A Lawyer in Indian Country
2009, 328 pages, ISBN 978-0295989358. University of Washington Press, PO Box 50096, Seattle, WA, 98145, 800-537-5487, www.washington.edu/uwpress
In this memoir, Alvin Ziontz reflects on his more than thirty years representing Indian tribes, from a time when Indian law was little known through landmark rulings that upheld tribal sovereignty. He discusses the growth and maturation of tribal government and the underlying tensions between Indian society and the non-Indian world. A Lawyer in Indian Country presents vignettes of reservation life and recounts some of the memorable legal cases that illustrate the challenges faced by individual Indians and tribes.
As the senior attorney arguing U.S. v. Washington, Ziontz was a party to the historic 1974 Boldt decision that affirmed the Pacific Northwest tribes' treaty fishing rights, with ramifications for tribal rights nationwide. His work took him to reservations in Montana, Wyoming, and Minnesota, as well as Washington and Alaska, and he describes not only the work of a tribal attorney but also his personal experiences and relationships.