View of valley from mountains in Suak-Suiattle Territory

INDIAN LAW, TRIBAL GOVERNANCE, AND NATIVE-OWNED BUSINESS​ES

The attorneys at mctlaw have extensive experience helping tribal leaders and businesses navigate the legal challenges facing Indian governments nationwide. We represent tribes of all sizes across Indian Country on gaming issues, tribal governance, code drafting, trust land acquisitions, child welfare, natural resource management, and economic development. Our goal is to ensure that our tribal clients succeed as sovereign governments.

Find out how we can help you.

Practice Areas:

Download our Indian Law Booklet

Review our Indian Law Booklet to see how we’ve helped our Tribal Clients resolve legal issues. In addition to this, we also help Tribes claim free surplus government property that they are entitled to. This booklet details the different ways that we can, and have, gotten results for our Tribal Clients including: treaty rights, protecting Indian heritage, Tribal governance, and Indian gaming.

Meet Our Team

Jeffrey Nelson
Headshot of Indian Law attorney Derril Jordan
Derril B. Jordan
Sophie Asher is an Attorney at mctlaw
Sophie Asher
Headshot of Kehl Van Winkle Indian Law Attorney
Kehl Van Winkle
Pamela Levinson Attorney mctlaw
Pamela Levinson
Jason Cejka is an Attorney at mctlaw
Jason Cejka
Professional headshot of MCTLaw managing partner, Altom Maglio
Altom Maglio
MCTLaw attorney Jennifer Maglio
Jennifer Gore Maglio
Benjamin Christian is an Attorney at mctlaw
Benjamin Christian

News & Announcements

  • Suak-Suiattle Indian Tribe Insignia

    Sauk-Suiattle appeal over fishing rights in the Skagit River

    Today, mctlaw appellate attorney Jennifer Maglio appeared before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle on behalf of the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe. She presented oral argument in the appeal of a sub-proceeding in U.S. v. Washington, the well-known treaty fishing rights case in the State of Washington. The Tribe’s appeal concerns whether the Tribe […]

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  • Mctlaw Completes Trademark Registration for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians

    mctlaw recently completed the trademark registration for the word “Keetoowah ” on behalf of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (UKB). It is now registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This new trademark comes after mctlaw also helped the UKB register for trademark protections on their tribal seal. Mctlaw attorney Sophie Asher […]

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  • Mctlaw Indian Law practice group out in forest with Suak-Suiattle Tribe during visit

    Mctlaw’s Indian Law Practice Group Visits the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Reservation

    In July, mctlaw‘s Indian law practice group attorneys Jeffrey Nelson, Derril Jordan, Pamela Levinson, Sophie Asher, Kehl Winkle, and Jason Cejka visited the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe, one of the firm’s tribal clients, at the Tribe’s Reservation near Darrington, Washington. After a meeting with members of the Tribal Council, they accompanied Tribal Council member Kevin Lenon […]

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TESTIMONIALS

United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians logo

The Indian law attorneys at mctlaw have been fantastic. They have really helped give new life to the UKB Tribal Court, both in terms of funding and the development of tribal law.

Kristie Bradley​
Tribal Court Administrator and citizen of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma​
Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe logo

The attorneys at mctlaw are easy to work with while still producing high quality results. They listen to our needs and take on many different issues and opportunities facing tribes today.

Nino Maltos, II
Chairman, Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe
Habematolel Tribal Gaming Commission logo

The Indian law group at mctlaw promised a good deal for our tribal gaming regulation updates, and they delivered!  We are very happy to have them on board now for a wide variety of Indian gaming compliance matters.

Michael Icay
Chairman
Habematolel Tribal Gaming Commission

United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians logo

Thank you Sophie, Jeff, and the rest of the mctlaw staff for securing our Tribal seal which is a huge part of our identity, so this truly is a historic moment for us all. If you want to be the best, you need to surround yourself with the best! I’m ecstatic to be surrounded by each of you!


