Fiscal Year 2000 Summary Annual Report
for the period October 1, 1999 September 30, 2000

In 2000, the Native American Rights Fund celebrated the 30th anniversary of its founding. During this thirty-year period, Native nations forced an end to the old federal policy of terminating tribal governments and created a new federal policy of tribal self-determination and self-governance that recognizes tribal governments as permanent institutions in the American system of government along with the federal and state governments. NARF is proud to have played a key role during this time by providing legal advice and representation to Indian tribes, organizations and individuals in cases of major national significance that have helped to forge this new policy.

[We] will make every effort to be included in the decision-making of this great nation because itis the birthright of all citizens. We will carry the wisdom of our elders as we continue toadvocate for the culture of our ancestors so those yet unborn can benefit as we have.

Wallace Coffey
NARF Board Chair


  • The Governor of Alaska signed an Administrative Order recognizing the 226 Alaska Native tribes for the first time and is negotiating a tribal-state accord with tribal representatives that would implement the Administrative Order. NARF has taken a leading role in providing technical assistance to tribal leaders through the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council as they participate in these government-to-government meetings with the State.

  • After fifteen years of preparation and representation by NARF, the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana had their petition for federal recognition of their tribal status acted upon favorably by the Bureau of Indian Affairs with the publication of a proposed finding acknowledging their existence as an Indian tribe. The proposed finding should be finalized in 2001 and the 3,900-member Tribe would finally be recognized.

  • In Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas v. United States, the Court of Federal Claims ruled that the United States should compensate the Tribe for loss of use of 2.85 million acres of ancestral land in east Texas that was illegally taken without federal approval after Texas became a state in 1845. NARF is involved in settlement discussions with the United States on behalf of the Tribe on the monetary damages owed for failure to protect the Tribe's possession of its aboriginal lands.

  • A $1.83 million settlement has been reached on a claim by the Northern Lakes Pottawatomi Nation of Canada filed in 1993 by NARF against the United States for payment of certain annuities based on a series of treaties with the historic Pottawatomi Nation from 1795 to 1833. The Northern Lakes Pottawatomi had never been paid because their ancestors had fled from their ancestral lands in the upper Midwest to Canada in 1833 to avoid being relocated to lands west of the Mississippi River.

  • In implementation of the first Indian water rights settlement that had the support of the Clinton Administration, a state and a tribe, Congress appropriated the first $24 million authorized by the act settling the water rights claims of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation in Montana. The $50 million settlement approved in 1999 quantities on-reservation water rights, establishes a water administration system and provides federal funding for the development of water projects to serve the present and future needs of the Tribe.

  • The Kenaitze Tribe of Alaska, whose primary hunting and fishing grounds have been on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, had their subsistence hunting and fishing rights under federal law recognized in that area when the Federal Subsistence Board ruled that the Kenai Peninsula is a rural area where subsistence hunting and fishing can occur. NARF is representing the Tribe and faces further challenges to the Board's decision.

  • The newly-developed National Tribal Justice Resource Center (NTJRC), which was established by the National American Indian Court Judges Association, opened its doors in space provided at NARF's National Indian Law Library (NILL). NTJRC, assisted by NILL, will provide legal resources to tribal court personnel and assist with legal inquiries from Native American justice systems around the country.


Under the priority of the preservation of tribal existence, NARF's activity emphasizes enablingTribes to continue to live according to their Native traditions; to enforce their treaty rights; toinsure their independence on reservations; and to protect their sovereignty.

  • Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe (NV) asserting tribal court jurisdiction

  • National Congress of American Indians, National American Indian Court Judges Association (onbehalf of Tribes nationwide) developing laws that would give Indian Tribes timely and adequate notice of cases in state and tribal courts that question tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction

  • Alaska Inter-Tribal Council (AK) asserting tribal jurisdiction on Alaska Native allotment lands

  • Alaska Inter-Tribal Council (on behalf of Alaska Native tribes) seeking state recognition of tribal governmental authority

  • Several individual Indians (OK) challenging taxing jurisdiction by the State of Oklahoma

  • Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians (MT); Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe (MA); Miami Nation(IN); Pamunkey Tribe (VA); Shinnecock Indian Nation (NY); United Houma Nation (LA) seeking federal recognition as Indian tribe


  • The land base and natural resources of Indian nations continue to be critical factors in thepreservation of tribal existence. Through control over tribal lands and resources, Indian tribescan regain a degree of economic self-sufficiency necessary for Indian self-determination. Thereare approximately fifty-five million acres of Indian-controlled land in the continental UnitedStates that constitutes only 2.3 percent of their former territory. About forty-five million acresare tribally owned and ten million acres are individually owned. Additionally, there are aboutforty-four million acres in Alaska that are owned by Natives following the 1971 Alaska NativeClaims Settlement Act. The federal government, has in many instances, failed to fulfill its trustduty to protect Indian tribes and their property rights. The Native American Rights Fundconcentrates much of its legal representation on cases that will ensure a sufficient naturalresource base for tribes.

