Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Alaska Legislature honors NARF Staff Attorney Heather Kendall-Miller

Heather Kendall-Miller, daughter Ruth, and husband Lloyd read Alaska Legislature's citation honoring Heather at the AFN Convention. Photo credit: Geri Simon and Alaska Dispatch News.
Last week at the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Annual Convention, the Alaska State Legislature honored the professional life and work of NARF Staff Attorney Heather Kendall-Miller, the most senior attorney in NARF’s Alaska office.  “A lifelong Alaskan, Heather has devoted herself to protecting Native rights in Alaska and nationwide.  We are proud to recognize Heather Kendall-Miller’s main achievements and contributions to our state.”

The Legislature recognized Heather’s work on the Venetie case, which she argued in front of the United States Supreme Court, and her tireless efforts on the Katie John litigation, “winning the right for Ms. John and other Alaska Native subsistence users to fish at their traditional locations after decades of regulatory prohibitions.”  The Katie John litigation “continues to have enormous implications for Alaska and its Native populations, as Alaska Native people seek to maintain their subsistence way of life in the face of increasing competition and regulatory burdens.”

The Legislature went on to state that Heather “has worked on cases for communities across Alaska, covering such diverse topics as tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction, child welfare protection, language preservation, subsistence hunting and fishing rights, land rights, and the impact of global warming on coastal villages, and earning a host of prestigious “ state and national awards.  “The Twenty-eighth Alaska State Legislature offers gratitude to Heather Kendall-Miller for her unwavering dedication to Alaska and her peoples.”

Congratulations, Heather!

Friday, October 17, 2014

NARF Staff Attorneys Steve Moore and Heather Whiteman Runs Him present about tribal water law issues

NARF staff are on the move again! This week NARF Staff Attorneys Steve Moore and Heather Whiteman Runs Him presented at the Water Law Institute’s 3rd Annual Tribal Water Law Conference. Steve and Heather presented on the panel discussing the potential outcomes and effects of Agua Caliente v. Coachella Valley Water District case. To learn more about the conference, click here.

In addition to the Water Law Institute’s conference, Heather also presented on a tribal water law panel at the California Indian Law Conference. For more information on that event, click here.
Water Law Conference logo

Thursday, October 16, 2014

NARF co-hosts webinar on Tribal Water Codes: Regulation of Water Quality and Quantity in Indian Country

Next Tuesday, October 21, NARF will co-host the webinar, Tribal Water Codes: Regulation of Water Quality and Quantity in Indian Country. The webinar will be hosted by NARF, the National Congress of American Indians, the Tribal Water Working Group, Utton Center/University of New Mexico, and Sandia National Laboratories.

One aspect of sovereignty is the control and administration of natural resources within tribal lands.  The purpose of this webinar is to provide Indian Country information about how water codes can be developed to protect and manage tribal water resources.  A panel of experts, including Professor Robert T. Anderson, University of Washington, Duane Mecham, Department of Interior Solicitor’s Office, Lois Trevino, Water Administrator, Confederated Colville Tribe, and Scott Bulgrin, Water Quality Manager, Pueblo of Sandia, will examine a common scenario in Indian Country – an illegal diversion of a stream by a non-Indian fee owner and discharge from an animal feed lot into a tribal stream – and how a properly developed water code can address this problem.

This webinar is important because:
  • a majority of tribes have not quantified their water rights;
  • most tribes lack technical and administrative capacity to manage water on their lands;
  • there is a federal moratorium on approving new water codes absent a congressionally authorized water rights settlement; and 
  • climate change, increased demand for water and poor water quality require tribes to assert management of their water resources.

Click here to register for this important webinar!

Friday, October 10, 2014

NARF Staff Attorney Melody McCoy presents at National Tribal Judicial and Court Clerks’ Conference

Earlier this week, NARF Staff Attorney Melody McCoy presented at the 45th Annual National Tribal Judicial and Court Clerks’ Conference held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the Cherokee Nation’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.  Melody presented an overview of federal cases affecting tribal justice and was joined on the panel by Chief Judge Richard Blake of the Hoopa Valley Tribal Court.  To learn more about the conference, click here.  And, to view the conference agenda, click here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

NARF welcomes Legal Fellow Ian Fisher

Ian Fisher, a recent graduate of Columbia Law School, has joined NARF’s Boulder, Colorado, office for the coming year as a Legal Fellow.  At Columbia Law, Ian worked in the Environmental Law Clinic and was the Colloquium Editor of the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law.  He also organized and participated in a pro bono project that brings law students to reservations throughout Wisconsin to assist tribal members with wills and other legal documents. 

Ian has worked for and volunteered for a number of public interest organizations, including Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Protection Agency, Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, and he has also worked at a private law firm representing tribes and tribal interests.  Ian grew up in the Chicago area and got his B.A. in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis.  Welcome, Ian!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

NARF’s Alaska office celebrates its 30th anniversary

Thirty years ago this week, NARF’s Alaska office opened its doors!  In fall of 1984, NARF's Board of Directors determined there was a serious need by tribes in the state of Alaska for legal aid on issues of sovereignty, subsistence, and child welfare.  The decision was made to dispatch two attorneys from NARF's Colorado office to the Last Frontier.  On October 1, 1984, NARF staff attorneys Lare Aschenbrenner and Robert Anderson opened the doors of the Alaska office.  Thirty years later, NARF's Alaska office continues to represent Alaska Native Tribes on issues core to their continued existence.  To read the NARF Legal Review from 1984 announcing the opening of NARF Alaska, click here.