- What We Do
- Native American Law
Foster Garvey takes great pride in our long history of service to Native American and Alaska Native peoples and organizations. From public service legal programs to multi-million dollar finance and infrastructure projects, we work closely with Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations to facilitate their community development and economic growth.
With decades of experience representing Tribes, we understand the business and legal issues unique to Tribes, including the sovereign status of Tribes and their emphasis on economic development that provides employment and job training for tribal members. In addition to our work focused on treaty rights and relations between Tribes and the federal government, we offer services and guidance in a vast array of areas including bond finance, real estate and construction, employment and labor, media and communications, gaming, environmental and land use, business, health care and intellectual property protection.
As needed, we represent Tribes before Congress or federal agencies to promote the adoption of laws and regulations beneficial to Tribes. Our firm deeply values our relationships with Native communities and we recognize the importance of enhancing the opportunities and well-being of every member of the communities we serve. In addition to providing a broad range of legal services, Foster Garvey offers educational programming, pro bono assistance and legal training to our clients in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and across the country.
Business and Economic Development Projects
Foster Garvey lawyers have worked closely with Pacific Northwest Tribes in economic development activities including drafting Tribal business codes, development planning and other business services to Tribal governments, Tribal governmentally controlled businesses and Tribal member-owned businesses. Our attorneys help Tribes plan and operate a broad range of commercial ventures including casinos, race tracks and power plants. We negotiate financing, acquisitions and management and operating agreements. We provide advice on tax issues, joint venture structures, environmental considerations and Bureau of Indian Affairs agreements.
Communications, Telecom & Media
Tribes are becoming more involved in telecommunications and media ventures including radio, television, telephone, and satellite and wireless services. We represent Tribes applying for licenses for commercial and noncommercial radio stations that provide unique news and entertainment programming, help preserve indigenous languages and provide information about social and governmental services. We work with the Federal Communication Commission’s Indian Telecommunications Initiative to help Tribes acquire spectrum and convert to digital media. Learn more about our Communications, Telecom & Media experience.
Foster Garvey has an extensive history of working with government agencies, including Tribal agencies, on construction and design issues. Our experience is broad, ranging from preparing simple construction contracts and foreclosure of liens to litigating and arbitrating multimillion dollar claims. Learn more about our Construction experience.
Employment and Employee Benefits
As Tribes’ commercial activities increase, so do the number of people they employ. Tribes increasingly need practical advice regarding labor and employment issues, as well as employee benefits. Our attorneys take a risk management approach with employment issues and work to train managers and staff about issues including discrimination and harassment, family and medical leave, drafting employment policies and handbooks, counseling on personnel decisions, developing employment-related ordinances and policies, and conducting audits to address best practices. Learn more about our Labor, Employment & Immigration practice.
Foster Garvey attorneys provide analysis and advice regarding non-casino, off-reservation gaming opportunities and the conduct of Class III gaming pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. We have also represented Tribal clients before the Washington Horse Racing Commission.
Land Use and Environmental
Foster Garvey’s Native American Law team work works closely with the firm’s Real Estate, Land Use & Environmental attorneys on Tribal development projects and investments. We represent Tribes in coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as well as state agencies asserting jurisdiction over certain aspects of tribal development projects.
A number of our Native American Law attorneys are also experienced Litigation & Dispute Resolution attorneys and have experience resolving disputes unique to Tribes. We represent Tribal clients in U.S. Federal Courts, before administrative agencies and in tribal courts. We have represented clients in matters including fishing rights, tribal status, environmental issues, breach of contract, contract enforceability, construction disputes, business torts, employment and ERISA claims, and sovereign immunity.
Foster Garvey has represented Native American Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations as bond counsel since 1965. We have served as bond counsel, underwriters counsel, and general and special counsel to more than 450 government agencies. Learn more about our Public Finance practice.
Foster Garvey’s attorneys are dedicated to providing pro bono services to people of limited means in Native American and Alaska Native communities. Through the firm’s pro bono efforts, attorneys work directly with nonprofit organizations and local law schools on important public service initiatives and legal projects.
