In the News
Judge hears Quechan Tribe's case on Ocotillo Wind
Project harm to sacred sites
featuring our attorneys and
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"Quechan's attorney [Thane Somerville] argued that the
BLM's argument 'allows them to wait for a project, then
choose the least restrictive class.' He called
that approach 'arbitrary and capricious' and noted that
NEPA requires management to protect visual
resources. He added that Class L designation
allows only those multiple uses that allow management
for protection of visual as well as cultural resources."
dams: Hoopa Tribe files petition with FERC
"It's not the Tribe's objective to kill the agreements,"
said Tom Schlosser, attorney for the Hoopa Tribe. "We
have scientists who reviewed the agreement and
calculated how much water would trickle down to us and
it wouldn't even be enough to satisfy the flow
requirements of the Endangered Species Act." Schlosser
added that FERC has never officially approved the
process by which PacifiCorp has obtained its annual
temporary CWA 401 certification.
Steps Up Pressure on Feds Over Klamath Dams
"[Tom] Schlosser, the Hoopa Valley Tribe's attorney,
told the Lost Coast
Ouptost this morning that this is more or less
bunk. It may be true that the commission has never
out-and-out told an operator to pull out its dams, he
said, but in many cases operators have decided that the
terms and conditions FERC places on new licenses are
more costly than the dams are worth." "The river and the
fishery are suffering, and PacifiCorp is making money
they're not entitled to, " he said. "FERC ought to do
something about this."
Valley Tribal Members Show Solidarity on
The tribe's attorney, Tom Schlosser, gave a half-hour
update on tribal legal efforts at the forefront of the
tribe's work. It's not a final settlement," Schlosser
said, "This money may never be received. I think it
will. But the person with the signatory authority for
the United States has not signed (U.S. Assistant
Attorney General, Ignacia Moreno.)"
Tribe v. U.S.
"According to Tom Schlosser, attorney for the Hoopa
Valley Tribe, this new claim had its roots in
Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma v. United States,
filed in the Court of Federal Claims in 1970 and settled
in 1975. The case is cited as 512 F.23d 1390 (1975). "
"That case was really the basis and foundation of this
new case and settlement," said Schlosser.
find holes in Klamath River Dam removal plan
"The agreements have strong critics, including the Hoopa
Valley tribe, which refused to sign. 'The agricultural
practices that led to salmon being threatened in the
system are the agricultural practices that will be
continued,' argued Tom Schlosser, a Seattle attorney who
represents the tribe. He cited provisions that call for
the continued leasing of wildlife refuge lands for
farming and substantial water diversions for
Hoopa Tribe Establishes
"Attorney, Tom Schlosser presented an overview of court
cases and legal opinions that affect the Hoopa Tribe's
aboriginal fishing and water rights."
Hupa Tribe Wars over Fish
"Tom Schlosser, the tribe's attorney, says commercial
fishing was legalize by the 1989 referendum."
Valley Tribe v. United States
"According to long-time attorney for the Hoopa Valley
Tribe, Tom Schlosser, it was filed because the Bush
Administration refused to extend the time frame for such
"Attorney Tom Schlosser didn't seem all that worried
Woes block big Imperial Valley Solar Project
"The land on which the project is planned was set aside
for conservation 30 years ago, Thane Somerville, a
lawyer for the Quechan said during Monday's meeting."
Sues for 'Exposure Event' at Hospital
"The tribe seeks declaratory judgment that the IHS 'has
violated and is violating its statutory, legal,
fiduciary, and trust duties to the tribe and its
members'" The tribe is represented by Frank Jozwiak and
Thane Somerville with Morisset, Schlosser &
in the Northwest,
Thursday, November 4, 2010, Seattle,
"Join our panel of professionals as they examine the
Federal Power Act, FERC procedures, the status of
national litigation and Northwest power projects, and
the impact of climate change, Indian Treaty rights, and
fish conservation requirements."
Has Been a Force Like No Other for Tulalip Tribes
"Mason Morisset, a Seattle lawyer who specializes in
tribal treaty rights, said Jones, a lifelong fisherman,
and fellow tribal member Bernie Gobin brought important
knowledge, testimony and negotiating savvy in the 1970s
to the bitter court fight that ended with the Boldt
decision. Restoring treaty rights, the verdict awarded
several tribes half the salmon in their 'usual and
accustomed fishing grounds.' It has been expanded to
include more authority over habitat that affect the
fisheries and over access to shellfish"
Careful What You Wish For, A Court Case Suggests
'While the Osage Allotment Act reflected a "policy of
assimilation," it did not contain language of
disestablishment of the reservation, said Thomas P.
