Law firm committed to serving exclusively Native American tribes and tribal organizations through the United States


National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) article regarding Berkey Williams Associate Rovianne Leigh

As an undergraduate, Rovianne Leigh discovered a passion for Indian law. “I became interested in Indian law as a vehicle for social change,” Leigh said. Since graduating in 2005 from the University of California Berkeley School of Law, Leigh has served tribal clients in a variety of areas, such as environmental and cultural resources protection, health, employment, Indian child welfare, and TANF. She has drafted tribal children’s law and order codes, and successfully negotiated one of the first memoranda of understanding...

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Victory in Mohawk Land Claim

On July 8, 2013, Judge Kahn of the federal court in Albany, New York, upheld the Mohawk claim to approximately 2,000 acres taken by the State of New York in a series of transactions in 1824 and 1825 that violated the federal Trade and Intercourse Act.  The court also upheld the Mohawk claim that Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation unlawfully acquired a right of way for construction of a power line across the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation in 1948.  The court rejected arguments that these claims should be dismissed because the Mohawks waited too...

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California Formally Recognizes and Protects Tribes’ Traditional Marine Uses

The North Coast’s three-year Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative process concluded on June 6, 2012, with the State of California formally recognizing and protecting the Tribes’ traditional use of marine resources by establishing a new category for Tribal use in the Fish and Game regulations. A news release was posted by the California Department of Fish & Game at the following link: The new regulation provides formal recognition and protection for the traditional,...

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The Kashia Band of Pomo Indians successfully confirmed its rights to fish and gather on its ancestral lands along the Sonoma Coast in California.

The Kashia Band of Pomo Indians, represented by Scott Williams, successfully confirmed its rights to fish and gather on its ancestral lands along the Sonoma Coast in California. On June 24, 2010, the California Fish and Game Commission agreed to the Tribe’s proposal to amend regulations under the Marine Life Protection Act to authorize ongoing Tribal fishing, gathering, and ceremonial activities. The Commission had issued a regulation prohibiting all take of all living resources in an area of the coast known as “Danáka” in the Kashia...

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Mattaponi Tribe Wins Fight to Stop Dam on Mattaponi River

Berkey Williams LLP has been privileged to assist the Mattaponi Tribe in Virginia in its successful fight to stop the construction of a reservoir dam on the Mattaponi River. You can read more about this here. For millennia, the Tribe has depended on the River for shad fishing, cultural ceremonies and spiritual meaning. It is one of the last free-flowing rivers in the East. A water storage reservoir threatened to destroy the Tribe’s connection to the River and deplete its fishery. Following several years of federal and state court litigation,...

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Yurok Tribe Finalizes Deal to Remove Klamath River Dams

On September 29, 2009, Scott Williams, as counsel to the Yurok Tribe and part of the Yurok Tribe’s negotiation team, successfully concluded negotiations on an agreement to remove four dams in the Klamath River. The New York Times accurately describes the dam removal agreement as a “landmark” deal, and a critical part of the largest river restoration project in American History. (September 30, 2009). The dams are impassable to fish, and for a century have blocked access of salmon and other anadromous fish to hundreds of miles of historic...

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