Lockridge Grindal Nauen has a long history of tribal government representation in Minnesota and Washington D.C. Our team of professionals has a broad range of experience assisting governments on tribal sovereignty, jurisdictional issues, treaty rights, and economic development. With long-standing relationships with tribal leaders and a familiarity with the issues, our attorneys are positioned to offer sophisticated insight on all areas of law affecting Indian country. Further, our government relations team is uniquely positioned to offer experienced and comprehensive representation at the federal, state, and local levels.
Areas of Expertise
- Federal Government Relations
- State Government Relations
- Communications and Public Relations
- Campaign Finance
- Tribal Enterprise Business Development
$12 million Federally Funded High School: LGN and their Midwestern Tribal client were successful in securing close to $12 million from Congress and the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education for the construction of a new High School to replace the dilapidated, unsafe, and pole barn like structure which had been neglected by the Federal Government who has not upheld their Treaty obligations as it relates to the condition of the school. The high school building that was converted from a barn in 1984 was in much need for repair and was never meant to house students for a prolonged period. Over the years, LGN helped guide federal advocacy efforts of the entire Minnesota Congressional Delegation who called for and succeeded in securing the funding for the replacement of the School.
Tribal Enterprise Business Development – $400,000 in sales, $250,000 in Grant Funding: LGN has been successful in working with a Midwestern Tribe to assist in efforts to expand its hand-harvested wild rice business. Over the past year and a half and in part, as a result of expanded efforts in business development, the Tribe has been successful in selling over $400,000 in product to the Federal Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDIPR). In addition, the Tribe was successful in securing a $250,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture Value Added Producer Grant to continue to expand business and marketing operations of its natural wild rice program. LGN also assisted the Tribe in entering the American Indian Foods program which provides tribes support to begin and expand export operations and in doing so, LGN has been able to assist in the display of the Tribe’s product at International Food Expositions in Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, and Chicago.
Bureau of Indian Education School Aid: The LGN State Government Relations team worked to successfully secure equitable funding from the state to support Minnesota’s four BIE schools. In 2015, the legislature lifted a $1,500 per pupil cap on aid for Minnesota students attending BIE schools for the first time since 1989, increasing the cap up to $3,230 per pupil. However the 2015 increase passed as a one-time appropriation—meaning that, without approval of new funds in the 2017 biennial budget, the funding for BIE schools would revert to the lower level in the upcoming fiscal year, amounting to a substantial cut. The LGN team was successful in coordinating efforts to secure a continuation of the tribal contract school aid, amounting to more than $1.6 million in additional funding each year.
Dakota and Ojibwe Language Revitalization: LGN worked alongside Minnesota’s Indian Affairs Council to secure state funding to support the preservation and revitalization of the Dakota and Ojibwe languages. More than $1.2 million is appropriated each year to support grants that foster educational and immersion programs. Further, LGN and their Tribal client were successful in securing $125,000 each year as a direct appropriation for an immersion school on their reservation.