Office of the Tribal Attorney
The Office of the Tribal Attorney provides support and acts as legal counsel to the Yurok Tribal Council. The OTA represents the Tribal Council and the Yurok Tribe as a governmental entity. It is this department's responsibility to give input to the Council in regard to Tribal business. Additionally, the OTA provides support and legal counsel to the various Tribal departments. At this time, due to limited resources, the OTA cannot provide legal assistance to individual Tribal members, however, upon approval from the Executive director, may provide referrals to outside legal counsel.
The Office of the Tribal Attorney, at the direction of the Yurok Tribal Council and in coordination with the Planning Department, is in consultation with the US Department of the Interior to ensure the Yurok Tribe receives Cobell settlement funds to reclaim a portion of its Tribal land base through a voluntary buy-out of select fractionated interests in trust land within the reservation. If you would like to learn more about this process and about the additional money available to individual Indian trust beneficiaries, please visit the Cobell Settlement web page here.
Graduation, Traditional Regalia and First Amendment Rights
The Office of the Tribal Attorney congratulates all Native American graduates for their educational accomplishments and encourages tribal members to exercise their freedom of religion. If you face any discrimination related to traditional regalia at graduation please contact the Yurok OTA.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) & Native American Rights Fund (NARF) Letter, 2008
JESSIE SHORT, ET AL v. THE UNITED STATES, ET AL
The United States Court of Federal Claims has transferred the case to the Yurok Tribal Court to finalize the Jessie Short distributions. This is the first time in history that a Federal Court has done this. The Office of Tribal Attorney is assisting Yurok Tribal Court with its task of completing the remaining distributions to Jessie Short plaintiffs and their beneficiaries.
The Jessie Short Master Payment Report encompasses all payments made from 1996-2013. Only Distributions 43, 44, and 45 are left to be handled by Yurok Tribal Court. All other Distributions have been deemed paid by the US Court of Federal Claims and will not be reopened.
If you or your relative is not on this list of Judgment Plaintiffs or Plaintiff heirs, it is too late to intervene or join the case. If a family member is located on this list with either 43, 44, or 45 after their name, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
The Office of Tribal Attorney has an application before to pay the 43rd pending before the Tribal Court.
Marine Life Protection Act Initiative
The Office of the Tribal Attorney, in coordination with the Office of Self-Governance and other departments within the Tribe, is working to assure that the traditional fishing and gathering rights of the Tribe and the other Tribes and tribal communities of the North Coast are not diminished by the State of California's Marine Life Protection ActInitiative. Please click here for updates on this important ongoing work. You will also find select documents related to these efforts.
COBELL v. SALAZAR Settlement
The Office of the Tribal Attorney refers individuals seeking information regarding the Cobell settlement to the website set up by the Plaintiffs' attorneys. You can view the site here.
Historical and Important Documents
The Office of the Tribal Attorney has begun an effort to gather documents of importance to Yurok Tribe and to make them available online here. In the linked archive you will find documents that relate to the legal, legislative, and cultural history of the Yurok Tribe as well as some brief discussion. This is an ongoing project and the OTA welcomes comments and suggestions for inclusion in the archive. Please visit the archive here.
Land to Trust
The constitution of the Yurok tribe states among its purposes to "Reclaim the tribal land base within the Yurok Reservation and enlarge the Reservation boundaries to the maximum extent possible within the ancestral lands of our tribe and/or within any compensatory land area." The Office of the Tribal Attorney has established a webpage to provide members and the public with information on the Tribe's ongoing efforts on this most important mandate. Click here visit the page.
Note to Employees:
No legal services or advice will be given to any employee without prior approval. If an employee wishes to meet with one of the attorneys they will be required to obtain prior approval from the Executive Director. Without this prior approval no contact will be permitted. Each department or employee will be required to fill out a request form for each item to be submitted to the Office of the Tribal Attorney.