2017 Indian Law Conference

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 bolstered internally and externally to address coming challenges. From environmental protection and cultural resources to reservation boundaries and civil liberties, the Conference will examine how Tribes can best support the pillars of sovereignty both on and off the reservation in this uncertain era.

Online pre-registration for the Indian Law Conference is now closed.
You may register onsite for this event beginning at 7:00am Thursday, April 6 at the Talking Stick Resort.


 Early Bird
(on or before 3/3/17)

(after 3/3/17)

Full Conference Registration
FBA Sustaining Member  



FBA Member






Law Student



A La Carte Items
Thursday Guest Reception Ticket


Thursday Guest Lunch Ticket


Friday Guest Lunch Ticket


Conference Materials Book


Thursday, April 6
8:00-8:15 a.m.

Welcome Remarks

  • Hon. Michael J. Newman, FBA National President
  • Tracy Toulou, FBA Indian Law Section Chair
8:15-9:00 a.m.

Keynote Address
Burton Warrington, President of Indian Ave. Group; Of-Counsel, Fletcher Law PLLC

9:10-10:40 a.m.

Plenary 1: The Intersection of Tribal Religion and Environmental Claims

  • Ethel Branch, Attorney General, Navajo Nation
  • Allison M. Dussias, Professor of Law, New England School of Law, Boston
  • Mary M. Neil, Reservation Attorney, Lummi Nation
  • Gregory A. Smith, Partner, Hobbs Straus Dean & Walker LLP
10:55 a.m.-12:25 p.m.

Plenary 2: Sharing Power: Tribal, Local, State, and Federal Cooperation

  • Karen Diver, Faculty, University of Minnesota-Duluth; former Special Assistant to the President for Native American Affairs
  • David Nyberg, Deputy Legal Counsel & Tribal Liaison, Executive Office of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder
  • Timothy Q. Purdon, Partner, Robins Kaplan LLP; Former United States Attorney for the District of North Dakota

Breakout 1: Strategies for Empowering Attorneys to Strengthen Sovereignty

  • Hon. Robert A. Blaeser, Chief Judge, White Earth Nation Tribal Court
  • Amy Cordalis, General Counsel, Yurok Tribe
  • William Hardacker, General Legal Counsel, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
12:30-2:00 p.m.

Networking Luncheon
Sponsored by LexisNexis

2:15-3:45 p.m.

Plenary 3: Off-Reservation Habitat Rights

  • Steven Moore, Senior Staff Attorney, Native American Rights Fund
  • Colette Routel, Professor & Co-Director of Indian Law Program, Mitchell Hamline School of Law
  • John Sledd, Partner, Kanji & Katzen PLLC
  • Kekek Jason Stark, Legal Director & Tribal Attorney, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
  • Stephen Hayes Suagee, Tribal Attorney, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe

Breakout 2: Human Trafficking of Indigenous Peoples in the 21st Century

  • Dr. Alexandra Pierce, President, Othayonih Research
  • Elizabeth Horsman, Assistant United States Attorney & Indigenous Nations Liaison, Northern District of New York
  • Victoria Sweet, Program Attorney, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
4:00-5:30 p.m.

Plenary 4: Navigating the Trump Administration - Governmental Changes Impacting Indian Country

  • Mike Andrews, Staff Director and Chief Counsel, U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
  • Michael S. Black, Acting Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior
  • Fawn R. Sharp, President, Quinault Indian Nation; President, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians
  • Eric Shepard, Associate Solicitor Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior
5:30-7:00 p.m.

Sponsored by Walmart

Friday, April 7
8:30-10:00 a.m. Plenary 5: Energy Development, DAPL, and Tribes - What's Next
  • Angela Bibens, Attorney, Water Protector Legal Collective
  • Jan Hasselman, Attorney, Earthjustice
  • Doug MacCourt, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Pilar Thomas, Of Counsel, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP
  • Brandy Toelupe, Partner, Tilden Toelupe LLC; Attorney, Water Protector Legal Collective

Panel Co-Sponsored by NNALSA 

10:15-11:45 a.m. Plenary 6: Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property Rights
  • Wade T. Blackmon, Counsel, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Melody McCoy, Staff Attorney, Native American Rights Fund
  • Paul Spruhan, Assistant Attorney General, Navajo Nation Department of Justice
Breakout 3: Protecting Civil Liberties in Tribal Courts
  • A. Nikki Borchardt Campbell, Executive Director, National American Indian Court Judges Association
  • Kristy Healing, Tribal Attorney, Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians
  • Ron Whitener, Administrative Manager, Center of Indigenous Research & Justice
12:00-1:30 p.m. Awards Luncheon
Sponsored by Osborn Maledon PA
1:45-3:15 p.m.

Plenary 7: Finding ICWA Allies

  • Kate Fort, Director, Indian Law Clinic and Adjunct Professor, Michigan State University College of Law
  • Shannon Smith, Executive Director, ICWA Law Center
  • Hon. Korey Wahwassuck, Ninth Judicial District, Itasca, Minnesota Judicial Branch

Breakout 4: Trust and Collaboration: The Importance of Tribal Consultation

  • Jonodev Chaudhuri, Chairman, National Indian Gaming Commission
  • Michael Rossetti, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
  • V. Heather Sibbison, Partner, Dentons LLP
3:30-5:00 p.m.

Plenary 8: Lawyers as Activists: The Ethical Obligations of Attorneys Engaging in Social and Political Activism

  • Anthony Broadman, Partner, Galanda Broadman, PLLC
  • Khyla D. Craine, Assistant General Counsel, NAACP
  • Heather Dawn Thompson, Attorney, Greenberg Traurig LLP 

The deadline for reserving rooms at the Talking Stick Resort has passed and the resort is currently sold out during the program's dates. Please see a list of alternate hotels that are comparable in price and conveniently located less than ten miles from the conference site.

Best Western Plus Sundial
7320 E Camelback Road; Scottsdale, AZ 85251
5.5 Miles from Conference Location

Gainey Suites Hotel
7300 E Gainey Suites Drive; Scottsdale, AZ 85258
4.4 Miles from Conference Location

Hyatt Place Scottsdale/Old Town
7300 East Third Avenue; Scottsdale, AZ 85251
6.2 Miles from Conference Location

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch
7500 E. Doubletree Ranch Road; Scottsdale, AZ 85258
4 Miles from Conference Location

Residence Inn Scottsdale Paradise Valley
6040 North Scottsdale Road; Scottsdale, AZ 85253
4.4 Miles from Conference Location

Scottsdale Marriott Suites Old Town
7325 East 3rd Avenue; Scottsdale, AZ 85251
6.2 Miles from Conference Location

The Scottsdale Inn
5101 North Scottsdale Road; Scottsdale, AZ 85250
5.2 Miles from Conference Location

7277 East Camelback Road; Scottsdale, AZ, 85251
5.6 Miles from Conference Location

Premier Sponsors

Elite Sponsors


Patron Sponsors

Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP

Osborn Maledon PA


U.S. Air Force JAG Corps

Contact Heather Gaskins if you are interested in sponsoring this conference.

April 6 - 7, 2017
Talking Stick Resort
9800 Talking Stick Way
Scottsdale, AZ 85256

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