Federal Indian Law

With over thirty-five years of experience in Indian Country, BHGR is committed to providing Indian tribes and tribal partners the best quality legal representation in an efficient manner. 

Our attorneys within this practice, led by Rory Dilweg, bring their wealth of knowledge and experience to a broad variety of matters affecting Indian tribes throughout the United States, including Indian gaming, business and finance, litigation, regulatory, and governance matters. We provide each client with highly specialized services, fashioned to satisfy the unique needs and challenges of each legal matter. This approach is facilitated by our firm’s broad expertise and team-oriented culture, and is centered on a deep understanding and profound respect for tribal sovereignty.

BHGR attorneys and employees take pride in our ability to advise innovative solutions and to modify our representation as legal matters evolve, allowing us to anticipate, avoid, and mitigate future issues, or alternatively, advise proactive decisions to take advantage of prospective opportunities to best serve our clients’ current and future needs. We have consistently employed seasoned strategies to bring success to our clients, including Indian tribes, tribal businesses and agencies, developers and lenders, banks and investment banks, and others. Our expertise covers a wide range of important topics, such as project-and debt-financing for casinos, hotels, infrastructure, and other investments, Indian land matters, including energy development and land into trust, and deep regulatory experience and close work with the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, the National Indian Gaming Commission, the Department of Justice, and other federal and state agencies. 

Our attorneys have many years of experience drafting tribal constitutions, codes, ordinances, and resolutions, and we are highly experienced in the formation of tribal business, agencies and departments, tribal courts, gaming and entertainment authorities, and other tribal subdivisions.

Our core competencies include the following matters:

Tribal Governance:

  • Tribal gaming commission representation
  • Gaming ordinances
  • Tribal law matters (constitutions, codes, resolutions, etc.)
  • Tribal employment matters
  • Indian housing law
  • Federal acknowledgment
  • Indian Child Welfare Act matters
  • Indian probate/American Indian Probate Reform Act
  • Cultural Items repatriation

Gaming, Business, and Finance:

  • The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA)
  • National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) approval processes, regulations and compliance issues, and enforcement actions
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) regulations and matters
  • Department of the Interior gaming regulations and policies
  • IGRA NIGC “Indian Land Opinions”
  • IGRA “Sole Proprietary Interest” matters
  • Tribal gaming commission matters
  • Development agreements
  • Management agreements
  • Tribal-state gaming compacts
  • Gaming ordinances
  • Revenue allocation plans
  • Financings (bond financings; bank loans; development loans; private-lenders; New Markets Tax Credit transactions; Low Income Housing Tax Credit transactions; etc.)

Litigation and Administrative Hearings

  • Litigation in various federal courts, including the Circuit Courts of Appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court
  • State and tribal court litigation and arbitration
  • Contract disputes
  • Tribal sovereign immunity matters
  • Disputes with Counties, States, and the Federal Government
  • Compact and gaming-related litigation
  • Real estate matters
  • Employment issues
  • Internal tribal disputes
  • Matters before Office of Hearings and Appeals, Department of the Interior, and the Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs.
  • Close work with the Department of the Interior Solicitor’s office, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Solicitor General’s office.


Indian Lands

  • IGRA “Indian lands” and gaming-eligibility issues
  • NIGC and BIA “Indian Land” opinions and determinations
  • Land-into-trust, fee-to-restricted fee
  • Development of Indian lands
  • BIA leases and approvals, leasehold mortgages, and lease/leaseback arrangements
  • Oklahoma Indian lands and reservation issues
  • Indian reservation determinations and BIA proclamations
  • Indian Non-Intercourse Act/Section 177 matters
  • “Section 81” issues
  • Environmental law
  • NEPA compliance process
  • Energy development

Practice Area Contact

Rory E. Dilweg

Rory E. Dilweg

Partner | red@bhgrlaw.com  | 303.402.1600

Rory Dilweg is a Partner at Berg Hill Greenleaf Ruscitti, LLP. He represents Indian tribal governments throughout the United States in all aspects of the law; including: gaming, gaming regulation, taxation, corporate issues, health care, child welfare, grant writing and compliance, and negotiations with state and local governments. He has participated in gaming compact negotiations in Wisconsin and California, as well as acted as lead negotiator for intergovernmental agreement discussions in both states.  More…