Daniel Press, who heads the Van Ness Feldman Native American practice group, has been engaged in the practice of Indian law since 1968. Over that period he has represented numerous tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, intertribal organizations, and tribally-owned enterprises. The scope of his practice has included virtually every area of Indian law “energy, land, health, business development, education, agriculture, trust funds and assets, employment and labor law, and environmental remediation.
Mr. Press also represents companies engaged in business with tribes, with a particular emphasis on energy companies seeking to build generating stations, wind energy project, pipelines, and similar projects on reservation lands. In these representations, he has used his years of experience working with tribes and private sector companies to assist his clients develop productive business partnerships with tribes so that their projects can move forward quickly and cooperatively. In addition, he assists his clients negotiate rights-of-ways, leases, and joint venture agreements with tribes, along with helping them to navigate the unique laws the govern business activity on reservations, including Tribal Employment Rights Ordinances (TEROS), the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), and the web of environmental and permitting laws that regulate development activity reservations.
Mr. Press has been at the cutting edge of many key issues in Indian law and economic development. He was one of the founders of the Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO) program in 1977 and is recognized as one of the country's experts in Indian labor and employment law issues. He served as counsel to the intertribal organization that began the inquiry into the Interior Department's mismanagement of Indian trust funds. He helped to draft the Indian provisions of both the 1992 Energy Policy Act and EPAct 2005. He helped to create the Native American Bank, an institution owned by 24 tribes that focuses on loans and other services to Indian tribes and ANCs.
In the area of economic development, he has assisted tribes and ANCs establish numerous businesses and has assisted those businesses obtain contracts from the Federal government using the SBA 8(a) and other preferences available to such businesses. In 2002, he helped to create the first multi-tribal 8(a) information technology company, owned by twelve tribes and ANCs, that has received over $90 million in sole-source government contracts and has created over 300 jobs on remote reservations and Alaska Native Villages.
In all of these representations, he uses his 38 years of experience to assist both his tribal and private sector clients find common ground and develop successful business relationships so that mutually beneficial projects can move forward.