Updates / Newsletters

Native Affairs Newsletter - November 2022

November 30, 2022

Welcome to Van Ness Feldman’s Native Affairs newsletter. The newsletter serves as a forum to discuss a range of legal and policy developments of interest to our clients, colleagues, and friends across Indian Country. Please contact our attorneys or public policy professionals with any questions, and please send us your feedback!

Included in This Issue

As we come to the end of Native American Heritage Month, Van Ness Feldman is pleased to highlight some of the organizations that we have the honor to work with in their service to Indian country. This issue also remembers Dan Press and his life of advocacy on behalf of Native Americans.

  • "Strong Hearts: An Indigenous Love Letter To My Sons": An Interview with Gary Davis
  • Opportunity to Shape Implementation of Inflation Reduction Act’s Impact on Native Communities
  • After 157 Years, Sand Creek Massacre Descendants Build Momentum to Seek Resolution of Claims
  • DOJ Office on Violence Against Women Seeks Input from Tribes on VAWA 2022 Grant and Reimbursement Programs
  • Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Proposed Rule

Van Ness Feldman Named Law Firm of the Year for Native American Law by U.S. News and World Report

We are pleased to announce that Van Ness Feldman has been awarded the distinction of Law Firm of the Year for Native American Law for 2023 by U.S. News and World Report.  In addition, the firm was again named a Best Law Firm by U.S. News and World Report in all core areas of law in which the firm focuses  including, Energy, Environmental Law & Litigation, Government Relations, Land Use & Zoning, Native American, Natural Resources, Oil & Gas, and Real Estate teams receiving national Tier 1 recognition.

U.S News and World Report’s Best Lawyers Rankings

We are also pleased that four members of our Native Affairs team were recognized as “Best Lawyers” by U.S. News and World Report for 2023.  Congratulations to Richard Agnew, Laura Jones*, Melinda Meade Meyers* and Jonathan Simon on their well-deserved recognition.

*Named “One to Watch”

Remembering Dan Press

Our beloved friend and colleague, Dan Press, passed away on October 5th after a battle with lung cancer. Dan joined Van Ness Feldman in 1990 and was a partner from 1991 through 2020 when he moved to Senior Counsel.

Dan led a remarkable and rich life. He was a tireless advocate on behalf of Native Americans, helping to establish the Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance (TERO) program, helping to launch the Native American Bank, and crafting much of the statutory language that established the SBA 8(a) program.  In recent years, Dan was a leader advancing trauma-informed policy, working pro bono as general counsel for two national organizations that assist communities to apply the science on the causes and effects of historical and childhood trauma to address social and health problems in their communities. The Roundtable on Native American Trauma-Informed Initiatives works to assist Native communities implement comprehensive trauma-informed initiatives while the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice works at the Federal, state and community levels to encourage elected and agency officials to adopt policies that apply the science on trauma to the programs that address the effects of trauma, such as suicide, substance abuse, and domestic violence. It also educates local communities about the benefits of implementing comprehensive trauma-informed initiatives.

For six years until retiring in 2017, Dan was an adjunct professor at Columbia University where he taught undergraduate courses on current issues facing Indian tribes to include Issues in Tribal Government and Native American Economic Development. He also co-taught an original course called The Holocaust and Genocide in America in which the students examined these two genocidal events and the way the United States government and the public have treated each in recent years.

In November 2018, Dan received the Public Advocacy award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies for “Outstanding and Fundamental Contributions to Advancing the Social Understanding of Trauma,” and is the author of “A How-To Handbook on Creating Comprehensive, Integrated Trauma-Informed Initiatives in Native American Communities.”

As we remember Dan, we wanted to share a link to an alumni profile that Columbia did some years ago. The profile highlights some of Dan's passions and provides insight into Dan's wonderful approach to life.