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 team has worked in high level positions at the Department of Interior, Division of Indian Affairs, the National Indian Gaming Commission, as in-house Counsel, and as a Presidential Appointee. We’ve represented Tribes before the Departments of Interior, Justice, and Agriculture and in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Our attorneys have testified before Congress on sovereign immunity and gaming legislation.

Our goal is to ensure that our tribal clients succeed as sovereign governments. Find out how we can help you.

Practice Areas

Recent Accomplishments

  1. Obtained a federal court victory for the Chief and Second Chief of the Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town in tribal leadership litigation
  2. Assisted the Mattaponi Indian Tribe in writing and adopting its first Constitution
  3. Negotiated and obtained approval of a Class III sports betting compact amendment for the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe
  4. Represented the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the Kialegee Tribal Town in Class III gaming compact litigation
  5. Represented the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe in treaty rights litigation
  6. Represented tribal members of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians in tribal court enrollment litigation
  7. Represented the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe in tribal court in Indian child welfare cases
  8. Wrote the first modern Election Code for the Mattaponi Indian Tribe
  9. Re-wrote the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indian’s Crimes and Punishment Act, Justice Department Act, Police Department Code, Civil Procedure Act, Criminal Procedure Act, and Appellate Procedure Act.
  10. Wrote a new Gaming Code and Timber Tax Code for the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe
  11. Revised the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake Tribal Gaming Commission’s regulations
  12. Obtained significant federal funding for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians’ Tribal Court
  13. Convinced the Indian Health Service to request funding from Congress for a new healthcare clinic to be owned and operated by the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians
  14. Negotiated an alcohol sales agreement with the State of Washington on behalf of the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe
  15. Negotiated a property tax agreement with Snohomish County on behalf of the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe
  16. Obtained trademark registrations for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians’ insignia and the word “Keetoowah”
  17. Forced a tribal imposter website off the Internet
  18. Continued to assist the Mattaponi Indian Tribe with its goal of obtaining federal recognition
  19. Assisted the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians’ Housing Department with housing policy revisions
  20. Presented at the IGA Tradeshow and Convention regarding trademark registrations and at RES 2023 regarding mis-use of railroad easements in Indian Country
  21. Significantly updated the Washington State Judicial Bench Book chapter on domestic violence and tribal courts
  22. Negotiated contracts on behalf of a healthcare consulting company doing business in Indian Country

Our Tribal Clients

  • United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma
  • Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe
  • Mattaponi Indian Tribe
  • Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians
  • Kialegee Tribal Town
  • Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town
  • Amah Mutsun Tribal Band / Amah Mutsun Land Trust
  • Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake Tribal Gaming Commission
  • San Carlos Apache Tribal Gaming Enterprise
  • Cayuga Nation

Client Testimonials

United Keetoowah Band Insignia

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 Tribal Insignia

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


Logo for Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake Tribal Gaming

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 Insignia

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

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
Professional headshot of MCTLaw managing partner, Altom Maglio
Altom Maglio
MCTLaw attorney Jennifer Maglio
Jennifer Gore Maglio

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Logo of Federal Funding opportunities for Tribes
Logo of Tribal Internet Gaming Alliance
Logo of Tribal Hemp and Cannabis Group
Logo of Tribal Courts and Justice
Tribal Casino Sign

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.


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:


Breach of Trust Claims

Breach of trust claims involve situations where the federal government has mismanaged an asset or property that it holds in trust for the benefit of a tribe. 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.


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.


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 Interior. 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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