Tribal Court

Contracts With Indian Tribes

Enforcing a construction contract or other agreement with an Indian Tribe is not a simple state-law contract matter. A boilerplate construction contract with an Indian Tribe will probably not be enforceable in state, federal, or even tribal court. Therefore, if the project goes south, you will probably be without a remedy.

The solution to this problem is to negotiate a contract that specifically addresses jurisdiction and sovereign immunity long before any dispute arises. One way to address these issues is to stipulate to arbitration. The arbitrator, or, at least, the organization or business providing the arbitrator, should be specified. The scope of the arbitrator’s powers should also be specified. This contract, including the arbitration clause, would need to be ratified by a resolution from the Tribal Council.

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