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Native American Tribes & Organizations

The history of Northwest culture is bound with that of the region’s Native American tribes. Miller Nash Graham & Dunn’s lawyers are proud to provide legal counsel and guidance to many Northwest tribes and their enterprises. We have the extensive experience and understanding to address the complex and sophisticated legal needs of tribal governments, organizations, and enterprises, while protecting each tribe’s sovereign immunity, tribal culture, and tribal resources.

Miller Nash Graham & Dunn understands that not only are tribes unique from other governments and enterprises, but each tribe itself is also unique. The depth and breadth of our knowledge comes from having worked on numerous matters for a variety of tribes—from newly recognized landless tribes, to tribes that have succeeded in spite of difficult geographic obstructions, to tribes with checkerboard reservations located in urban areas. We are honored to provide a comprehensive array of services in support of tribal organizations that allow us to partner with our tribal clients and take a holistic approach to serving each one’s specific and unique needs.

Representative Experience

Successfully closed $215 million syndicated credit facility for tribe and tribal enterprise to expand tribal casino and build hotel and resort and handled ongoing issues between bank and tribe. Handled contracts with architects, contractors, and other construction-related vendors, addressed unique bonding and security issues related to tribe’s unique status as sovereign, and negotiated ongoing construction-related relationships through fast-track construction from design to occupancy. Handled negotiations with local government for utilities and other issues. Handled franchise and other agreements for businesses locating in resort, contracts with vendors, gaming and liquor-related licensing and regulatory issues, and other tribal casino resort-related matters.
Navigated the complex tax treatment of tribes to successfully resolve issues with the Department of Revenue regarding tax treatment and application of preemptions and exemptions for tribes and nontribal enterprises operating businesses in and outside of Indian Country.
Successfully negotiated tribal-state gaming compacts and amendments thereto, including negotiation of Washington State’s Appendix X2 and subsequent amendment.
Successfully defended tribes before the NIGC through investigations, proceedings, and settlement. Obtained declination letters on management contracts and sole proprietary interest issues in tribal financing post-Lac du Flambeau.
Helped develop inaugural model memorandum of agreement with Washington State Liquor Control Board related to liquor licensing in Indian country and negotiated first such memorandum on tribe’s behalf. Negotiated tribal liquor agreements for ownership and operation of tribal liquor stores. Defended tribe in liquor licensing dispute with local jurisdiction through licensing application process, administrative hearing, and court proceedings.