Federal Indian Law — Municipalities Team

Dillon J. Ambrose
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Location: Milwaukee
T: 414.225.1410
F: 414.278.3610
111 E. Kilbourn Avenue, Suite 1400
Milwaukee, WI 53202-6613

Federal Indian Law — Municipalities


Our Federal Indian Law team serves counties, cities, villages, towns, and districts on a wide spectrum of matters involving Native American tribes and the federal government. We counsel governmental entities that are co-located within historic or current reservations on the complicated and often conflicting laws applicable to such land. Our objective is to advise our municipal clients on the nuances of Federal Indian Law, to help them understand and exercise their rights and authority as a local representative government. In addition to representing governmental entities, we assist companies and individuals contracting with or involved in disputes with Native American tribes.

In addition to the State of Wisconsin, our team is admitted to practice in the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. We offer significant appellate experience, having handled cases in tribal court, state and federal courts, as well as at the Interior Board of Indian Appeals located in Washington, D.C. Our Federal Indian Law clients span Wisconsin and several other states.

As a full service firm, we offer the additional advantage of collaborating with colleagues across several legal disciplines including Environmental Law, Tax, Real Estate, Construction, and our Municipal Law practices.

Representative Federal Indian Law Experience

  • Preservation of local government’s tax base and jurisdictional controls via opposition to tribal fee-to-trust applications. We have had 33 separate Bureau of Indian Affairs’ decisions, accepting nearly 20,000 acres of land into trust, vacated and/or remanded.
  • Assertion of local governments’ jurisdiction within reservations, relating to zoning, permitting, licensing, policing authority, placement of signs, inspections, and other matters.
  • Analyzing of and responding to tribal demands on non-tribal businesses and governments to obtain tribal business licenses.
  • Opposition to Environmental Protection Agency’s attempts to grant to Native American tribes, National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits under the Clean Water Act.
  • Opposing construction of commercial projects on trust land as a result of tribal government’s failure to obtain proper permitting from the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Consultation relative to the opposition of tribal casinos based on eligibility issues and failure to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act.
  • Disputes relating to the applicability of local storm water management charges, on both tribal fee and trust land.
  • Analysis of historical documents and development of legal theories relating to diminishment or disestablishment of reservations.
  • Drafting and review of contracts with Native American tribes including consultation relative to tribal waivers of sovereign immunity.
  • Representation of clients in tribal court relating to taxation, tribal court jurisdiction, and construction contract disputes.
  • Review and revision of service agreements between Native American tribes and local representative governments.
  • Labor disputes relating to tribal employees and the interaction between tribal laws, state laws and federal laws relative to employment matters.

Federal Indian Law — Municipalities Team

Dillon J. Ambrose, Katrina L. Lancelle, Kay A. Marquardt

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