NAPOLS accepts cases based on priorities which have been approved by our Advisory Board. The NAPOLS Advisory Board is made up of representatives from each of Oregon’s nine tribes, two representatives from the Indian Bar, and two representatives of the urban Indian community. Those priorities are:
Protection of Tribal Sovereignty and Self-Governance
NAPOLS played a pivotal role in assisting five of Oregon’s Tribes to regain their unique government-to-government relationship with the United States, a process also known as restoration of the Tribe’s federal status. We can assist Tribes in the development of Tribal government infrastructure and institutions, including the development of Tribal constitutions, codes, and ordinances, and the preparation of MOU’s and MOA’s. We can advise on the establishment of Tribal housing authorities or economic development corporations, with particular attention to a Tribe’s unique requirements. We have successfully represented Tribes in negotiating agreements on Tribal jurisdiction over Tribal members and resources with State and local authorities.
Protection of Treaty Rights and Natural Resources
NAPOLS is a regional leader in the protection of Tribal hunting, fishing, and water rights. We can advise Tribes on the development of Tribal businesses, such as timber management or fisheries, from both a biological and legal perspective. Our experience with federal environmental laws, such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)—including legal and policy guidance on the development of environmental impact statements, as well as litigation concerning treaty rights and NEPA issues in the federal courts—permits specialized and practical advice in all major areas of environmental and natural resources law.
NAPOLS provides assistance to Indian tribes and Indian organizations in all facets of economic development. NAPOLS has assisted Tribes in negotiating financing for major projects, analyzing tax advantages for locating enterprises on-reservation, and in drafting tribal codes and regulations that are related to economic development. NAPOLS has assisted Indian organizations and businesses with corporate structuring, tax issues, employment issues, financing issues and other aspects of economic development.
Our firm has provided representation and assistance to a number of nonprofit Native organizations in their development including drafting articles of incorporation and by-laws, and obtaining 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service. We are skilled in providing technical assistance on board development and legal consultation to establish and improve the effectiveness of non-profits, including basic responsibilities of boards, strategic planning, recruiting and orienting board members, the nonprofit board’s role in reducing risk, their legal obligations, and understanding lobbying restrictions for tax-exempt organizations.
Cultural and Archaeological Resource Protection
NAPOLS has a long history of providing representation to Oregon Indians and Tribes asserting rights under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA), the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and the First Amendment. NAPOLS attorneys have helped change State laws and State regulations to better protect Native American burials and archeological sites located on private property.
Protection of Religious Freedom
NAPOLS has had a long-standing involvement with Indian tribes, Indian organizations and individuals, in protecting and asserting religious freedom for Indian religious and spiritual practices. NAPOLS has been involved in a number of lawsuits involving religious freedom, has worked on passage of protective legislation, and has assisted tribes in drafting tribal codes to protect religious freedom.
Indian Child Welfare Act Compliance
NAPOLS has had a long-standing involvement in training and implementing the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in Oregon since its passage in 1978 to promote the stability of Indian tribes and families. NAPOLS has actively and successfully litigated or negotiated nearly every issue on the Act from the very first challenge to the law in Oregon (Angus v. Joseph), to the development of ICWA Tribal-State memoranda of agreements. A contract with the State Indigent Defense office permits our legal representation of low-income Indian children and families on ICWA cases in Multnomah County juvenile court.
NAPOLS has assisted tribes in providing health care and health benefits to tribal members, including drafting applicable tribal code provisions, assisting in the establishment of tribal health departments, and training of health department staff in legal issues around record confidentiality, patient’s rights, and liability.
For more information, please visit our web site at www.napols.org.