Center for Indian Law and Policy offers alternative dispute resolution

(January 21, 2010) The Center for Indian Law and Policy at Seattle University School of Law has created a unique program to address the often intractable conflicts that arise in Indian law between Indian tribes and people and non-Indian people, governments and entities. 

These disputes are special because their cultural, social, and historical components often play singularly important roles with roots that extend back many decades. To solve these conflicts effectively requires an ability to understand Indian law and an awareness and respect for the cultural and inter-generational divides that characterize these disputes. 

The Dispute Resolution Project will be led initially by Center Director Douglas Nash and Michael Mirande. Nash brings to the process 39 years of work as a tribal advocate. Mirande has worked on Indian law issues for private and public non-Tribal entities for over 23 years and currently teaches Indian Law at Seattle University School of Law as an adjunct faculty member. Nash and Mirande have substantial experience in resolving Indian law issues outside of traditional litigation and mediation, including as opposing counsel in several complex cases in which they were successful in bringing parties on opposite sides together in sustainable, long-term, settlement agreements that provide benefits to both parties far beyond what might be realized through litigation. 

The project will draw upon other Center and law school faculty. Students will play an important role in each stage of problem solving, from initial interaction with clients through efforts to institutionalize among the parties ongoing relationships that should serve as a framework for avoiding future conflicts. This will provide cost- effective problem solving and an important source of professional learning and experience as well. 

The Center's Dispute Resolution Project is open to tribal and non-tribal governments and entities who are seeking resolution of conflicts whether or not those conflicts are in active litigation. The conflicts can be between tribal and non-tribal parties, or between competing tribes trying to sort out their respective prerogatives. 

The new Center is built upon the operation and success of the school's initial Indian law program - the Institute for Indian Estate Planning and Probate. The Institute opened its doors at SU in August, 2005, and developed programs that provide estate planning services to Indian people and informational programs that have been delivered to Indian Communities, attorneys and governmental officials. The Institute will continue to exist and operate as one of several components within the new Center. Nash who initially established the Indian Estate Planning Project at the University of Idaho, School of Law in 2003 and brought the Institute to the School of Law. 

The Center will charge for its services with a competitively based fee schedule. For further information about the Dispute Resolution Project, contact Douglas Nash at 206- 398 4276 or or Michael Mirande at

Sullivan Hall