Betts Patterson Mines

Indian Law (Litigation)

Betts Patterson Mines’ Indian Law Practice Group comprises a team of attorneys dedicated to serving and protecting the interests of tribal governments, Alaska native villages and related business entities. Our team members have extensive experience working with tribes and native villages on a wide range of economic development, natural and cultural resource protection, art and intellectual property matters.

Our Indian law team’s philosophy encourages moving beyond the traditional attorney-client relationship to building collaborative partnerships with each of our tribal clients. We function as trusted advisors, determining cost-effective approaches to each legal issue, taking into account the tribal government’s or tribal enterprise’s broader goals and objectives. We understand the legal and jurisdictional complexities that are unique to Indian Country, and we are committed to assisting tribes in economic development and diversification, environmental protection, protection of sovereignty, and preservation of natural and cultural resources. We identify emerging industries and opportunities for economic growth for tribes, particularly in the area of sustainability, including green building and renewable energy development.

We strive to advance the interests of our tribal clients through negotiation and consensus rather than conflict where possible. However, when the need arises, our litigators are able to provide our clients a strategic advantage, having accumulated the depth of experience and insight necessary to understand the most effective and efficient way to reach successful resolution.

Our Indian law attorneys are admitted in state, federal and tribal courts throughout the West, and are uniquely qualified and positioned to assist tribes in every substantive area that BPM offers to its clients, including but not limited to:

  • Assisting native villages with matters under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA)
  • Business enterprises and diversification
  • Construction and development
  • Copyright, trademark and other intellectual property matters
  • Employment policies and handbooks
  • Energy development
  • Insurance, fidelity and security
  • Litigation and dispute resolution
  • Natural resource damage assessment and restoration
  • Real estate and land use
  • Resource extraction
  • Small Business Administration 8(a) certification and contracting
  • Solid waste regulation
  • Tax counsel and planning
  • Tribal code development 

Representative Cases

  • Represented Cape Fox Corporation in a suit to recover losses it suffered due to theft and mismanagement by the manager of its retail gift stores and to remove a member of its board of directors who had covered up the scheme.  Following a jury trial in Alaska Superior Court, CapeFoxrecovered a judgment for compensatory and punitive damages against the former manager and the director.  The jury also barred the director from re-election to the CapeFoxboard pursuant to Alaska Stat. § 10.06.463.  Martinez v. Cape Fox Corporation, 113 P.3d 1226 (Alaska 2005).
  • Defended Cape Fox Corporation against shareholder suits challenging the results of its 1997 annual board of directors election on the basis that the proxy rules set forth in the Alaska Administrative Code were not validly adopted and applied by the corporation, its independent counsel, and the inspector of elections.  In each case, the Alaska Superior Court granted Cape Fox Corporation’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the shareholders’ challenges.  The Alaska Supreme Court affirmed.  Undersigned Shareholders of the Cape Fox Corporation v. Cape Fox Corporation, No. 0990 (Alaska Sup. Ct. Aug. 30, 2000).
  • Assisted tribes in preserving their cultural resources and sites and provide guidance in enforcing their Native rights.
  • Advised an Alaska Native Corporation on its Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development Program.