What We Do
We respect the human rights of indigenous people and believe that their cultural heritage is worthy of preservation. Our work with indigenous peoples is driven by our commitment to:
- Empowering indigenous peoples to have a meaningful say in projects that affect them and to interpret their own heritage.
- Respecting tribes’ inherent sovereignty and acknowledging their distinct identities and histories.
- Working towards correcting society’s past wrongs, including through restitution and protection of cultural objects.
Section 106 & NEPA Consultation
Tribes have rights to be consulted on projects and policies that affect their interests, including impacts on their cultural and environmental resources. We shepherd our clients through those processes.
Learn more about our Section 106 work.
Traditional Cultural Property Protection
We acknowledge the importance of traditional cultural properties and help resolve disputes about eligibility, impacts, and legal protections.
Cultural Heritage Repatriation
We advise tribes, museums, and collectors on Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) claims and international cultural property repatriation.
Learn more about our Art and Antiquities practice.
Human & Civil Rights Related to Culture
We advise project proponents, financial institutions, and governments on the rights of indigenous people to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC).
Learn more about our ESG practice.
Our firm works with tribes to develop governance structures that balance today’s opportunities with the preservation of their cultures for the future.
- We brought suits in federal and state courts against a state’s Attorney General for violations of an American Indian tribe’s civil rights and due process when the state withdrew prior recognition of the tribe–securing the full restoration of recognition and a financial settlement. Read about our civil rights litigation on behalf of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation against the Attorney General of New Jersey.
- We defended rights to meaningful consultation for an American Indian tribe with federal agencies to prevent disturbing ancestral burials and cultural resources by opposing plans of a municipal board to construct water pumping facilities on the historic capital city of the tribe.
- We negotiated a joint venture agreement to create an 8(a) tribally-owned enterprise for a cultural resource management (CRM) firm and an American Indian tribe.
- We provide general counsel services and recommendations on consultation and cultural resources reviews for an American Indian tribe, ensuring the tribe has a voice in federal permitting decisions that affect their cultural resources, environment, and tribal members.
Please contact our team leader: Marion Werkheiser.