Native American Rights Fund (NARF) Attorney Natalie Landreth will argue an historic hunting and fishing rights case, Eyak v. Locke, Secretary of Commerce, before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on September 21st. The legal precedents for this case flow directly from United States v. Washington, the landmark case won by NARF in 1973 on behalf of salmon fishing tribes in the State of Washington. Professor Charles Wilkinson, co-author of the leading textbook on federal Indian law, recently described United States v. Washington as "…along with Brown v. Board of Education, the two most important civil rights cases of the 20th century."
The five Tribes of Prince William Sound (Eyak, Tatitlek, Chenega, Nanwalek and Port Graham) have hunted and fished in the Sound and Gulf of Alaska for thousands of years.
The Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989 despoiled the coastline, and populations of fish and sea mammals in the area plunged. In the wake of the spill, the Tribes – who had relied on fishing and hunting in ocean waters since time immemorial – experienced a second disaster. The federal government decided to disallow their traditional hunting and fishing rights, and required the Tribes to apply for permits called Individual Fishing Quotas, or IFQs. In allocating these permits, the government ignored the thousands of years of tribal use, and instead decided that only those persons who caught fish from 1988 to 1990 were eligible for a permit.
That time period overlapped the Exxon Valdez disaster and its aftermath. During this period, the members of the five Tribes had devoted all their energy and the use of their boats to cleaning up the mess left behind on their doorstep. As a result, almost no members of these Tribes qualified for IFQs. They sued, asking only that their tribal members be allowed into this fishery to continue their way of life. Now, more than 15 years after the regulations first took effect, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will consider whether to allow these five Tribes – the ancient maritime stewards of Prince William Sound and Gulf of Alaska – back into their aboriginal hunting and fishing grounds.
For NARF, Natalie practices a broad range of Indian law from jurisdiction issues to fishing rights. She also works in the area of voting rights, and led the Alaska office of the Election Protection Project in the 2004 general election. Natalie is an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, and a descendent of the Imatobby family. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1996, and went on to graduate from Harvard Law School in 2001. She currently serves on NARF's Litigation Management Committee. Natalie is also Chair of the Alaska Native Law Section of the Alaska Bar Association, and a Board Member on Alaska Dance Theatre and the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts.
The Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs (CCIA) announced its newest members at its quarterly meeting on the Ute Mountain Ute reservation in Towaoc, Colorado. Steve Moore, an attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, and Dr. Rocco Fuschetto, School Superintendent, Ignacio School District, will hold one-year appointments to the commission, according to a press release. Dr. Fuschetto is a first-time appointee; Moore has served as a member of the Commission since 1999.
Lt. Gov. Joseph A. Garcia made the announcement. Garcia is chair of the 11-member commission of CCIA.
"Steve Moore and Dr. Rocco Fuschetto are dedicated individuals who have unique skills to deal with the complex issues between Colorado and its Native American residents," Garcia said.
"The Commission has expanded tremendously its service to the two Ute Tribes of Colorado, and the Native American community statewide, since its inception in the 1970s. It truly is a 'working' commission in the finest sense of the word, and is an expression of the mutual respect rightfully accorded between the two sovereign governments, tribal and state," said Moore.
As a NARF staff attorney, Steve has represented Indian tribes in complex litigation involving treaty fishing rights and implied federal Indian reserved water rights. Since 1995, he has represented the Nez Perce Tribe in the Snake River Basin Adjudication in Idaho He currently also represents the Tule River Tribe of California in its water rights settlement, and the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas in water litigation and settlement negotiations. His other work at NARF includes the protection of sacred lands, the repatriation of human remains and the protection of unmarked Native graves, the religious use of peyote by members of the Native American Church, and the religious rights of Native prisoners. Prior to Steve joining the Native American Rights Fund in 1983 as a staff attorney, he represented tribes and individual Indians in northern Idaho, and also represented the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Montana. He is a 1979 graduate of the University of Colorado School of Law.
The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) will honor 40 American Indian professionals under the age of 40 at its 36th Annual Indian Progress in Business Awards Event (INPRO) on September 8 in Hollywood, Florida. Native American Rights Fund (NARF) Attorney Amy Bowers is one of the honorees.
NCAIED introduced the Native American 40 Under 40 in 2009 to recognize young Indians who have "demonstrated leadership, initiative and dedication to achieve impressive and significant contributions in their businesses, communities and to Indian country." The 2011 winners range from tribal officials and leaders of economic development to attorneys to business entrepreneurs to tourism and museum directors.
For NARF, Amy represents Tribal clients in the areas of water rights, Indian education, self-governance and also serves as the director of the NARF Law Clerk Program, which aims to educate young attorneys in Indian Law. She serves as the Colorado Indian Bar Association treasurer. Amy is a member of the Yurok Tribe of Northern California. Her Tribe's connection to the Klamath River and the need to protect it for future generations brought her into the field of law. She graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Oregon, and earned her J.D. from the University of Denver in 2007.