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Native American Fair Commerce Coalition Cites Pair of Recent Governmental Actions as Showing Signs of Promise for Tribal Sovereignty

Recent Separate Actions by the State District Court of Colorado and the Treasury Department Underscore Growing Governmental Awareness for Protection of Native American Sovereign Rights (February 15, 2012)

WASHINGTON, DC -- (Marketwire) -- 02/15/12 -- The Native American Fair Commerce Coalition (NAFCC), a representative organization comprised of like-minded tribes and tribal members that are committed to protecting the sovereign rights -- well settled in US law -- of Native Americans to pursue business and economic opportunities for their tribes nationwide, has responded to two recent governmental developments sharing an acknowledgement of tribal sovereignty rights.

The NAFCC began by saluting the State District Court of Colorado in its ruling of Cash Advance v State of Colorado in which the court affirms the sovereign rights of Native American tribes and the 'principals of tribal immunity.'

District Court Judge Morris Hoffman upheld tribal sovereignty when he ruled that two Native American tribes -- the Miami tribe of Oklahoma and the Santee Sioux tribe of Nebraska -- are acting within their rights to conduct their online payday loan businesses. Against attacks by the State Attorney General, the Court ruled that the state failed to prove their case, citing the legitimacy of the tribal online lending operations owned and operated by the Tribes.

As part of its ruling the Court stated: "[T]ribal immunity applies to a tribe's governmental and commercial activities alike... [n]ot only has every federal court of appeals addressing this issue so concluded, but the United States itself has also conceded that a tribe does not lose its immunity simply by engaging in a business through a corporate entity."


"For eight years the Colorado Attorney General has sought aggressively to interfere with businesses owned and operated by the Miami tribe of Oklahoma and the Santee Sioux tribe of Nebraska from making loans online. The NAFCC is pleased to acknowledge the ruling of the State District Court of Colorado which has concluded that tribes are within their sovereign rights to engage in e-commerce activities, including short term loans, and the tribal immunity extends off of the reservation. The legal principles are the bedrock of tribal sovereignty and it is refreshing to see that the Court got it right," said Barry Brandon, Executive Director of the NAAFC.

In a second development, the NAFCC has endorsed the Treasury Department's recent recommendation to Congress to place Tribal governments on par with states and localities in order to issue both forms of governmental bonds without the "essential governmental function" restriction. As part of its recommendation, the Treasury Department also proposed that tribes should use gambling revenues to repay or provide security for tax-exempt municipal bonds (although the department recommends tribes remain prohibited from using municipal bonds to finance gaming facilities). The NAFCC also cited its support of the Treasury Department's recommendation that municipal bonds be used to finance projects located on reservations together with projects that are either nearby, "have a substantial connection" to the reservation, or provide goods and services to reservation residents.

"Two separate but important developments have occurred that support Tribes lawful right to pursue economic opportunities and to control their economic destinies," said Brandon.

About The Native American Fair Commerce Coalition:
Headquartered in Washington DC, the Native American Fair Commerce Coalition (NAFCC) is a representative organization comprised of like-minded tribes and tribal members that are committed to protecting the sovereign rights -- well settled in US law -- of Native Americans to pursue business and economic opportunities for their tribes nationwide.

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