Native American Law & Tribal Law


Smith & Shellenberger, LLC Indian law practice area is headed by two of the most distinguished attorneys practicing Indian law today. The two partners alone have 45 years of combined Indian law experience to offer clients and their professional lives have been dedicated to the representation of American Indian tribes, members and organizations.

Our attorneys have grass roots experience living and working in tribal communities, and the firm’s partners all have experience teaching law classes at the college or professional level.  Their backgrounds provide an understanding of and sensitivity to tribal ways and customs that are crucial to providing successful representation, which undeniably sets our services apart.

The attorneys at Smith & Shellenberger, LLC are skilled negotiators and Indian law experts with longstanding ties to the tribal nations of Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, New York, South Dakota, and Oklahoma.  We have a deep commitment to tribal sovereignty, tribal self-government and tribal self-determination. It is our firm policy that representing parties against Indian nations, even if ethically permitted, is a direct conflict without dedication and commitment to promoting tribal sovereignty, tribal self-determination, and tribal self-governance, and disloyal to our tribal clients. This dedication to tribal sovereignty, tribal self-determination, and tribal self-governance is a cornerstone value upon which the firm is built.

Smith & Shellenberger, LLC recognizes the unique situation of each tribal client. Our attorneys understand the differences among tribal communities, not just in terms of culture and tradition, but also economic, social, political history, and governmental structure and nuances. As a result, our work in Indian Law is calibrated specifically for each tribe and tribal organization, and in a manner that serves them best and responds to their specific needs and priorities. This leads to the most effective and cost-effective utilization of our attorney’s experience and expertise in tribal law, Federal Indian Law, and other areas of law.

Our attorneys have a remarkably broad range of experience working with Native American Indian Tribal nations and Indian organizations. This includes general tribal governmental matters, jurisdictional issues, land issue, tribal courts, 638 contracting, employment and personnel issues, insurance issues, casino management and compliance issues, and construction, to name a few areas.


Tribal Courts Admitted to Practice In:

Navajo Nation

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

Flandreau Santee Sioux

Hualapai Tribe

Oglala Sioux Tribe

Osage Nation

Ponca Tribe of Nebraska

Southern Ute

Ute Mountain Ute