The legacy of Native Americans and the U.S. Constitution continues to impact the legal status of American Indians both inside and outside of Indian Country. Tribes today stand at the threshold of an uncertain future, and the recent conflict regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline has highlighted many aspects of tribal sovereignty that need to be addressed. The approximately 1,200-mile pipeline project would travel underneath the Missouri River, the primary drinking water source for the Standing Rock Sioux, a tribe of around 10,000 with a reservation in the central part of North and South Dakota.

From environmental protection and cultural resources to reservation boundaries and civil liberties, the upcoming Federal Bar Association Indian Law Conference at the Talking Stick Resort in Arizona will examine how tribes can best support the pillars of sovereignty both on and off the reservation in this ambiguous era. There is something for everyone at this conference; attorneys, law students, and professionals matriculating from various disciplines will find value at the April 6-7 session. Register on or before March 3 to take advantage of early bird rates.

Challenges persist about a host of legal and social issues as the tribes and government work out how a sovereign nation exists and thrives within the U.S. What are the federal government’s trust obligations to protect tribal lands? What do tribal rights to self-government actually look like? Who or what shall provide the services necessary for tribal survival and advancement? The fight to preserve tribal sovereignty and treaty rights has long been at the forefront of the Native American civil rights movement.

Conference panelists will describe in detail issues relating to federal criminal jurisdiction, the history of federal Indian law and policy, human rights, federal environmental regulation over Indian lands, exercising treaty rights, indigenous activism, cultural diversity, religious freedom, Indian gaming, protection of Native American religious practices and beliefs, and tribal justice and tribal courts.

The 42nd Annual Indian Law Conference will offer tools for individuals to become better equipped to deal with current issues facing tribes and tribal courts. American Indians are members of three distinct American political groups: Indian tribes, the states within which they reside, and the U.S. While this tripartite political status underlies many of the interactions between Indians and state governments, federal Indian law concentrates on jurisdiction inside of Indian Country.

Hosting the Indian Law Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona will profoundly contribute to the discussion surrounding the assertions of sovereignty and provide some much needed illumination as to the federal government’s power to legislate with respect to Native American affairs.  How explicit must federal law be, and how much flexibility do states have in interpreting Congress’s directives? What are the different roles for federal and state governments? What power do the federal courts have to supply tribal rights when Congress has been silent? Join the Federal Bar Association at the 2017 Indian Law Conference and sign up today!

Stacy Slotnick, Esq. holds a J.D., cum laude, from Touro Law Center and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She performs a broad range of duties as an entertainment lawyer, including drafting and negotiating contracts; addressing and litigating trademark, copyright, patent, and other IP issues; and directing the strategy and implementation of public relations, blogging, and social media campaigns.