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Hobbs Straus attorneys successfully defended a tribal college against civil-rights claims in Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2008.

Self-Determination & Self-Governance

Widely recognized as one of the most important legislative policies in modern Indian affairs, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) gives tribes the right to assume responsibility for their own education and social services programs. In l970-1971, one of the firm’s founding partners assisted the Miccosukee Tribe in negotiating a contract to administer all Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) services for the Tribe, which served as a model for the enactment of the ISDEAA in l975.

Today, Hobbs Straus attorneys remain among the leading practitioners in matters related to self-determination and self-governance. We have represented tribal governments in hundreds of negotiations of contracts and compacts under the Act and have assisted with issues and negotiations related to contract support and funding. The Firm has extensive experience working with federal and state agencies on self-determination and self-governance matters including Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management as well as the Indian Health Service. On behalf of a number of the Firm’s tribal clients in Alaska, we worked with other tribal representatives in the state to negotiate the Alaska Tribal Health Compact.

Our attorneys have actively participated in the rulemaking sessions that under the ISDEAA that resulted in the promulgation of rules governing the self-determination and self-governance programs. We were part of the tribal team that developed and successfully lobbied Congress to pass amendments that have strengthened tribal rights under the ISDEAA, including those that provided for Titles IV and V. On the rare occasion when negotiations break down and tribes need to defend their rights under the Act, Hobbs Straus has represented our tribal clients in litigation against federal agencies.

Practice Area Concentrations


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