News & Events
- Talk Radio AM 1170, 7.10.20
- Foster Garvey Adds Strength to Native American Law Practice with Addition of Chloe Thompson VillagomezFoster Garvey Newsroom, 4.2.20
- Seattle Indian Health Board Research Helps Create Government Task Force for Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska NativesFoster Garvey Newsroom, 1.7.20
- Foster Garvey Newsroom, 6.10.19
- Associated Press, 6.5.19
- Foster Garvey Newsroom, 10.3.18
- "Diminished boundaries, treaty rights, and effect of statehood," OSB Indian Law Section CLE: Emerging Land Issues in Indian CountrySpeaking EngagementEugene, OR, 10.25.19
- Speaking EngagementWalla Walla, WA, 10.3.19
- Speaking EngagementOctober 2019
- Panel DiscussionOklahoma City, OK, 06.05.19-06.06.19
- “Current Tax Issues in Indian Country,” 31st Annual Washington State Bar Association Indian Law SeminarSpeaking EngagementSeattle, WA, 5.10.19
- Conference Planning CommitteeAlbuquerque, NM, 04.11.19-04.12.19
- Panel DiscussionEl Cajon, CA, 02.10.19-02.13.19
- "Recent Decisions: Tribal Water & Treaty Rights in the U.S. Supreme Court," 6th Annual Advanced Conference on Tribal Water in CaliforniaPanel DiscussionFunner, CA, 01.28.19-01.29.19
- Speaking EngagementNovember and December 2018
- "Tribal Water Rights: Summary of Foundational Cases and the Recent Culverts Decision," American Water Rights Association Washington State ConferenceSpeaking EngagementSeattle, WA, 10.16.18
- Speaking EngagementScottsdale, AZ, 10.11.18-10.12.18
- "Tribal Issues: Fishing Rights, Culverts and More," On the Edge of the World - Navigating Environmental and Legal Challenges on the Washington Coast, Seattle University School of LawSpeaking EngagementSeattle, WA, 9.28.18
- "Defined Terms of Federal Indian Law," 60th Annual Judicial ConferenceSpeaking EngagementYakima, WA, 9.24.18
- Speaking EngagementOklahoma City, OK, 06.06.18-06.07.18
- "Hickory Ground: Alabama Homelands, Litigation and Cultural Preservation," Doing Business in Indian CountrySpeaking Engagement04.26.18-04.28.18
- Conference Planning CommitteeScottsdale, AZ, 04.05.18-04.06.18
- "National Indian Gaming Litigation Update," Northwest Gaming Law SummitSpeaking EngagementSeattle, WA, 12.1.16
- "The Concerns of the Judiciary - A Focus on Mutual Concerns of the State, Federal and Tribal Bench," The Sovereignty SymposiumPanel DiscussionOklahoma City, OK, 06.08.16-06.09.16
- Speaking EngagementMay and November 2016
- Speaking EngagementMay 2016
- Speaking EngagementMarch 2016
- Speaking EngagementMarch 2016
- Speaking EngagementFebruary 2016
- Speaking EngagementOctober 2015
- Speaking EngagementSeattle, WA, 6.11.15
- SeminarTulalip Resort Casino, October 15-16, 2014
- "Special Presentation: Suing and Defending Tribal Governments," Suing and Defending Government, The Seminar GroupSpeaking EngagementMay 2014
- "New Developments in Online Gaming, Tribal Payday Lending Operations, and New Guidance on Tribal Economic Development Bonds," Tribal Sovereignty, Strategic Planning and Economic DevelopmentSpeaking EngagementNovember 2013
- Speaking EngagementUniversity of Washington School of Law, William H. Gates Hall, Seattle, WA, 9.12.13
- "The Affordable Care Act: Impact on Alaska Natives," Presentation to the Alaska Bar Association Alaska Native Law SectionSpeaking EngagementAnchorage, AK, 9.11.13
- "Protecting Native American Artists Through Intellectual Property and Non-Profit Law in Washington," Washington State Bar Association Indian Law CLESpeaking EngagementMay 2013
- “Tax Credit Programs for Creating Tribal Housing,” Tribal Economic Development, Foster Pepper PLLCSpeaking engagement2.13
- EventFebruary 2013
- “Tribal Financing Update: What Is a Management Contract Post-Lake of the Torches?,” The Seminar Group’s 10th Annual Northwest Gaming Law SummitSpeaking engagement12.12
- “Demystifying Housing in Tribal Communities,” Housing Washington ConferenceSpeaking engagement9.11