Schlosser, attorney for the Osage. No surplus lands were
sold to non-Indians and no portion of the reservation
was opened to non-Indian settlement.'
Taking Out Dams Splits Environmental Groups
"Seattle attorney Tom Schlosser, who represents the
[Hoopa] tribe, explains that 'it's not a dam-removal
agreement. It's a planning process.'"
"[Thomas] Schlosser stated that dam removal would take
too long, and PacifiCorp will be able to operate without
any licensing or oversight."
River Runs Through It Old Adversaries agree to
remove dams in the Klamath River basin
"downriver flows during many of the years between now
and 2020 won't be enough to sustain coho salmon,
Schlosser says. By the time the dams come out, we could
very well have lost the coho completely."
will Return to Court Over Salmon
"The tribes are trying to come
up with a plan, but the state's idea is that they'll
just continue at the current rate," he (Mason
Morisset) said. "That's obviously not acceptable."
Still Seeking Casino in Lordstown, Plan Awaits Obama
Mason Morisset, the
Seattle-based lawyer who represents the Shawnee tribe,
said that case, Carcieri v. Salazar, wouldn't apply to
Deal Close After Most of a Century
Mason Morisset, an attorney for the (Skokomish) tribe,
told The News Tribune that talks between the parties
are "cordial" and "productive," but they are "not
"It's just nutty to commit to this with Bush heading out
the door," said Tom Schlosser, an attorney for the Hoopa
tribe of Northern California.
Dam if we do
"Morisset suggests that the ruling 'sent shivers through
the entire industry.' Tribal attorneys have told him
that it 'has also resulted in numerous decisions in
favor of tribes'."
Hoopa v Yurok, Hoopa & Yurok or none of our damn
"Hoopa's attorney, Tom Schlosser, says the Hoopa's own
waiver does not prevent it from filing its lawsuit
because the settlement act allows each tribe to enforce
the act's provisions."
Fish and Chips
"the Trinity Restoration Act set the goal that the
fishery would be restored to conditions that existed
before the Lewiston and Trinity dams were built"
Tom Schlosser, an attorney for the Hoopa Valley Tribe
reached by telephone Tuesday afternoon, reiterated the
tribe’s concern about there being no set standards for
sponsors bill to protect study of Kennewick Man
"could make it easier for tribes to make claims to get
remains back that currently are in an institution"
Could Give More Say to State Tribes
The tribes signed the treaty with assurances that they
would be able to continue to rely on natural resources,
including vast forests and streams teeming with salmon,
said Mason Morisset, a Tulalip Tribes attorney.
Ruling Backs Tribes
"This could be very big," said Mason Morisset, an
attorney representing tribes in the case. "If it stands,
you will see tribes assert themselves on a broad range
of activities to protect the habitat. Whether it's
clearing wetlands or building roads and developments
..., if we can show you are going to have a net loss of
habitat, that is a treaty rights violation."
Cost State Millions
"I think it is a major addition to the treaty rights
cases," Morisset said. "It is the other half of the
treaty we said needs to be secured. Not only does the
state have to allow the tribes to take their share of
their fish, but the state cannot allow the fish runs to
be destroyed if it affects the tribal share."
Rules Against Quechan in Refinery Land Transfer Case
Frank R. Jozwiak, the attorney representing the Quechan
in the case, said, "(Teilborg's ruling ) is under
review. We have not had an opportunity to study the
ruling or consult with the tribe."
Refuses to Allow Other Parties into Tribe
Settlement with Lima
attorney Rob Roy Smith, of Seattle, said the tribe is
looking to move forward and is waiting for the judge to
give the final approval.
halts on land for oil refinery
recent court hearing, the defendants agreed to the
temporary restraining order sought by the tribe, said
Frank R. Jozwiak, the attorney representing the Quechans
in the case.
victory in land case
the next step in developing casinos.
claims it's right where it wants to be with land
Mason D. Morisset said Carr's willingness to oversee the
settlements was a win for the tribe and still meant it
could approach the U.S. Department of the Interior to
have the land taken into trust.
warfare between Hoopa and Yurok go on and on
go again," said the tribe's longtime attorney, Thomas
Schlosser. "The only thing the Interior Department has
accomplished here is to create another round of
file suit to stop refinery land transfer
environmental impact statement fails to "adequately
evaluate the oil refinery project and the associated
impacts to cultural and environmental resources,"
according to the Quechan Tribe's lead attorney, Frank
Jozwiak of Morisset, Schlosser, Jozwiak and McGaw of
Seattle, Wash., in the statement.
pursue rights in court
an attorney for the Tulalip Tribes, said he'd speak to
Tulalip leaders about the offer, but he said it's
unclear whether such talks would be fruitful. "This has
been going on for years."
names Lawrence in land-claim lawsuit
was bring a cross section," Morisset said.
wants to rejoin tribe's lawsuit over land for
firm liable under Superfund law for non-U.S. dumping
"We dismissed them, " Morisset said. "I don't know
why we would want them back."
