Indian Law, Governance and Tribal Business
The attorneys at mctlaw have extensive experience dealing with the legal challenges facing Indian governments and organizations relating to gaming, tribal governance, land use and environmental issues, Indian health, and historic preservation.
Meet Our Team
Jeffrey Nelson has served as an Assistant Solicitor at the Department of the Interior and Senior Attorney at the National Indian Gaming Commission. He is currently Assistant Attorney General for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma.
Laura Bauman brings extensive experience in complex civil litigation, including contract disputes, title defects, lien foreclosures & priority contests, and governance issues involving associations and private clubs. She also helps the firm represent Indian tribes in federal court litigation. Earlier in her career, Ms. Bauman advised clients in transactional matters, which gives her a distinctive perspective when advising clients after a transaction has turned into a dispute.
Pamela Levinson currently focuses her law practice on construction law, government contracts litigation, and helps represent Indian tribes in federal litigation. Her extensive background includes complex commercial litigation, class-action, contracts, national security, civil and criminal investigative matters, and patents, among other areas.
Sophie has worked in the Pojoaque, Laguna, Santa Ana, Isleta, and Jemez Pueblo Courts, and for the New Mexico Legal Aid Indian Office. As a public defender Sophie represented clients in New Mexico's Healing to Wellness Court. She also worked in a non-profit legal services center for children, where she implemented the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in New Mexico state court, and represented children in the tribal courts for the Pueblo of Santa Ana and the Pueblo of Isleta.
Kehl Van Winkle concentrates his practice in Federal Indian Law with a particular focus on economic development. He has previously served as in-house counsel for the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe where he was active in the development of gaming and cannabis businesses.
The casino and gaming industry is a complex web of regulations and rules. Indian gaming adds on additional layer that can be nearly impossible to navigate. Our tribal gaming practice helps bridge the gaps between 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
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 long0term 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
- Obtaining Pub. L. 638 Self-Determination Contracts
- Representing Tribal Government in Tribal Court
- Advising on Economic Development Opportunities such as Government Contracts
Land Use and Environment
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.
- Taking Companies that Pollute Tribal Lands and Waters to Court
- Developing Tribal Hemp Production Plans under USDA Program
- Consulting with Federal Agencies on NEPA Planning Documents
- Writing Environmental Regulations for Tribal Agency
Protecting Indian Heritage
mctlaw. understands how important it is to preserve and protect the rich history of Indians 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 Indian history by:
- Negotiating MOAs to Protect Traditional Cultural Properties
- Working with the Press to Expose Insensitive Government Planning
Indian Health Services
The mission of the Indian Health Services is to provide public health services to American Indian and Native Alaskan 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.