American Indian tribes are each legally separate nations. The State of Michigan alone has 12 American Indian tribal governments, nine of which are located in Northern and Upper Michigan.
Each tribe is a sovereign entity, authorized by United States law to enact and enforce its own body of law. The tribes operate their own court systems according to their own unique codes of law. Interactions with the tribes are also subject to state and federal law. Thus, Indian tribal law is a complex area requiring familiarity with Supreme Court opinions, federal statutory and regulatory law, state statutory and regulatory law, as well as the law of the particular tribe in question. The often-misunderstood concepts of tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction leave many lawyers scratching their heads. The specialty of "gaming" has itself become a subspecialty under this category.
The Kitch firm has experience working directly with many of the tribes. In addition, we have worked with tribal-owned businesses, insurers of tribal concerns, and those wishing to do business with tribal entities.
Areas in which the firm has particular expertise include:
Tribal proprietary Workers' Compensation code and dispute resolution systems
Commercial transactions with tribal entities
Employment law applicable to tribal employers
Tribal sovereign immunity
Jurisdiction over tribal entities
Application of state and federal tort and criminal law
Federal Tort Claims Act issues.