Municipalities and private entities face unique issues when dealing with Indian tribal interests due to the complex and continually evolving body of laws and policies that govern interaction with American Indian tribes. Nixon Peabody possesses the experience necessary to help our clients successfully navigate any challenge in this area.
Our Indian Law & Gaming practice—recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as a nationally ranked practice—offers municipalities and private entities a trusted partner who can deliver decisive and practical guidance, counseling, and litigation solutions. Our knowledgeable attorneys have substantial experience handling a variety of issues, including:
- The federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA)
- Indian tribal status, including state and federal recognition of Indian tribes
- Sovereign immunity and jurisdictional issues
- Aboriginal title and its extinguishment
- Land-into-trust applications under the Indian Reorganization Act
- Land use, revenue, and economic development issues
- Historical land grants and conveyances during the Colonial period in America
The history of national, state, and local interactions with Indian tribes from Colonial times to the present
Nixon Peabody’s Indian Law team works with non-tribal entities seeking to negotiate municipal service agreements with Indian tribes. Our attorneys also counsel municipalities and private entities on their rights as they relate to Indian tribes.
When our clients face high-stakes gaming initiatives, Nixon Peabody’s Indian Law team develops and implements targeted responses, including appropriate and effective public relations and political strategies. Our lawyers have reviewed the local impact of casinos and proposed casinos in New York, California, Illinois, Connecticut, and Wisconsin, for example, and have met on numerous occasions with the Department of the Interior to discuss these matters. We also have experience in negotiating inter-municipal agreements with tribes on behalf of our municipal clients.
When disputes arise, Nixon Peabody’s Indian Law team applies its proven track record of delivering successful results for our clients in some of the most complex, significant, and high-profile Indian land claims and gaming-related litigation in the nation. Our attorneys use a collaborative approach, seeking client input on tactical decisions to keep the focus of the litigation on the client’s desired outcome.
- Town of Southampton, New York (Shinnecock Gaming Litigation)
On behalf of the Town of Southampton, NY, following a 40-day bench trial, Nixon Peabody secured a permanent injunction in federal court prohibiting the Shinnecock Indian Tribe from building and operating a casino in the town.
- County of Suffolk, New York, et al. (Shinnecock Land Claim)
On behalf of the County of Suffolk, NY, and numerous other clients, Nixon Peabody successfully obtained dismissal of a complaint by the Shinnecock Indian Tribe, which was seeking to reclaim land allegedly conveyed in violation of the federal Indian Trade and Intercourse Act (ITIA), commonly referred to as the “Non-intercourse Act.”
- Counties of Madison and Oneida, New York (Oneida Land Claim)
In land claims brought by three Oneida tribes, a federal court granted Nixon Peabody’s motion for summary judgment, dismissing the claims asserted against our clients, the counties of Madison and Oneida. Summary judgment was affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Counties of Madison and Oneida, New York (Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe Land Claim)
Nixon Peabody has represented the counties of Madison and Oneida, as well as several towns and one village, in defending against claims by the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians that they have been unlawfully excluded from their six-by-six-mile reservation in central New York.
- Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Long Island Railroad Company (Unkechaug Indian Nation Land Claim)
Nixon Peabody successfully defended the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Long Island Railroad Company against the claim of the Unkechaug (Poospatuck) Indian Nation, which asserted both fee-simple and easement rights to property situated in Suffolk County, NY.
- DeKalb County, Illinois (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Gaming Matter)
Nixon Peabody represents a citizens’ group opposed to the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation’s efforts to construct and operate a gaming facility in the Town of Shabbona, DeKalb County, IL.
- Counties of Napa and Sonoma (CA) (Mishewal Wappo Restoration Claim)
Nixon Peabody represents the counties of Napa and Sonoma, Intervenor Defendants, in an action seeking restoration of federal tribal recognition and the taking of lands into trust for the tribe’s benefit.
- Siskiyou County, California (Alturas Rancheria Gaming Matter)
Nixon Peabody has represented and counseled the County of Siskiyou, CA, in connection with its strategic response to the casino gaming initiative of the Alturas Rancheria tribe.