in a consultation process in accordance with the ACHP regulations to determine whether the effects on the site would be adverse and, if so, to attempt to fashion acceptable measures to avoid or mitigate any such adverse effects. Of equal importance is what the act does not do — it does not stop projects from going forward. Mitigation can be as little as a placard designating the importance of the site, a proverbial “Washington slept here” sign, or as substantial as the complete relocation of a project. Now, however, that modicum of protection is being challenged by federal agencies, states and local agencies and private parties who suggest that the process must be changed to minimize tribal participation in order to “streamline” agency approvals. This article suggests that this rush to action is akin to tossing out the baby with the bath water by eliminating an essential element of the law in order to address a different concern.
A Victory for Repatriating Cultural Patrimony
Summary: Attorney Aaron Sims joins the Pueblo of Acoma Governor Brian Vallo, former Governor Kurt Riley, and United States Attorney John C. Anderson to discuss the repatriation of a sacred Acoma Shield from the Eve Auction house in Paris, France on the radio show “Native America Calling.”