Coastal Tribes Scoring Export Win With Geoducks

Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine is featuring Tribes in the Puget Sound area that have successfully captured export markets in China and elsewhere with a unique product: the massive Geoduck clam. This unusual natural resource has become highly profitable due to growing consumer demand in Asia, and effective management and marketing by coastal Tribes has created a flourishing multi-million dollar industry. 

Foster Pepper Native American Group attorneys Greg Guedel and Ron Whitener are quoted in the article, which discusses the treaties and court decisions that affirmed Tribes' rights to Geoducks and other marine resources in their traditional lands. After solidifying their legal rights, Tribes that harvest Geoducks implemented strong monitoring and environmental protection for key marine areas, helping ensure the vitality and sustainability of this industry. With Geoduck habitat confined to the Northwest coast and a small area in California, Puget Sound Tribes are shaping the growth of this beneficial industry from a dominant market position.

Free Urban Native American Legal Needs Seminar/Webinar - 31 March 2011


The free seminar/webinar “Serving The Legal Needs of Urban Native Americans” will be held Thursday, 31 March 2011 in Seattle, with the program available free worldwide via live webcast. The program is 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.  The seminar has been approved by the Washington Sate Bar Association for 3.0 Ethics and 2.0 General CLE credits, 5.0 credits total.

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. This program will 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.

Who Should Attend: Attorneys and advocates of all kinds working for Native American rights; Tribal leaders and members; law students interested in serving Native communities, and any one interested in helping protect the legal rights of Native people living in Urban centers. The program will provide free CLE credit for attorneys, including ethics credits.


9:00 Registration/Breakfast

9:30 Seminar Welcome and Introductions
• W. Gregory Guedel, Foster Pepper PLLC Native American Legal Services Chair
Chairman, American Bar Association Committee on Native American Concerns

9:40 Recognizing The Need – Legal Issues for Urban Native Americans
• Millie Kennedy (Tsimshian), Native American Advocacy Coordinator, NW Justice Project
• Jenine Grey (Tlingit), Chief Seattle Club

10:45 Break

11:00 Addressing the Need -- Chief Seattle Club, NW Indian Bar Association and NW Justice Project
• Bree Ramirez (Native Hawaiian), President, NW Indian Bar Association
• John Perkins (Tlingit; Thunderbird/Eagle), Chief Seattle Club Urban Indian Legal Clinic
• Brooke Pinkham (Nez Perce), CLEAR Native American Advocate, NW Justice Project

12:00 Lunch & Networking

12:30 Under Fire: Relations Between Urban Native Americans, Police, and City Government
• Chris Stearns (Navajo), Hobbs Straus Dean & Walker; Seattle Human Rights Commission

1:30 Bridging The Gap — The Attorney’s Role of Engaging and Serving Urban American Indian clients
• Christina Parker (Chippewa Cree), Tulalip Tribal Attorney

2:30 A New Beginning – The Tahoma Indian Center
• Joan Staples-Baum (White Earth Chippewa), Director, Tahoma Indian Center
• Chrishendra Tucker, Field Attorney, NW Justice Project Tacoma Office


Podcast: Details and Depth On The $3.4 Billion Cobell Native American Trust Lawsuit Settlement

The University of California Irvine radio station KUCI’s legal program The Docket has aired an extended segment on the settlement of the landmark Cobell lawsuit between 300,000+ Native Americans and the U.S. government. Host Evan Simon interviewed Foster Pepper PLLC’s Native American Group Chair Greg Guedel regarding the background of the case, the details of the settlement, his discussion with lead plaintiff Eloise Cobell, and what work remains to complete the settlement and lay the groundwork for improved relations between the federal government and Native Americans. The interview can be accessed HERE, or via the Foster Pepper podcast page on iTunes.

Tribal Economic Development Featured On National Public Radio

This week the National Public Radio program “All Things Considered” airs a two-episode series on Tribal economic development in the Southwest. The programs highlight the diverse issues, challenges, and opportunities for Tribes in different locations and which possess different levels of resources. The program focuses on two particular Native economic development models: The Navajo Nation and The Salt River Pima – Maricopa Indian Community.

Interviews include:

Joe Shirley, Navajo Nation President

Martin Harvier, Vice President of the Salt River Pima – Maricopa Indian Community

Quannah Dallas, Salt River Pima’s Economic Development Manager

Brett Isaac, Shonto Community Development Corporation

Joseph Kalt, Director of Harvard University’s American Indian Economic Development Project

Greg Guedel, Chair of Foster Pepper PLLC’s Native American Legal Services Group

Part I of the program, focusing on the Navajo Nation, can be downloaded HERE.

Part II of the program, focusing on the Salt River Pima – Maricopa Indian Community, can be downloaded HERE.

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.