"While any Superfund-controlled cleanup of the Columbia
River would involve polluted areas only in the United
States, the group filed its brief in protest of the
Canadian government's failure to control Teck's
hazardous waste disposal activities," said Mr.
Smith, a senior associate at Morisset, Schlosser,
Jozwiak & McGaw in Seattle.
drops state from lawsuit
to get the case in order and simplify it here, and this
is one of the steps we're taking," Morisset said.
seeks day in Court
the defendants sought the lawsuit's dismissal in
separate motions, some arguing that the claim is too
old, others that it's not old enough, and none with
valid arguments, wrote Mason Morisset and Rob Roy Smith,
attorneys for the tribe.
deadline passes in tribe's federal lawsuit
a responsive brief," said Mason Morisset, attorney for
the tribe. "Today is the day for our files, our briefs.
It's just a standard response to the motion (to
ok's casino resolution
a special meeting with Chief Charles Enyart and Mason
Morisset, lead counsel for the tribe.
Tribe gives city time
the Eastern Shawnee of Oklahoma, told City Council
Friday morning it wasn’t fair to put pressure on them to
get the 14-page contract signed by Monday. Morisset said
the deadline was real – and that the judge has set a
“very busy” brief schedule.
“I wanted to go to him with some signed agreements to
show that a settlement is possible,” he explained.
Nation Is Recognized, Federal ruling could be a step
Schlosser, a partner in the firm Morisset, Schlosser,
Jozwiak, and McGaw, which specializes in federal Indian
law, said that "any determination of federal recognition
isn't going to mean much until federal agencies accept
it." Mr. Schlosser said a 1975 case, in which the
Passamaquoddy Tribe successfully sued the Secretary of
the Interior for refusing to recognize it, could be a
relevant model for further action by the Shinnecocks, if
there is resistance to add them to the federal register.
of Kennewick Man study unclear
Rob Roy Smith, a Seattle
attorney who represented the tribes in the fight over
Kennewick Man, said Native Americans would still have
to demonstrate a "cultural affiliation" with any human
remains they claim. And the new wording would not
apply retroactively to Kennewick Man.
"I think what you're hearing is nothing more than a
scare tactic," he said.
begin probe of Kennewick Man
"What the tribes want now is just to have a
seat at the table," Smith said. "They want to know
what's going on. That is a right that is being denied
them by both the scientists and the United States."
Shawnee suit claims Ohio land rights
“Tribal lawyer Mason D. Morisset of Seattle,
Wash., said the aboriginal hunting and
could ultimately lead to new uses for the 11,000
square miles of land - from casinos to simply a
museum honoring the Shawnee.”
Indians own Massillon?
one of the attorneys representing the Shawnee tribe, is
one of the best in the country at this type of
litigation, Casey said.
Kennewick Man Scientists Protest
Roy Smith, an attorney for the Confederated Tribes of
the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington state,
said the bill would apply to future archaeological
finds, and would strengthen the case of tribes across
the country that want to claim and bury ancient remains.
"This is a congressional effort to right a wrong ...
that was identified through the Kennewick Man case,"
Water Battle Ends In Central Valley
"The tribes were fighting for the [2000 plan]
and against unnecessary environmental analysis," said
Schlosser, a lawyer with Morisset, Schlosser, Jozwiak
& McGaw. "We were the only party arguing that on
appeal." … The 9th Circuit in July unanimously rejected
demands by plan opponents to conduct further
Kennewick Man Update
"The tribes have a legal right to be consulted
and play a role in crafting the study plan," Smith said.
"The tribes are discouraged but not defeated. The tribes
remain hopeful that they will be included in discussions
with the United States
and the scientists, and that they will eventually have
the remains of their ancestor returned to them."
Holy Cross Magazine: Rob Roy Smith
“Few things are more rewarding than knowing
that I am fighting for the rights, beliefs and needs of
an under-served segment of our society.”
