We deliver creative strategies and decisive practical guidance and counseling to resolve complex disputes arising from assertions of tribal sovereignty, including Indian gaming initiatives and land claims.
Municipalities and private entities face unique challenges when dealing with Indian tribal interests asserting tribal sovereignty. The laws and policies that govern interaction with American Indian tribes are complex and continually evolving. We are attuned to the political dynamics that often influence the resolution of these disputes both in and out of court and work closely with our municipal clients to address these influences through appropriate and effective public relations and political strategies. We are recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as a nationally ranked practice and we deliver decisive and practical guidance, counseling and dispute resolution solutions on a variety of issues, including:
- The federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA)
- Indian tribal status, sovereign immunity, and jurisdictional issues
- Land use, revenue, and economic development issues
Our clients turn to us to deliver the desired result in some of the most complex, significant and high-profile Indian land claims and gaming-related litigation in the nation. We use a collaborative approach, seeking client input on tactical decisions to keep the focus of the litigation on the desired outcome.
We represent clients in New York, California, Illinois, Connecticut and Wisconsin, and we have met on numerous occasions with the Department of the Interior to present the views of our municipal clients.
With our extensive experience in negotiating inter-municipal agreements with tribes, municipal clients can count on us to help them successfully navigate any challenge they may face in this area.
Who we work with
- Non-tribal entities such as industry trade groups and citizen groups
- Non-tribal entities doing business with Indian tribes
Town of Southampton, New York (Shinnecock Gaming Litigation)
On behalf of the Town of Southampton, NY, following a 35-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.
Counties of Napa and Sonoma (CA) (Mishewal Wappo Restoration Claim)
Representing the counties of Napa and Sonoma, California, in an action seeking restoration of federal tribal recognition and the taking of lands into trust for the benefit of an alleged Indian tribe.
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.
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 (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 represented 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.
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.