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In 1990, attorneys from the firm litigated the first state case finding that a former Five Tribes restricted allotment was a “dependent Indian community” and that state courts had no jurisdiction to evict an Indian housing authority homebuyer, which resulted in the establishment of the CFR court system in Eastern Oklahoma.

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Sage Advice. Sage Decisions.

Providing Tribes With Ongoing Support

Since 1965, one of the founding partners of Hobbs Straus has worked closely with the Metlakatla Indian Community on a broad range of issues. In 1993, lands known as Warburton Island were excluded by administrative decision from the Tribe's federal reservation boundary. Two years later, as a result of our efforts, the decision was reversed and the Secretary of the Interior ruled that the Island and its surrounding waters were to be included. For over forty years we have provided Metlakatla with legal advice and assistance on policy, business and other legal issues on a day by day basis, often on matters of critical importance for their future. In the 1990s, for example, we assisted Metlakatla and other tribes in Alaska to negotiate the Alaska Tribal Health Compact under which all Indian Health Service programs in Alaska are now administered by tribes.

In any given week, we might help a tribe discuss and analyze business opportunities, address legal issues at a tribal council meeting, draft tribal codes, or assist a tribal agency with an administrative hearing. Taking a proactive hands-on approach, we log hundreds of miles, nights and weekends, attending important tribal meetings in order to perform our role well. And, as our clients’ tribal “ears and eyes” in Washington, we monitor legislative and administrative activity and advocate for our clients across all levels of government.

Photograph by Lynn Johnson

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