Washington State Implements New Indian Child Welfare Act

The State of Washington has passed into law its own Indian Child Welfare Act, designed to better protect the rights and preserve the cultural heritage of the state’s Native American children who are not able to live with their biological parents.

In the preamble to the new Act, the state declares:

The legislature finds that the state is committed to protecting the essential tribal relations and best interests of Indian children by promoting practices designed to prevent out-of-home placement of Indian children that is inconsistent with the rights of the parents, the health, safety, or welfare of the children, or the interests of their tribe. Whenever out-of-home placement of an Indian child is necessary in a proceeding subject to the terms of the federal Indian child welfare act and in this chapter, the best interests of the Indian child may be served by placing the Indian child in accordance with the placement priorities expressed in this chapter. The legislature further finds that where placement away from the parent or Indian custodian is necessary for the child's safety, the state is committed to a placement that reflects and honors the unique values of the child's tribal culture and is best able to assist the Indian child in establishing, developing, and maintaining a political, cultural, social, and spiritual relationship with the child's tribe and tribal community.

The full text of Washington’s new ICWA can be accessed HERE.
 

Podcasts: Serving The Legal Needs Of Urban Native Americans

Video and audio podcasts are now available from the landmark legal seminar/webinar “Serving The Legal Needs of Urban Native Americans”, held on 31 March 2011 in Seattle. The program was hosted by the law firm of Foster Pepper PLLC, in partnership with the Northwest Justice Project and the American Bar Association Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities’ Committee on Native American Concerns.

Tens of thousands of Native Americans live in and around America’s major cities, often far removed from their ancestral Tribes and families. Often battling poverty and discrimination, many urban Native Americans see their legal and civil rights undermined by a lack of resources and effective advocacy. The presentations in the podcasts demonstrate how specialized non-profit legal clinics in the Northwest are providing much-needed guidance and resources to urban Native Americans, and how this success can be replicated in cities throughout the US.

PODCAST PROGRAMS
(Audio files are in .mp3 format and require an Audio player or you can listen via iTunes.)
(Video files are in .mp4 format and require a media player.)

Welcome and Introduction - (AUDIO  |  VIDEO)

  • Greg Guedel, Chair, Foster Pepper PLLC Native American Legal Services Group

Recognizing The Need – Legal Issues for Urban Native Americans  -  (AUDIO  |  VIDEO

  • Millie Kennedy (Tsimshian), Native American Advocacy Coordinator, NW Justice Project
  • Jenine Grey (Tlingit), Chief Seattle Club

Addressing the Need -- Chief Seattle Club, NW Indian Bar Association and NW Justice Project  -
(AUDIO  |  VIDEO

  • Bree Kame’enui-Ramirez (Native Hawaiian), President, NW Indian Bar Association
  • Christina Parker (Chippewa Cree), Tulalip Tribal Attorney
  • Brooke Pinkham (Nez Perce), CLEAR Native American Advocate, NW Justice Project

Under Fire: Relations Between Urban Native Americans, Police, and City Government  -  
(AUDIO  |  VIDEO

  • Chris Stearns (Navajo), Hobbs Straus Dean & Walker; Seattle Human Rights Commission

Bridging The Gap — The Attorney’s Role of Engaging and Serving Urban American Indian clients  -  (AUDIO  |  VIDEO

  • Christina Parker (Chippewa Cree), Tulalip Tribal Attorney

A New Beginning – The Tahoma Indian Center  -  (AUDIO  |  VIDEO

  • Joan Staples-Baum (White Earth Chippewa), Director, Tahoma Indian Center
  • Chrishendra Tucker, Field Attorney, NW Justice Project Tacoma Office

You can access the podcasts by clicking the AUDIO (.mp3) and/or VIDEO (.mp4)  links, and through Foster Pepper’s iTunes page.
 

LISTEN to all the AUDIO (.mp3) files and subscribe to the RSS feed.
WATCH all the VIDEO (.mp4) files and subscribe to the RSS feed.

Legal Help Needed For White Swan Fire Victims


A house burns as winds spread fire throughout White Swan on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011. (Sara Gettys/Yakima Herald-Republic)
 

A terrible fire that broke out this past week has destroyed dozens of homes in the White Swan community located within the Yakama Nation. Many Native American families lost both their residences and important family legal documents such as wills, powers of attorney, and membership papers. In addition to the need for basic relief, a call is being made for legal assistance to help families with their damage claims and the reconstruction of their legal paperwork.

The relief effort will be coordinated by the Yakama Nation, and contact information for the Nation's logistics officer will be distributed as soon as available.  In the interim, if you are able to assist with direct legal work or other support, please contact:

Patrice Kent
PO Box 17798
Seattle, WA 98127
Tel: (206) 915-1529
Fax: (206) 339-0605
mpatricekent@clearwire.net

Podcast: Non-Profit Organizations In Tribal Communities

Free podcasts from the informative Tribal non-profit organizations seminar in Seattle are now available for you to download from this website. The sessions include:

The Need for Fostering Non-Profits in Indian Country:

Ken Gordon, Executive Director, The Potlatch Fund

Non-Profit Law in Indian Country:

Millie Kennedy, Native American Unit, The Northwest Justice Project
Don Chalmers, President, SparrowHawk Consulting Company
Timothy Brewer, Reservation Attorney, The Tulalip Tribes

Shana Barehand, Tribal Liaison for the WA Department of Revenue

Dispute Resolution in the Tribal Context: “Cultural Awareness and Strategic
Planning”:

Michele Vendiola, Consultant/Facilitator, Community Alliance & Peacemaking
Project
Christina Parker, Field Attorney, The Northwest Justice Project
Greg Guedel, Chair, Foster Pepper PLLC Native American Legal Services
Group

You can access the podcasts below and through Foster Pepper’s iTunes page.