  • Alabama-Coushatta Tribe (TX) seeking compensation for the loss of use of 2.85 million acresof ancestral land illegally taken without federal approval between 1845 and 1954

  • Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe (WI); San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe (AZ); asserting land claims

  • Keewattinosagaing or Northern Lakes Pottawatomi Nation (Canada) seeking compensation foroutstanding treaty entitlements

  • Klamath Tribe (OR) asserting its water rights to support the Tribe's 1864 treaty hunting andfishing rights; developing an Economic Self-Sufficiency Plan (ESSP) to regain economicautonomy

  • Lower Brule Sioux Tribe (SD) defending the purchase of former reservation land and placing itin federal trust for the Tribe

  • Native Village of Tuluksak (AK) seeking to put land owned by the Village corporation intotrust

  • Oglala Sioux Tribe (SD) developing and implementing a Safe Drinking Water Code, a WaterQuality Management Code, and a Water Services Security Connection Ordinance

  • Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation (MT) implementing the Tribe's waterrights settlement

  • Nez Perce Tribe (ID) asserting its water rights in the Snake River Basin to maintain its treatyrights to fish for salmon and steelhead

  • Tule River Tribe (CA) asserting its water rights to the South Fork of the Tule River to providethe Tribe with sufficient water to create a permanent homeland for its people with minimalimpact on the other users

  • Native Village of Mentasta (AK); Kenaitze Indian Tribe (AK); Native Village of Eyak (AK);Native Village of Kluti Kaah (AK) asserting subsistence fishing and hunting rights

  • On behalf of Tribes nationwide implementing federal environmental law and policy thatrecognizes tribal governments as the primary regulators and enforcers of the federalenvironmental laws on Indian lands; participating in the joint tribal/federal water funding taskforce established by Interior Secretary Babbitt; participating in the Ad Hoc Group on IndianReserved Water Rights


In 2000, NARF provided assistance in several matters involving religious freedom, culturalrights, education, child welfare and international law. NARF, on behalf of its clients, seeks to enforce and strengthen laws that are designed to protect the human rights of Native Americans inthis area.

  • Native American Church of North America (nationwide) protecting religious freedom in themilitary and in prisons

  • Ute Mountain Ute Tribe (CO); Northern Ute Tribe (UT); Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes (OK);Comanche Tribe (OK); Fort Sill Apache Tribe (OK); Kiowa Tribe (OK); Northern CheyenneTribe (MT); Pawnee Nation (OK); Oglala Sioux (SD); Rosebud Sioux (SD); Mandan, Hidastaand Arikara Tribes (ND) assisting in the return of 350 Native American ancestral remains that were stored for up to a century at the Colorado History Museum

  • National Congress of American Indians (WY) protecting the Medicine Wheel National HistoricLandmark, a sacred site to many tribes

  • Tuolumne Me-Wuk Band of Indians (CA) researching the Tribe's rights to regulate its culturaland intellectual property

  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe (SD) implementing and refining the Tribe's Education Code that wasadopted in 1991; developing a Cultural Resources Management Code by which the Tribe canregulate its cultural and intellectual property on its reservation

  • Native Village of Alakayak (AK) challenging Alaska's English-Only law

  • Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians (OR) filed an amicus curiae brief supporting theTribe's cultural property rights lawsuit against Indian Motorcycles

  • National Congress of American Indians, National Indian Education Association, National IndianYouth Council (on behalf of Indians nationwide) - filed an amicus curiae brief in support of thecancellation of the pro-football Washington "Redskins" trademark

  • Assiniboine-Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation (MT); Jicarilla Apache Tribe (NM);Northern Cheyenne Tribe (MT); Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation (ND) developing and implementing tribal education codes

  • National Congress of American Indians, National Indian Education Association (on behalf ofTribes nationwide) implementing the Executive Order on Indian Education signed by PresidentClinton in 1998

  • On behalf of Tribes nationwide monitoring Congressional legislation associated with the IndianChild Welfare Act; participating in several national conferences and meetings related to Indianchild welfare to address tribal concerns

  • National Congress of American Indians (on behalf of Tribes nationwide) participating in thedevelopment, negotiation and adoption of the United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights ofIndigenous Peoples; participating in the World Conference Against Racism, RacialDiscrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance


NARF works to hold all levels of government accountable for the proper enforcement of the many laws and regulations that govern the lives of Indian people. NARF continues to be involved in several cases that focus primarily on the accountability of the federal and state governments to Indians.

