About Steven Sandven
Steven Sandven has represented Indian tribes since 1997 in federal, state and tribal courts. He has negotiated government-to-government agreements and class III gaming compacts and promoted establishment of early voting locations in Indian Country. He is licensed to practice in South Dakota, Minnesota, Washington D.C. and approximately fifteen Tribal Courts.
Steven’s commitment to serving Indian Country is based on his search for his biological parents that ended at the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate’s government building in northeastern South Dakota. Steven was born unattended outside of Aberdeen, South Dakota in 1965 and initiated a search for his biological background after enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1983. One year later, Steven met his biological father, an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and the desire to represent Indian tribes steered his education.
Steven was honorably discharged from the United States Navy in 1989 where he served as a Machinist Mate Second Class Petty Officer and attended Grossmont College in El Cajon, California. He worked his way through college as a full-time union representative for the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers. While attending Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California, Steven represented the Machinist Union and the San Diego Medics Association in arbitration and collective bargaining.
After graduating from law school in 1997, Steven moved to Pine Ridge, South Dakota after being appointed by the Oglala Sioux Tribe to serve as their first Attorney General. He was cross-designated as a Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney for prosecuting non-Indians committing offenses against Indians in Indian country. After developing the Oglala Sioux Tribe prosecutor’s office, Steven went home in 1999 to serve as the first General Counsel for the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate. He served as Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate’s in-house general counsel until he opened his law office in 2001 to serve Tribes throughout the United States.
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