Wednesday, June 26, 2013

NARF offices participate in Bike to Work Day



The Native American Rights Fund is committed to environmental sustainability through our mission, work, and organizational values. This morning staff in NARF’s offices in Colorado, Alaska, and Washington, D.C. biked, walked, ran, carpooled, and took public transportation to work!

Native Americans have a long tradition of living sustainably with the natural world and NARF has embraced this tradition by instituting sustainable office practices that reduce our negative impact on our climate and environment. NARF’s Bike to Work Day is one small example of how we are implementing policies and procedures to minimize waste, reduce energy consumption and pollution, and create a healthful work environment. To read more about NARF’s sustainability efforts, click here.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court issues decision in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl


Today the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in the important Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) case, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.  To read the decision, click here.  In the 5-4 decision, the Court upheld ICWA but reversed and remanded the case back to the South Carolina courts on a technicality.  The narrow decision focused on the standard to determine termination of parental rights in this specific case.

NARF is pleased that the Court upheld ICWA and that there is no question that ICWA is the most important law to protect Native children and families. Thank you to everyone who has worked on and followed this case.  Your support for ICWA has been historic, as evidenced by the large number of briefs supporting both ICWA and the Brown family.  Although we are deeply disappointed that this case is not over, we know that Dusten Brown will continue to fight for his daughter Veronica and we support him in that fight.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Alaska Supreme Court issues important ICWA opinion in Native Village of Tununak v. State, a case in which NARF submitted an amicus brief



Today the Alaska Supreme Court issued an important ruling in the case Native Village of Tununak v. State in which it held that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) implicitly mandates that good cause to deviate from ICWA’s adoptive placement preferences be proved by clear and convincing evidence, not the weaker preponderance of the evidence standard.  This is an important decision because Alaska had been the only state where courts applied the preponderance of the evidence burden of proof to findings of good cause to deviate from ICWA’s adoption preferences.  In addition, the court’s opinion also includes important language on the need for trial courts to evaluate the suitability of placements not under “white, middle class standards” but under “the prevailing social and cultural standards of the Indian community.”

NARF authored an amicus brief on behalf of the Native Village of Kotzebue and is proud to have worked with our partners on this important case.  To read a copy of the Alaska Supreme Court’s opinion, click here.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

NARF welcomes 2013 summer law clerk Travis Lovett



Each summer NARF hosts the summer clerkship program, a ten to twelve week program for second year law students.  Travis Lovett is Cherokee and a current law clerk in NARF’s Boulder office.  Travis is a rising third year law student in the Indian Legal Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.  Travis chose to attend Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law to obtain knowledge in Federal Indian Law to intertwine his culture and accomplishments in the Powwow arena with a legal career serving Indian Country.  In effort to accomplish his goal, Travis plans after law school to attend the University of Calgary School of Law in Alberta, Canada to receive an LLM in Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law.  Travis currently serves as President for the Native American Law Student Association at ASU.

To learn more about NARF’s law clerk program, click here.

Monday, June 17, 2013

NARF law clerk participates as judge in local television show, Grill vs. Grill


Current law clerk Samuel Kohn is serving as a judge on Grill vs. Grill, a show that searches for Colorado’s best BBQ and grilling masters.  The short video on NARF that plays at Samuel’s introduction on the show is available here.

Grill vs. Grill airs on Altitude Sports each week this summer.  New episodes air every Friday night at 6:00 p.m. and are re-shown throughout the week.  The schedule for June is below – please check your local listings for the channel number.  If you don’t have Altitude Sports you can watch current episodes on the Grill vs. Grill website.
  • Tuesday, June 18 at 11:30 am.
  • Wednesday, June 19 at 8:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 20 at 1:00 a.m.
  • Friday, June 21 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 23 at 8:30 a.m.  
  • Sunday, June 23 at 10:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 25 at 11:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, June 26 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 27 at 1:00 a.m.
  • Friday, June 28 at 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 30 at 8:30 a.m.
  • Sunday, June 30 at 10:00 p.m.

Join NARF for a Bike to Farm Ride and Midsummer Celebration!



Please join the Native American Rights Fund on Thursday, July 11 for a midsummer celebration of good food, good friends, and good health.  Dine under the stars and listen to live music at 63rd Street Farm.  To work up an appetite, bike to the dinner with us starting from the NARF office at 1506 Broadway in Boulder at 4:00 p.m.  This event is a benefit for NARF by Awe-Struck Outdoors.  If you'd like to join us for just dinner and music there is that option as well.  Please call (303) 807-6634 for more information or to purchase tickets for this great event!

This Bike to Farm Ride might be one of the most fun nights of your summer.  There is something about a group night ride that puts a buzz in the air.  After the creekside journey, indulge in a 3-course farm dinner paired with a wine tasting from Settembre Cellars.  Take a detour and our guides will show you the best spot to pick warmed-in-the-sun raspberries. Spots are still available – $39 for the full bike to farm event, or dinner and music only for $25 – but act quick! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

NARF Executive Director John E. Echohawk and Staff Attorney David L Gover featured in new ICWA educational resource video

NARF Executive Director John E. Echohawk and Staff Attorney David L Gover are featured in a new educational resource for judges, courts, child welfare, and judicial educators, "Bringing our Children Home: An Introduction to the Indian Child Welfare Act.”  The video is the culmination of the ongoing collaboration between the Mississippi Courts, Child Welfare Agency, and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in consultation with the National Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues and the National Resource Center for Tribes. 

