Piliero Mazza & Pargament, PLLC   Vol. 4, Issue 9  October 2002

Addressing Tribal and Alaska Native Corporation Legal and Business Issues


The articles shown here are excerpts -- if you'd like to subscribe to Tribal Advocate, please contact Susan Brock at (202) 857-1000 or at 


  A R T I C L E S


SOVEREIGNTY:  Tribal Sovereignty Scores Victory in Ongoing Gasoline Tax Case

TRIBAL RECOGNITION:  Senate Indian Affairs Committee Holds Hearing on Tribal Recognition

GAMING:  New Chairman and Associate Commissioners Proposed for NIGC

ON THE HILL:  Positive Legislation Affecting Native Americans and Alaska Natives

ASK THE ADVOCATE:  BOP Decides to Award Construction Management Service Contracts to 8(a) Companies


SOVEREIGNTY

Tribal Sovereignty Scores Victory in Ongoing Gasoline Tax Case

Over the past few years several tribes have been forced to defend against state assessments of taxes relating to tribal business issues.   The Winnebago Tribe has been fighting a battle against the State of Kansas relating to its sale of motor fuel to other Indian tribes. 

State officials claimed that Ho-Chunk, Inc. (HCI), a company wholly-owned by the Winnebago Tribe (Winnebago or Tribe), owed $1.25 million in motor fuel taxes in conjunction with its fuel sales to other tribes located in Kansas.  When HCI refused to pay the tax, the State confiscated two motor fuel transport trucks owned by Ho-Chunk Distribution and filed criminal charges against HCI, the Tribe and tribal officials.

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TRIBAL RECOGNITION

Senate Indian Affairs Committee Holds Hearing on Tribal Recognition

On September 17, 2002, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing to discuss the Tribal Recognition and Indian Bureau Enhancement Act of 2001 (S-1392) and the moratorium amendment proposed by Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT).

The Act sets forth criteria for obtaining federal acknowledgment and includes specific guidance regarding what is considered to be sufficient evidence for each criterion.  Senator Dodd 's amendment to the Department of Interior appropriations bill would place a moratorium on Bureau of Indian Affairs funding for the granting or denial of pending acknowledgement petitions until certain administrative procedures have been implemented. 

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GAMING

New Chairman and Associate Commissioners Proposed for NIGC

On September 3, 2002, President Bush nominated Philip N. Hogen, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, to replace Montie R. Deer as Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC).  Chairman Deer, a member of the Muscogee Creek tribe, stepped down from his position on September 5.

Mr. Hogen has previous experience in the area of federal gaming regulation, having served on the NIGC as an associate commissioner from December 1995 to June 1999.  He currently serves as the DOI’s Associate Solicitor for Indian Affairs, where he addresses legal issues involving the trust relationship between and among DOI, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the tribes. Prior to becoming an associate commissioner, Mr. Hogen was involved in a private practice specializing in Native American issues and gaming law.  Mr. Hogen also has law enforcement experience – having served as both a state and U.S. Attorney in his home state of South Dakota.

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ON THE HILL

Positive Legislation Affecting Native Americans and Alaska Natives

Several pieces of positive legislation affecting Native Americans and Alaska Natives in the areas of energy resources, government contracting and land allotments have been moving through the Senate and House over the past few weeks. 

Energy Resources

Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), senior member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, worked with Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) to reach a compromise agreement between the Senate and the House on a comprehensive energy policy bill known as the Energy Policy Act of 2002 (HR-4) that includes provisions favorable to tribes.  As negotiated, the bill would allow tribes to negotiate oil and gas leases on their own behalf.  Specifically, the provision would permit tribes to negotiate binding leases for conventional fossil fuel development on their lands.  The Senate version of the bill, which was passed in April, allowed tribes to lease their lands for energy generation, refining, processing and transmission, but excluded the right to negotiate leases for conventional fuels.

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ASK THE ADVOCATE

BOP Decides to Award Construction Management Service Contracts to 8(a) Companies

Q:  I recently heard that the Federal Bureau of Prisons has decided to award construction management service contracts to 8(a) companies.  Exactly what is a construction management service contract and how can a Tribally owned company take advantage of the BOP's decision to award these contracts to 8(a) companies?

A: Yes, the BOP has recently adopted a policy of awarding construction management service contracts to 8(a) companies.  In providing these services, the contractor acts as an extension of the BOP and represents the interests of the government throughout the duration of the construction project.  Starting with the early planning and design stages of the project and proceeding until completion and close‑out of the facility, the construction management contractor strives to ensure that project goals for cost, schedule and quality are met by the construction contractor.

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