Live Seminar

Negotiating Contracts on Tribal Lands



Tuesday, March 06, 2018


9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Product ID#:



Best Western Plus Clocktower Inn

2511 1st Avenue North

Billings, MT 59101


$339 / Each Additional

Registration Includes Course Book

Credit Information

Continuing Legal Education

  • MT CLE - 6.00


  • AAPL - 6.00
  • IACET - 0.60
  • PACE - 7.00
  • Surveyor - 6.00

Program Description

Get the Knowledge You Need to Negotiate Contracts on Tribal Lands

The unique intricacies of Native American land use issues often make contract negotiations difficult. Confusion over jurisdiction, federal government red tape and cultural differences create unexpected challenges for all parties involved. No matter what side of the table you sit on, this comprehensive seminar on Indian country contracts will alleviate much of this confusion and give you useful knowledge you can immediately use in your next round of negotiations. Use your knowledge of the ins and outs of tribal land use law to negotiate contracts that protect your clients' best interests - register today!

  • Differentiate between tribal trust lands, fee lands, allotments and other forms of American Indian land ownership.
  • Determine when water rights are attached to a reservation by analyzing treaties and other historical agreements.
  • Confidently unravel federal red tape when negotiating mineral leases on reservations.
  • Overcome financing difficulties and other challenges when negotiating ground leases on tribal lands.
  • Confidently negotiate right-of-way agreements in Indian country.

Who Should Attend

This intermediate level seminar on Indian country contract negotiations is for:

  • Attorneys
  • Tribal Government Officials
  • Oil and Gas Company Representatives
  • Mining Company Representatives
  • Landmen
  • Real Estate Professionals
  • Banking and Finance Professionals
  • Surveyors

Course Content

  1. Establishing the Framework of Native American Land Ownership
  2. Tribal Water Rights
  3. Negotiating Mineral Leases in Indian Country
  4. Overcoming Leasing Challenges on Tribal Lands
  5. Resolving Easement and Right-of-Way Issues on Reservation Lands

Continuing Education Credit

American Association of Professional Landmen – AAPL: 6.00 *

Continuing Legal Education – CLE: 6.00

International Association for Continuing Education Training – IACET: 0.60

Professional Achievement in Continuing Education – PACE: 7.00 *

Surveyor – Surveyor: 6.00

* denotes specialty credits

Agenda / Content Covered

  1. Establishing the Framework of Native American Land Ownership
    9:00 - 10:15, Gage H. Zobell
    1. Indian Country: What is it?
    2. The Trust Doctrine and Federal Oversight of Indian Lands
    3. Forms of Tribal Land Ownership: Trust Lands, Fee Lands, Allotments etc.
    4. Issues to Understand: Checkerboarding, Fractionation etc.
    5. Jurisdictional Issues: Tribal, Federal and State
    6. Understanding the Sale and Purchase of Tribal Lands
    7. Financing Difficulties
  2. Tribal Water Rights
    10:30 - 11:45, Gage H. Zobell
    1. The Federal Reserved Water Rights Doctrine
    2. What is the Purpose of the Reservation? Agriculture, etc.
    3. Do Intended Uses Date to the Reservation Establishment?
    4. Quantification of Water Rights; How Much is Necessary?
    5. Can Tribes Transfer Water Rights?
    6. Tribal Water Codes: What Can They Regulate?
    7. Handling Water Compact Issues
    8. Using Settlements to Ensure Water Access: Key Challenges and Consideration
  3. Negotiating Mineral Leases in Indian Country
    12:45 - 2:00, Steven T. Small
    1. Navigating the Approval Process: Key Regulations
      1. Indian Mineral Leasing Act
      2. Indian Mineral Development Act
      3. Tribal Energy Resource Agreements
      4. Other Regulatory Hurdles
    2. What Needs BIA Approval?
    3. Title Searches and Allotment Leasing Challenges
    4. Government Incentives Available for Tribes
    5. Ensuring Appropriate Dispute Resolution Provisions
    6. Taxation Issues: Double Taxation, Fee Lands vs. Tribal Lands, etc.
    7. Strategies for Reducing Tax Burdens
    8. Key Tips for Negotiating Leases
  4. Overcoming Leasing Challenges on Tribal Lands
    2:15 - 3:30, Steven T. Small
    1. The HEARTH Act of 2012: What Hurdles Does it Remove?
    2. Leasing Challenges for Allotments
      1. Consent Requirements for Allotments
      2. Proxy Rights of the Secretary of Interior
    3. Negotiating Leases
      1. What the Law Says About Lease Terms
      2. Ensuring Disputes Can be Resolved: Tribal Immunity Issues
      3. Issues with Lease Assignments and Subleases
      4. Other Considerations for Lease Negotiations
    4. Ground Leases: Overcoming Financing and Other Challenges
    5. Issues with Grazing Rights
    6. Necessary Forms and Application Procedures for Leases
  5. Resolving Easement and Right-of-Way Issues on Reservation Lands
    3:30 - 4:30, Steven T. Small
    1. Rights-of-Way on Tribal Lands: A Regulatory Overview
    2. Who Can Authorize Easements on Tribal Lands?
    3. Perpetuity of Easements
    4. Locating Documentation of Existing Right-of-Ways
    5. Appraisal Challenges
    6. Negotiation Strategies for Easements
    7. Key Documents for Negotiating Easements
    8. What Role Does the BIA Play in Negotiations?
    9. Necessary Forms and Procedures with Examples