  • 500,000 present and past individual Indian trust beneficiaries spread throughout fifty reservationsin twelve states seeking redress in a class action lawsuit against the United States for the mismanagement of individual Indian money (IIM) trust accounts

  • Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa (ND); Chippewa-Cree of the Rocky Boys Reservation (MT); Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa (MT) alleging federal misaccounting, misinvestment, and mismanagement of a tribal trust fund

  • Akiachak Native Community(AK); Akiak Native Community (AK); Native Village of Aleknagik(AK); Chinik Eskimo Community (AK); Native Village of Clark's Point (AK); Native Village ofGambell (AK); Native Village of Kiana (AK); Native Village of Teller (AK); Tuluksak NativeCommunity (AK); Native Village of White Mountain (AK); Alaska Inter-Tribal Council (AK);sixteen Alaska Native individuals (AK) seeking adequate law enforcement protection in Alaska Native villages

  • National Congress of American Indians (on behalf of Native Hawaiians) filed an amicus curiaebrief supporting a voting restriction for trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs

  • Pele Defense Fund v. Campbell (HI) protecting traditional Native Hawaiian access rights torainforest lands


  • The systematic development of Indian law and educating the public are essential for the continued protection of Indian rights. NARF remains firmly committed to continuing its effort toshare its legal expertise with groups and individuals working in support of Indian rights and to foster the recognition of Indian rights in mainstream society.

  • National Indian Law Library (NILL) This is the only law library that specializes in legal practice materials that are essential for practitioners of Indian law. For the past twenty-eight years, NILL has been collecting a wealth of materials relating to federal Indian law and tribal law which include such tribal self-governance materials as constitutions, codes and ordinances; legal pleadings from major Native American law cases; law review articles; handbooks; conference materials, and other information. The National Indian Law Library's library catalog on the NARF website provides free access to current descriptions of over 12,000 holdings in the library collection. NILL handles close to 1,000 information requests per year and serves a wide variety of public patrons including attorneys, tribal governments, tribal organizations, researchers, students, prisoners, the media, and the general public.

  • Indian Law Support Center (ILSC) During the year 2000, the ILSC continued to send regular mail-outs to Indian Legal Service Programs; handled requests for assistance; and worked with Indian Legal Services directors to secure a more stable funding base from Congress. ILSC has also been working with the Indian legal services community to organize an Indian Law Conference at the University of California at Berkeley.

  • Nationwide NARF continued its participation in numerous conferences and meetings of Indian and non-Indian organizations in order to share its knowledge and expertise in Indian law. During the past fiscal year, NARF attorneys and staff served in formal or informal speaking and leadership capacities at numerous Indian and Indian-related conferences and meetings such as the National Congress of American Indians' Executive Council, Mid-Year and Annual Conventions and the Federal Bar Association's Indian Law Conference.


Based on our audited financial statements for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2000, the Native American Rights Fund reports total unrestricted revenues of $7,098,455 against total expenditures of $6,862,212. Due to presentation requirements of the audited financial statements in terms of recognizing the timing of certain revenues, they do not reflect the fact that, based on NARF's internal reporting, revenue actually exceeded operating expenses and other cash outlays by $326,512, allowing for a modest increase to NARF's reserve fund. This increase is largely attributed to additional grants from foundations, combined with a fortuitous gain in investments.

Expenditures increased by $314,312 due, in the most part, to an increase in consultant costs for fiscal year 2000's case-related activity. Total management and fund raising costs constituted 27.9% of total revenues in fiscal year 2000.

FY 2000 INCOME - for the period October 1, 1999 September 30, 2000

Federal Grants
Foundation Grants
Return on Investments
Legal Fees

Note: This summary of financial information has been extracted from NARF's audited financialstatements on which the accounting firm of JDS Professional Group expressed an unqualifiedopinion. Complete audited financials are available, upon request, through our Boulder office or at

Native American Rights Fund

Main Office: 1506 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302, 303-447-8760

Washington, D.C. Office: 1712 N Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036, 202-785-4166

Alaska Office: 420 L Street, Suite 505, Anchorage, Alaska 99501, 907-276-0680

Tax Status: The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) is a nonprofit, charitable organization incorporated in 1971 under the laws of the District of Columbia. NARF is exempt from federal income tax under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. Contributions to NARF are tax deductible. The Internal Revenue Service has ruled that NARF is not a "private foundation" as defined in Section 509(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. NARF was founded in 1970 and incorporated in 1971 in Washington, D.C.