StevenSandven3Indian Law Practice

Although based in South Dakota, Steven D. Sandven Law Office provides services to Indian Tribes nationwide. Our firm has extensive experience advising and representing clients on both Federal and Tribal law issues in tribal, state and federal courts. This experience ranges from advising clients on jurisdictional issues to formulating regulations for gaming enterprises and other Tribal organizations. We have the skill, resources and experience to effectively represent Tribal clients as they seek to develop tribal opportunities and resources for the benefit of their members.


Background of Indian Law Practice

  • Represented Section 17 corporation managing Tribal lands for 5 years
  • Probated fractionated land interests on-reservation
  • Completed 50+ fee land-to-trust acquisitions
  • Drafted section 184 leasing documents maximizing Tribal jurisdiction
  • Performed due diligence for Native American Bank for economic development ventures on-reservation.
  • Represented Tribes on gaming issues for 15+ years
  • Assisted Tribes in leaving management companies
  • Drafted and negotiated class III gaming compact with North Dakota
  • Drafted and negotiated class III gaming compacts with South Dakota
  • Drafted gaming ordinances
  • Drafted construction and loan documents for casino/hotel/golf course expansions
  • Drafted contracts with gaming/hotel vendors
  • Drafted personnel policies
  • Drafted Tribal gaming commission structural documents and conducted training
  • Drafted internal control standards
  • Drafted articles of formation and bylaws for Tribally-owned gaming enterprises
  • Represented Tribes on Treaty issues for 15+ years
  • Drafted treaty statement read into U.S. Congressional record for South Dakota Tribes
  • Drafted documents for establishment of Pipestone monument as a cultural site pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act
  • Represented Tribe on hunting and fishing jurisdiction over non-Indians
Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Represented Tribes regarding jurisdiction, trust responsibility, land, gaming, self- determination and bond issues
  • Oversight of Secretarial elections in several states
  • Drafted position papers regarding trust responsibility, American Indian Trust Management Reform Act, Office of Special Trustee responsibilities, Indian preference, sentencing guidelines for cultural resources and Tribal governments assuming management of welfare benefits
Tribally-Owned Businesses
  • Provided transactional and litigation support for 15+ years
  • Drafted structural documents for wind power project
  • Drafted articles of formation and bylaws for wood-plastic composite factory
  • Drafted section 17 corporation articles and bylaws
  • Drafted Section 7871 Foundation for educational services
  • Drafted articles of formation for grocery store
  • Drafted articles of formation for electronics manufacturing plant
  • Registered logos and trade names with the United States Patent and Trademark Office
  • Drafted and provided implementation support for ordinances governing elections, judicial/appellate courts, civil commitment, adult protection code, litter, referendum, probate, data privacy act, ethics, sexual offenders, terroristic acts, education, legislative process, intestate succession, liquor, child care, criminal/civil jurisdiction, gaming, cultural preservation, real property, domestic relations and methamphetamine
  • Provided legal services to largest Tribal college in Great Plains region for 10+ years
  • Drafted documents regarding recognition of Circle of Nations School as “Indian country”
  • Drafted charter for Tribal college
  • Provided transactional and litigation support for Tribal programs for 15+ years
  • Drafted government-to-government agreements on behalf of Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance regional association
  • Drafted opposition to Environmental Protection Agency proposal to transfer regulation of certain Tribal facilities to the State of South Dakota (nine South Dakota Tribes)
  • Drafted and negotiated MOU with FEMA on behalf of 20+ Great Plains Region Tribes.
  • Drafted position paper advocating Environmental Protection Agency treat Indian Tribes as a States for granting purposes
  • Drafted MOU for U.S. Department of Justice Weed and Seed program in Indian country
  • Drafted MOU for Office of Community Orientated Policing Services in Indian country
  • Drafted law enforcement standard operating procedures
  • Provided legal services to housing authorities including rental and homebuyer agreement enforcement issues, eviction proceedings, personnel action review, resolution of HUD issues, contract review and realty transactions
  • Drafted contract documents required for HUD 184 Loan Guarantee including required residential ground lease agreement, tribal agreement, and model tribal lending procedures.

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