Valley Voice: Tribal gaming
Since when did the Indian tribes assume
responsibility for California’s
"fiscal mess"? What did California
do to help the Indian tribes before casino gaming
allowed tribes to become economically self-sufficient?
Why does the writer believe that the tribes have this
responsibility to the state?
Bones of contention
The argument by Rob Roy Smith, attorney for
the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation,
that "something that is indigenous . . . cannot lose
indigenousness over time" may be technically correct.
Measure could block Kennewick Man
Even if the bill is enacted -- a long shot at
best, given congressional leaders' intent to adjourn
early this month -- it is not clear that it would apply
to Kennewick Man, said Rob Roy Smith, an attorney for
the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian
Tribes to vote Saturday
"This is truly a grassroots effort. It's
an effort by a diverse group of deeply respected
[Cheyenne and Arapaho] tribal members who have
experience and integrity and great insight into what has
happened in the past and a vision for the future," McGaw
Hupa Indians battle to reclaim
The seeds of the Hupas' victory were planted
in the 1980s, when they began hiring some well-connected
and highly respected advocates, including Seattle
attorney Tom Schlosser, who specializes in tribal law
. . .
9th Circuit OK's Trinity River
"It looks like a total victory," said attorney
Thomas Schlosser, representing the Hoopa Valley Tribe in
the case. "It looks like restoration of the river can go
Alaska lawmakers jump into Hawaii
dry dock dispute
Tom Schlosser, attorney for Tanadgusix, said
the GSA debarment is misguided and would destroy the
company…."It was perfectly clear to GSA's officers,"
Schlosser said. "St. Paul
Island isn't really in
the shipping lanes."
Highway measure could affect St.
Schlosser, in recent legal documents, notes
that another section of the transfer document says the
dry dock is to be conveyed "as is, where is" and
"delivery is made at the present location of the
property." So the contract clearly allows and even
requires the dry dock to stay in Hawaii,
Disillusioned Makah suing Kalakala
"It is there without the tribe's consent or
permission," says Makah attorney Frank Jozwiak of
Seattle. "It's not about (damages), it's about
this rusting hulk tied to our dock that could cause
damage to the dock and to the environment if it
ferry heading south to its new home
Ambitious deal aims to heal two
Schlosser said the involvement of a
professional mediator gave the tribes a neutral setting
to "listen to each other." …"Until the Yurok Tribe
gets some of their traditional land back, they are not
going to feel right with the world," he said.
Court upholds Kennewick Man decision
"The court has done a great injustice to
Indian country," Smith said. The problem as Smith sees
it, is that tribes must now conduct studies of remains
to determine their antiquity in order to claim remains.
Though some tribes do not have a problem with examining
remains, many do, and would be forced to go against
their own religious principles in order to gain custody.
Boldt ruling's effect felt around
“A number of commentators have called the
Boldt Decision the most significant Indian rights case
in the last century," said Mason Morisset, a Seattle
attorney who successfully defended the Boldt ruling
before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1979 -- defeating
then-Washington Attorney General Slade Gorton's appeals
to overturn it. "I would have to say they're probably
Court rejects tribe's $6 billion
Mason Morisset, the tribe's lawyer, pointed
out that the 1924 license for the project authorized the
city to flood only 8.8 acres of federal land near the
reservation…. Morisset said the ruling indicates that
the power lines are on the reservation illegally, and
that as long as they're there, Tacoma Power is
trespassing. He said the tribe might seek damages or
require the city to pay to keep the lines there.
Samish seek fishing rights, calling
treaty 'soul of the tribe'
Attorney Mason Morisset for the Tulalip Tribes
decried the notion of meddling with the complex rules,
court orders and inter-tribal agreements governing how
the fish harvest is divided. …"The idea that this group
(the Samish) will come in and not disrupt anything will
be poppycock," said Morisset.
City defends shoreline plan
Attorney Sharon Haensly, representing the
Tulalip Tribes, the
city of Everett' s next- door neighbor, said the
Shoreline Management Act calls for the enhancement and
restoration of fish habitat. The city’s plan does not
provide adequate buffer zones to shield sensitive areas
from development, Haensly said.
The Price of a River
“Attorney Mason Morisset, and
the entire Skokomish Tribe, are suing the City of
Tacoma over two dams they say caused $5.8 billion
worth of damage to the Skokomish River…A lot of the
problem was that they felt they were doing God's work
in bringing electricity to the masses" he says. "It
was important that electrical generating facilities
were being developed—there’s no question about
that--but to do that by destroying the Skokomish
Indian people was wrong.”