Native Americans

Photograph of a lake with mountains on the background at Grand Teton National Park.  Courtesy of the National Park Service.


Native Americans: Claims and Other Matters

The Natural Resources Section supervises and conducts litigation arising under several different classes of statutes, described below, and also under treaties and agreements with Indians, Executive Orders, common law, and the laws of various states. The Natural Resources Section’s Indian docket includes suits by Indian tribes, individuals or allottees against the United States for alleged breaches of treaties and agreements with Indians, and for alleged violations of law in the federal government’s administration of statutes governing Indian lands, Indian resources, Indian assistance programs, and actions with respect to tribal self-government and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. See United States Attorneys Manual 5-7.120(E). Our docket is primarily defensive, but we often find ourselves litigating against one tribe that has challenged a decision Interior has taken to provide services or further the interest of another tribe. We also bring affirmative civil cases to enforce temporary closure orders issued by the Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission and final orders and civil penalties issued by the Commission. Our major areas of litigation include litigation over land into trust decisions, the United States’ government-to-government relationship with Indian tribes, Indian tribal membership matters, cultural resource related claims, water resource claims, Indian gaming litigation, Quiet Title Act claims, and breach of trust claims.

Updated May 12, 2015