STEVEN T. SMALL is an attorney in the law firm of Holland & Hart LLP. A member of the firm’s business group, Mr. Small focuses on solving the complexities of real estate transactions, including acquisitions and sales, financing, commercial leasing, and title-related issues. He also represents lenders and borrowers in secured and unsecured financing transactions and loan workouts and restructurings. His experience includes representing clients in entity formation, asset and stock purchases, corporate and partnership reorganizations, mergers, and acquisitions. Mr. Small has an extensive business background as well, receiving his B.S. degree in finance and M.B.A. degree with a certificate in entrepreneurship from the University of Montana School of Business. In addition to his J.D. degree from the University of Montana School of Law, Mr. Small has also earned a certificate in American Indian Law. He is a member of the State Bar of Montana, and the American, Yellowstone County and Northwest Indian bar associations.

GAGE H. ZOBELL is an attorney in the Billings office for Crowley Fleck PLLP. His practice encompasses multiple areas of energy, real estate, environmental, farm and ranch, and natural resource law. While with the firm, Mr. Zobell has provided legal counsel to clients ranging from local ranchers with water disputes to large international mining corporations developing new acquisitions. His experience includes conducting mineral title examination and due diligence for properties in Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, and Nevada; and drafting title opinions throughout the firm’s tri-state region. Mr. Zobell is developing a broad based water law practice, assisting both corporate and agricultural clients in water transactions, permitting, and development before the respective water courts and agencies. This practice has included assisting corporations with water due diligence in property development and acquisition while also providing legal counsel for development and preservation of existing water rights. His practice also includes drafting agricultural leases, condemning and defending easements, conducting quiet title actions, and assisting in the buying and selling of agricultural properties. He earned his B.S. degree, magna cum laude, in economics, 2nd in his class, from BYU-Idaho; and his J.D. degree from BYU's J. Reuben Clark School of Law, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, Phi Kappa Phi.

Please refer to Continuing Education Credit FAQ for general information about seeking credit for your participation in one of our continuing education programs.

Additionally, our team of credit specialists are here to answer your specific credit-related questions weekdays 7am - 5pm Central:

Phone: 866-240-1890


Accreditation Details:

American Association of Professional Landmen

N LM: 6.00 Includes - Ethics: 1.00
This program may qualify for CPL/RPL credits. Please contact the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL) at 817-847-7700 for more information.

Continuing Legal Education

MT CLE: 6.00
Approved for 6.0 hours of CLE credit by the Montana Commission on Continuing Legal Education, including 0.0 hour of ethics.

International Association for Continuing Education Training

N IACET: 0.60
NBI, Inc. is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and is authorized to issue the IACET CEU. NBI, Inc. is authorized by IACET to offer 0.6 CEUs for this program. At the end of the program, participants must complete a self-assessment in order to receive credit. 100% attendance is required. (Provider #1004558)

Upon completion of this course, attendees should be able to: 1. Identify the differences between tribal trust lands and fee lands. 2. Identify how to use treaties to determine when water rights attached to a reservation. 3. Describe the federal government's involvement in mineral lease negotiations. 4. Identify an example of a financing difficulty for a ground lease on tribal land. 5. Identify who can authorize an easement on tribal land.

Professional Achievement in Continuing Education

N PACE: 7.00 Includes - Chartered Financial Consultant: 7.00
This seminar qualifies for 7.0 PACE (Professional Achievement in Continuing Education) credit hours for ChFC.


MT SV: 6.00 Pending Credit Approval
This program has been submitted to the Montana Association of Registered Land Surveyors Continuing Professional Competency Committee for review.

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How To Order

Web: Order Now
Call: 800.930.6182
Fax: 715.835.1405
Mail: NBI
P.O. Box 3067
Eau Claire, WI 54702