A Proven Record of Success

Advocate for American Indian nations and Native-owned businesses

Successes

Here are some of the successes that Odawi Law PLLC has had over the years in helping tribal governments protect treaty rights, promote better tribal government operations, and pursue greater sovereignty and self-determination.

• Served a lead lobbying role in coalition-building and policy advocacy leading to the enactment of the Tribal General Welfare Act of 2015, 26 U.S.C. §139E, which immunizes [from federal income taxation] nearly all tribal government benefits provided to their tribal citizens

• Led effort to complete $130 million new-territory casino project in Buffalo, New York with significant support from local business, political, and civic community

• Led effort to enforce tribal employment rights ordinance ("TERO") that allowed completion of $28 million highway improvements being denied by state government and secured nearly $1 million in TERO fees

• Developed legal strategy to cancel state highway rights-of-way through tribal lands and pursue Nonintercourse Act claim against a state government for trespass on treaty-protected lands

• Drafted amendments to tribal casino corporation charters to improve effectiveness and legitimacy in board operations, as well as accountability to tribal government and citizens

• Developed and led the effort to establish a tribal holding company, to diversify the tribal economy and expand tribal government revenue stream

• Developed and implemented legal strategy to protect treaty rights by securing EPA recognition of tribal government issued wastewater discharge permit for new tribal wastewater treatment plant

• Developed and implemented legal strategy to protect treaty rights by preventing EPA regulatory interference with tribal casino construction

• Developed and implemented legal strategy to protect treaty rights by preventing union organizing campaign and NLRB regulatory interference

• Developed legal strategy for tribal government to cancel state thruway rights-of-way over tribal lands entered into in violation of federal non-intercourse act

• Advised tribal officials during state police invasion of tribal lands in connection with state government effort to violate treaty rights and impose state taxes on tribal commerce

• Initiated tribal effort to pursue FERC hydropower license that led to a $100 million settlement with power company and enhanced tribal rights over hydroelectric facility

• Initiated efforts to incorporate the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into tribal legislation and petitions to the U.S. president for redressing grievances required by treaty

Developed legal strategy that led to a $230 million settlement of a tribal-state gaming exclusivity dispute

• Advised on a comprehensive political and media strategy to elevate tribal government profile and influence regionally, statewide, and nationally

• Served as primary tribal liaison on intergovernmental relations with federal, state, and local governments

• Prepared expert witness report for a federal district court on the historical and legal dimensions of a tribal land claim

• Prepared expert witness report for a federal district court on the authority of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to oversee tribal electoral process

• Developed and implemented legal strategy to allow tribal government to assume contract responsibility for certain educational services previously provided by state government

• Administered 1,200 employee tribal government with a $130 million annual budget, with responsibility for overseeing tribally-owned enterprises that generated $700 million in revenue for year with a $1 billion regional economic impact

• Advised a tribal general council constitutional reform committee in the development and implementation of amendments to define legislative powers, to stabilize electoral process, to create an ethics commission, and to remove approval requirements of the Secretary of the Interior, including management of the BIA amendment approval process

• Developed amendments and led tribal constitutional reform effort to create tribal court of appeals, improve judicial election process, and remove state law restrictions on tribal government actions

• Designed tribal tobacco regulatory system, including provisions to require tribal stamping, ensure minimum retail pricing, regulatory agency enforcement, and consistency with federal tobacco regulatory laws

• Drafted tribal ethics legislation, including establishment of tribal ethics commissions

• Drafted numerous tribal codes, including education law, judicial appellate procedure rules, natural resources laws, and child welfare laws

Developed the legal strategy to cancel a State right-of-way over tribal lands in violation of A 1794 Treaty and Federal Non-Intercourse Act