Helping Tribal Governments Protect Sovereignty and Treaty Rights

Advocate for American Indian nations and Native-owned businesses


Governance and Institutional Development

No government is perfect, but Indian tribal governments face special challenges in operating effectively and achieving the full potential of their tribal citizens.  Indian tribal governments have been subjected to generations of control and interference by the U.S. federal, and sometimes state, governments and must meet modern challenges with often ill-suited and flawed governing structures.  This often leads to governing crises that unfortunately frustrate aspirations for forward progress. 

Robert Odawi Porter has been involved in tribal government and politics as a constitutional reform advisor, a legal development architect, and as an elected tribal political official.  He has helped Native people improve their governments by designing and implementing improved constitutions and laws and helping them manage and mitigate the effects of political crisis. If tribal governing opportunities or challenges arise, he can be an invaluable advisor in addressing the situation.

Tribal Constitutional Reform

Tribal governments cannot effectively function unless they have a solid governing foundation that is supported by their citizens.  A strong tribal constitution is essential to harnessing the democratic spirit of the people and channeling it to productive uses.

Similarly, to function effectively and establish stable political and business relationships, tribal governments must have written and codified laws, reliable procedures and regulations, and stable business entities and administrative units.

Odawi Law PLLC can help you assess the effectiveness of your constitutional system and, if necessary, advise you on developing a constitutional reform process.  We can also assist you in developing the infrastructure and management policies necessary to achieve your desired governing or business objectives.

Tribal Law Reform and Code Drafting

Modern tribal governance is increasingly dependent upon written laws, regulations, and procedures to ensure fairness and stability.  Perhaps the worst approach to developing tribal laws is to simply borrow laws and codes from state and local governments.  Every tribal government is unique and the best approach to code development is focused on ensuring that the development rests on a solid political and cultural foundation within the tribal society. Odawi Law PLLC has years of experience building legal infrastructure within tribal government, including comprehensive code drafting.

Tribal Court Development

One of the most important areas of tribal government engagement is the dispute resolution process. Whether a dispute arises between private individuals, or as complaints against tribal officials, tribal governments must have courts and alternative dispute resolution procedures in place to ensure that naturally occurring human conflict gets addressed in a respectful manner.  A well-functioning court system promotes sovereignty as citizens resolve disputes within their own nations, rather than relying on the laws and procedures tailored to federal and state governments rather than tribal communities.  Failing to provide a well functioning court system can produce unnecessary misery for not just the individuals involved, but for entire tribal communities.

Odawi Law PLLC partners with experts in tribal court development to assist tribal governments in improving their dispute resolution process.

Crisis Management

Indian nations and tribes, like all governments, periodically face crises originating from internal or external circumstances.  In such times, it can be important to have strategic advice on how to minimize potential consequences and ensure restoration of normal operating conditions as soon as possible.
Odawi Law PLLC has experience handling the types of crises faced by tribal governments.  Such engagements are typically short-term and we can respond quickly to any situation as circumstances dictate.

Political Consulting

Most Indian tribal governments are democracies and select their leaders through an electoral process.  Candidates looking to successfully pursue tribal public office have the same needs as candidates for office in any electoral democracy.   
Odawi Law PLLC can assist you in developing a winning electoral strategy and in implementing your strategy to victory.