NARF welcomes 2013 summer law clerk Santee Lewis


Santee Lewis is a joint MBA/JD candidate at the University of New Mexico School.  She is the co-managing editor of the Tribal Law Journal, a student liaison to the Indian Law Section of the New Mexico Bar, and a member of the Native American Law Student Association and the Business Law Society.  Santee received her B.B.A. in accounting from the University of New Mexico and went on to work for KPMG, LLP, the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians at the Department of the Interior, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, and the Navajo Nation as an auditor prior to law school.  Last summer she interned at the Office of the Solicitor at the Department of the Interior.  Santee is an enrolled member of the Navajo Tribe.

Each summer NARF hosts the summer clerkship program, a ten to twelve week program for second year law students.  NARF law clerk projects consist mainly of legal research and writing.  The projects are extremely challenging because NARF practices before federal, state, and tribal forums, and because most of our cases – whether at the administrative, trial, or appellate level – are complex and involve novel legal issues.  To learn more about the law clerk program, click here.

NARF Staff Attorney Richard Guest quoted in article on Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl


NARF Staff Attorney Richard Guest was recently quoted in a story from Indian Country Today on the important ICWA case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.  Indian Country Today is doing a multi-part series on the case and the article is available here

NARF has been involved in the case through the Tribal Supreme Court Project and an amicus brief on behalf of Alaska Tribes.  To visit the Tribal Supreme Court Project's page on the case and read all other briefs, click here.  And, to learn more about the case, click here.

Friday, June 7, 2013

NARF Staff Attorney Melody McCoy to argue before U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit


 
This morning NARF Staff Attorney Melody McCoy will present oral argument in Klamath Claims Committee v. United States before a panel of judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC.  NARF represents the Klamath Tribes of Oregon as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in support of the United States.  The Klamath Claims Committee has appealed the dismissal of its claims by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and the United States is seeking affirmance of that dismissal on the grounds that the Committee’s claims are really claims against the Klamath Tribes and the Tribes is a sovereign that cannot be joined or sued without its consent.  To read the Court of Federal Claims opinion, click here.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

NARF welcomes 2013 summer law clerk Travis Clark



Each summer NARF hosts the summer clerkship program, a ten to twelve week program for second year law students.  NARF law clerk projects consist mainly of legal research and writing.  The projects are extremely challenging because NARF practices before federal, state, and tribal forums, and because most of our cases – whether at the administrative, trial, or appellate level – are complex and involve novel legal issues.  

Travis Clark, an enrolled citizen of the Osage and Cherokee Nations, is a law clerk this summer in NARF’s Boulder, Colorado office.  After graduating from Rogers State University in Northeast Oklahoma in 2011, Travis accepted a full academic scholarship from the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis Minnesota.  At St. Thomas, Travis serves as the President of the Native American Law Student Association, as well as Senior Editor for the Journal of Law and Public Policy.  Last summer Travis worked in the Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, Division of Indian Affairs in Washington D.C.  Travis plans on having a long career fighting for the rights of Tribal Nations and Indian people.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

NARF hosts gathering on June 21, 2013 for National Day of Prayer for the Protection of Native American Sacred Places



Please join us on June 21, 2013 for a sunrise ceremony that will be held on NARF's front lawn at 1506 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado beginning at 7:00 a.m.

The program and prayer service will last about one hour, followed by a potluck breakfast.  Community members have been invited to speak as well as NARF staff.  Speakers will be followed by a moment of silence to show concern for the sacred places that are being damaged and destroyed today. 

In the United States, Native Americans are more closely tied to the land than any other group, yet the increasing exploitation of natural resources and population expansion has caused previously undisturbed tribal sacred places to become vulnerable to destruction.  As part of its mission, the Native American Rights Fund has long advocated for sacred site protection, religious freedom efforts and cultural rights.  Recently, NARF’s Board of Directors has asked us to expand our efforts to protect lands that are sacred and precious to Native Americans. Please show your solidarity for the protection of sacred places by joining us for the June 21 program.  We ask you to bring food and/or beverages to share at the completion of the program.

Please join us!  If you have any questions please contact Rose Cuny at 303-447-8760.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

NARF Staff Attorney Melody McCoy presents at 26th annual Sovereignty Symposium


Later this week NARF Staff Attorney Melody McCoy will present on a panel discussing “the Status of Trust Issues in the Wake of Judicial Decisions” at the 26th annual Sovereignty Symposium in Oklahoma City. 
 
The Sovereignty Symposium hosts tribal leaders, cultural experts, and legal experts from across the country, including former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who will deliver this year’s keynote address.  Sponsored by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the Symposium provides a forum where ideas concerning common legal issues can be exchanged in a scholarly, non-adversarial environment.  To learn more about the Symposium and to view this year’s agenda, click here.