PODCAST - AUDIO
(Audio files are in .mp3 format and require an Audio player or you can listen via iTunes.)

The Need for Fostering Non-Profits in Indian Country:

  • Listen to Ken Gordon, Executive Director, The Potlatch Fund

Non-Profit Law in Indian Country:

  • Millie Kennedy, Native American Unit, The Northwest Justice Project
  • Listen to Don Chalmers, President, SparrowHawk Consulting Company
  • Listen to Timothy Brewer, Reservation Attorney, The Tulalip Tribes
  • Listen to Shana Barehand, Tribal Liaison for the WA Department of Revenue
  • Listen to the Non-Profit Law Panel

Dispute Resolution in the Tribal Context: “Cultural Awareness and Strategic Planning”:

Listen to all the audio files and subscribe to the RSS feed.

PODCAST - VIDEO
(Video files are in .m4v format and require QuickTime.)

The Need for Fostering Non-Profits in Indian Country:

  • Watch Ken Gordon, Executive Director, The Potlatch Fund

Non-Profit Law in Indian Country:

Dispute Resolution in the Tribal Context: “Cultural Awareness and Strategic Planning”:

Watch all the video files and subscribe to the RSS feed.

This Week: Tribal Non-Profit Conference In Seattle

This week in Seattle, Foster Pepper PLLC’s Native American Legal Services Group partners with the Washington State Bar Association’s Indian Law Section, WAACO, the Northwest Justice Project, and the Potlatch Fund to present the all-day legal seminar:

Nonprofit Law in Indian Country
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Foster Pepper PLLC
1111 Third Avenue, Suite 3000
Seattle, Washington 98101
www.foster.com

 Discussion topics include:

Incorporation and Other State Law Issues

Application for Tax Exempt Status

Compliance Issues for Public Charities

Fostering Nonprofits in Indian Country

Nonprofit Law in Indian Country

Cultural Awareness while Representing Native Americans

The program offers CLE credit for practicing attorneys, and podcasts of the sections will be available on this website following the seminar. Download the registration information HERE, or contact Jean Seeley at jeans@nwjustice.org or 206-464-1519, ext. 631.
 

Tribal Non-Profit Organizations Seminar - 24 March 2010 In Seattle

Wednesday, 24 March 2010 is the date for a full-day seminar on developing and operating non-profit organizations in Native communities. Presented in partnership by the Washington State Bar Association’s Indian Law Section, Washington Attorneys Assisting Community Organizations, the Native American Unit of the Northwest Justice Project, and Foster Pepper PLLC, the seminar will cover numerous topics to assist those interested in forming charitable and other non-profit organizations, including: 

  • Incorporation and Other State Law Issues
  • Application for Tax Exempt Status
  • Compliance Issues for Public Charities
  • Fostering Non-Profits In Indian Country
  • Cultural Awareness In Dispute Resolution

Program and registration forms are available HERE, and podcasts of the seminar presentations will be available on this website after the program.
 

Indian Law Resource Center Releases Annual Report

The Indian Law Resource Center has released its annual report highlighting work undertaken to defend the rights of Native American nations and other indigenous peoples in the Americas.  Attorneys and Board Members from the ILRC played a central role in the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and are working to educate and encourage Native communities to use the Declaration to strengthen their rights of self-determination, protect their human rights, and control their own land and natural resources.

Foster Pepper Receives Judge David Soukup Award For Native American Child Advocacy

The King County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program has announced the Seattle law firm of Foster Pepper PLLC as the 2009 recipient of the Judge David Soukup Pro Bono Recognition Award.  W. Gregory Guedel, Chair of the firm’s Native American Legal Services Group, and Pro Bono Counsel Joanna Plichta Boisen will receive the award on behalf of the firm on April 25, 2009 in Seattle.

The award, named for the jurist who founded the nation’s first CASA program in Seattle in 1977, is presented annually to an organization demonstrating noteworthy commitment to CASA’s mission of providing free legal service for children up to 11 years old who have allegedly been abused and/or neglected.  The need for CASA advocacy in Native Communities is especially great, as Native American children are disproportionately involved in legal issues involving foster care and custody.  Foster Pepper is being recognized for its work in creating a new legal deskbook for practitioners serving Native American children under the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), and for its landmark ICWA seminar that provided training to a national group of CASA volunteers serving Native Communities. Video and audio of the seminar can be accessed here or as podcasts through iTunes.

Dependency/CASA Pro-Bono Coordinator Janet Harris stated in announcing the award:

We are still reeling from the fabulous day we spent with you and our guests at the Indian Child Welfare Act seminar. So much work and effort on your part made the event a resounding success and helped the CASA program along the path to establishing our own Native American unit.