- "Mindfulness for Lawyers and Judges," Access to Justice ConferenceSpeaking EngagementJune 2011
- “IRS Update,” Moderator, Fourth Annual Native American Economic Development ConferenceSpeaking engagement10.10
- “Low-Income Housing Tax Credits in Indian Country,” 2010 Tribal Housing Conference, April 2010Speaking engagement4.10
- “Finding the Right Financing,” Law Seminars International Tribal Tax Planning & Partnership Structures Conference, February 2010Panel discussion2.10
- “Economic Development Bonds and the Federal Stimulus Package: Effects on Tribal Financing,” Third Annual Native American Economic Development ConferencePanel discussion9.09
- “Housing & Infrastructure Projects on the Reservation,” Northwest Native American Economic Development ConferenceSpeaking engagement6.09
- “How to Leverage Tax Credits in Indian Country,” Washington State Bar Association, 21st Annual Indian Law Section Continuing Legal Education ProgramSpeaking engagement5.09
- "Building Effective Tribal Environmental Programs," Eighth Annual National Tribal Environmental Management ConferenceSpeaking EngagementBillings, MT, 6.25.08
- "Representing Native Americans in Washington State: An Indian and Tribal Law Primer," Northwest Indian Bar Association and Indian Law Section of the Washington State Bar AssociationSpeaking EngagementSeattle, WA, 2.28.08
- "Working Effectively with Tribal Governments," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Natural Resources Damages Training CourseSpeaking EngagementAlbuquerque, NM, 2.28.08
- “LIHTC Transactions in Indian Country,” National Business Institute's: The Attorney's Guide to Low-Income Housing Tax Credits CLESpeaking engagement2.08
- “Practical Considerations in Tribal Contracts,” Key Tribal Issues Seminar, October 2007Speaking engagement10.07
- "Overview of Broadcast Licensing and the NCE Window," Indian Telecommunications Initiative Regional Workshop and RoundtableSpeaking EngagementIndian Pueblo Cultural Center, Albuquerque, NM, 7.10.07
- "Seizing the Initiative Following San Manuel: Preparation for Union Activity at Tribal Enterprises," Garvey Schubert BarerSeminarSeattle, WA, 5.24.07
- “Tax Credits and the Housing Authority,” National American Indian Housing Council's Legal Symposium 2004 Program, December 2004Panel discussion12.04
- “Tribal Financing in the New Millennium: Traditional Borrowing, Bond Finance & Conduit Financing,” Washington State Bar Association's Indian Law Section 16th Annual Indian Law CLESpeaking engagement5.04
- Washington Lawyers Practice Manual, 2009
- Indian Gaming, Februart 2016
- Garvey Schubert Barer, 9.29.14
- American Property Tax Counsel, 9.1.14
- The Great Wolf Property Tax Debate Resolved: Improvements on Leased Tribal Trust Land Exempt from Property Taxes Imposed by State and Local GovernmentsInstitute for Professionals in Taxation Tax Report, 11.6.13
- “The Sovereign Immunity of Tribal Officials and Employees after Maxwell v. County of San Diego,” WSBA Indian Law NewsletterWSBA Indian Law Newsletter, Spring 2013
- Federal Bar Association Indian Law Section Newsletter, 2013-2014
- The Indian Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association, 4.30.12
- “State Workers’ Compensation Laws: Unenforceable Against Tribal Employers Both On and Off Reservations,” WSBA Indian Law NewsletterWSBA Indian Law Newsletter, Winter 2011-2012
- Indian Country Today, 10.22.11
- “Exercising and Protecting Tribal Sovereignty in Day-to-Day Business Operations: What the Key Players Need to Know,” Washburn Law Journal, Vol. 49 No. 3, p. 661-716Washburn Law Journal, Spring 2010
- King County Bar Association, 2009
- “A Legacy of Public Law 280: Comparing and Contrasting Minnesota’s New Rule for the Recognition of Tribal Court Judgments with the Recent Arizona Rule,” William Mitchell Law Review, Vol. 31 Issue 2, p. 479-526William Mitchell Law Review, January 2004
- Of Counsel