Native American Law and Policy

With a team of practitioners who have worked on Capitol Hill, across federal agencies, and for tribes and tribal advocacy organizations, Venable’s Native American Law and Policy Group leverages its significant experience to represent the interests of Native American clients, as well as corporations and state and local governments seeking to engage with, or invest in, Indian Country.

We understand the complex legal, political, and economic challenges that Indian tribes, tribal businesses, and Alaska Native corporations often face in the United States. Our team’s reputation and professional relationships in Washington, DC, and throughout the country allow us to advance client interests before an administration and Congress increasingly focused on the impact of agency action and legislation on American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

For tribes, we provide advice on matters relating to governance and sovereignty, including fee-to-trust land acquisitions, Indian gaming, Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) contracting and compacting, natural resource development, reservation boundary disputes, treaty rights, tribal acknowledgment, and tribal sovereign immunity.

In addition, we help tribes, corporations, and state and local governments navigate complicated regulatory and jurisdictional issues present in Indian Country. We advise on opportunity zone investments, tax liability, and permitting requirements for infrastructure, energy, and commercial development projects, including compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).

Throughout the pandemic, we have provided guidance to tribes on available government relief programs, including competitive federal grantmaking, loan guarantees, and litigation support, as well as access and allocation of funding through the American Rescue Plan Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

As a full-service law firm, and no matter how complex the issue, our deep experience in Indian law, government contracting, legislative and government affairs, litigation, regulatory compliance, and transactional matters has proved successful for our clients.

 Our practice co-chairs are tribal citizens with significant federal government, tribal government, nonprofit, and private sector experience addressing issues that impact American Indian and Alaska Native communities. This experience includes that of the former majority general counsel and minority staff director and chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, chief counsel to the National Congress of American Indians, attorney general for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, and counsel to the Cherokee Nation. It also includes that of the former deputy solicitor for Indian affairs and counselor to the assistant secretary for Indian affairs. Our Native American Law and Policy team is augmented by professionals across our construction, energy, environmental, government affairs and legislative, and real estate practices.


  • Represented the Muscogee Nation in the pivotal Supreme Court case, Oklahoma v. McGirt, one of the most important Indian law decisions in the history of the United States.