Assistant Chief Jeff Wacoche

Indian Gaming

The casino and gaming industry is a complex web of regulations and rules. Indian gaming adds an additional layer that can be nearly impossible to navigate. Our tribal gaming practice helps bridge the gaps between federal government, state government, tribe, business and consumers. Our Firm’s Indian gaming practice includes:

  • Drafting Tribal Gaming Codes and Regulations
  • Negotiating Class III Gaming Compacts with State Governments
  • Advising Tribal Regulators on Compliance Matters
  • Working with Casino Business and Finance Partners
  • Identifying and resolving any issues regarding gaming site eligibility
Tribal Casino Sign

IMPORTANT NEWS


Statue of Indian with Eagle Resting Beak on Head

Tribal Governance and Indian Sovereignty

Tribal governments have the sovereign right to govern themselves and their lands, and to exercise that sovereignty in many different ways. mctlaw can help tribal governments protect those rights, uphold tribal sovereignty, and exercise it for the long term benefit of the tribe and its citizens. That includes:

  • Developing Tribal Codes and Court Rules
  • Negotiating Governance and Tax Compacts with Other Governments
  • Obtaining Pub. L. 638 Self-Determination Contracts and Self-Governance Compacts from the Department of the Interior
  • Representing Tribal Government in Tribal Court
  • Advising on Economic Development Opportunities such as Government Contracts


Breach of Trust Claims

Tribes across the country may have breach of trust claims that they can bring against the federal government.  These claims involve situations where the federal government has mismanaged an asset or property that it holds in trust for the benefit of a tribe, such that the tribe has not received the full value of its resource. This can involve land leases to farmers or ranchers, oil and gas exploration and drilling, mineral mining, timber harvesting, trust fund investments, or in many cases–the lack of any of the above.  In these situations, the tribe may bring a lawsuit against the federal government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and claim money damages in order to receive what it should have been receiving all along.

The preferred venue for these lawsuits is where Indian law attorneys at mctlaw have an advantage in experience. Our attorneys have practiced in the highly specialized Court of Federal Claims for decades. We hold leadership positions in the Court of Federal Claims Bar Association, including seats on the Board of Governors and various committees. We are uniquely qualified to bring tribal breach of trust claims before this court to protect tribal rights, interests, and investments. 


Suak-Suiattle Fisherman in the 1980's

Natural Resources, Environment, and Fishing Rights

Our Firm also helps with complex issues relating to environmental problems or land-use planning, as well as agricultural issues such as regulating and promoting the production of hemp in Indian country pursuant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new Hemp Program. We can also assist tribes with the complex National Environmental Policy Act consultation and public comment process and in the creation of regulations to implement the tribe’s environmental policies. Here’s an overview of how we can help with Indian land-use and environmental issues.

  • Increasing Tribal Lands with Fee-to-Trust Applications
  • Securing the Treaty Right to Fish through Federal Court Litigation
  • Helping Tribes Manage Timber Resources
  • Taking Companies that Harm Tribal Lands and Waters to Court
  • Developing Tribal Hemp Production Plans under USDA Program
  • Consulting with Federal Agencies on Planning Documents
  • Writing Environmental Regulations for Tribal Agencies

Cherokee Art depicting a woman

Protecting Indian Heritage

Mctlaw understands how important it is to preserve and protect Native American heritage through legal means. There are many ways we can use the law in upholding Indian sovereignty, including negotiating agreements to protect valuable cultural properties and helping get the word out on government planning that interferes with the Indian way of life. Our Firm is committed to helping preserve Native American heritage by:

  • Negotiating MOAs to Protect Traditional Cultural Properties
  • Working with the Press to Expose Insensitive Government Planning
  • Registering trademarks for tribal insignias, names, symbols, and words

Indian Health Service

The mission of the Indian Health Service is to provide public health services to American Indian and Alaskan Native peoples. The way those healthcare services are distributed may sometimes be discriminatory and the quality of services may not be equivalent among tribes. Our attorneys investigate complaints of healthcare discrimination and take any legal actions necessary to hold agencies and providers accountable.


Funding Opportunities for Tribes

There are many funding opportunities available for Tribes. Mctlaw maintains a database of funding opportunities and grants from the federal government for Tribal Nations. You can view the different grants that are available, as well as their deadlines and requirements.

Content Reviewed by Jeffrey Nelson – Indian Law

Attorney Jeffrey Nelson Headshot

Jeffrey Nelson leads the Firm’s  Indian Law Group, He’s spent  over 20 years of experience working in Washington, DC on Indian law and litigation matters, including as a Senior Attorney at the National Indian Gaming Commission and as an Assistant Solicitor at the Department of InteriorI. Jeff now represents tribes across the country on Indian gaming and tribal governance matters. He also serves as the Assistant Attorney General for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma. Jeff earned his law degree at the University of Michigan Law School in 1997 and an LL.M. in Advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center in 1999.

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