WSWC-NARF 18th Biennial Indian Reserved Water Rights Symposium

The Western States Water Council and Native American Rights Fund cosponsored a Symposium on the settlement of Indian reserved water rights claims on August 8-9, 2023.  The symposium was hosted virtually.  A number of topics were addressed by experts and participants regarding completed and ongoing negotiated settlements.  Successful symposia have been held since 1991.  Our abbreviated agenda will include presenters who have been involved in negotiated settlements representing tribal, state, local, and federal governments, interest groups, congressional staff, and others.   Continuing Legal Education Credit will be available for lawyers who attend.


Ad Hoc Group Who We Are
Secretary’s Indian Water Rights Office Federal Teams
Settlements Approved by Congress
2023 Attendee List
CLE Certificate of Attendance
2023 Evaluation Form


Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Welcome (recording)

John Echohawk, Executive Director, Native American Rights Fund (NARF)
Tony Willardson, Executive Director, Western States Water Council (WSWC)

The U.S. Supreme Court and the Nature of the Tribal Trust (recording)

Department of the Interior v. Navajo Nation, Arizona v. Navajo Nation

Paul Spruhan, Assistant Attorney General, Navajo Nation Department of Justice
John Smeltzer, Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice
Lisa McKnight, Of Counsel, Salmon, Lewis and Weldon

Settlement Implementation, Infrastructure Funding, and Drought (recording)

Camille Touton, Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation

The Administration’s Settlement Policy (recording)

Lynn Trujillo, Sr. Counselor to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, DOI
Pamela Williams, Director, Secretary’s Indian Water Rights Office (PPT)

Administration Response Panel (recording)

A Tribal Perspective: Steve Moore, Attorney, NARF

Permanent Settlement Fund: Michelle Bushman, Deputy Director/General Counsel, WSWC

Settlement Legislation: Getting Bills Through Congress (recording)

Jennifer Romero, Majority Staff Director/Chief Counsel, Senate Indian Affairs
Annick Miller, Staff Director, Sub. on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries, House Natural Resources
Matthew Muirragui, Deputy Staff Director, House Natural Resources Committee

Congressional Response Panel: Part I (recording)

Samantha Skenandore, Of Counsel, Quarles and Brady (Tule River) (PPT)
Ann Berkley Rodgers, Attorney, Chestnut Law Offices, P.A. (Acoma/Laguna) (PPT)
David Yepa, Attorney, New Mexico Law Group (Jemez/Zia) (PPT)
Joanne Harmon Curry, Partner, Patterson Earnhart Real Bird & Wilson LLP (Ft. Belknap Indian Community) (PPT)

Congressional Response Panel: Part II (recording)

Coming Back to Congress: Technical and Other Fixes
KeAloha Douma, Douma Law PLLC (White Mountain Apache) (PPT)

Colorado River (recording)

Stephen Roe Lewis, Governor, Gila River Indian Community
Nicole Klobas, Chief Counsel, Arizona Department of Water Resources (PPT)


Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Negotiation and Settlement of Indian Water Rights Claims (recording)
Hualapai Tribe

Mary Pavel, Partner, Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, LLP (PPT)
Sarah LeFlore, Policy Analyst, Secretary’s Indian Water Rights Office
Jeff Heilman, Legal Counsel, Arizona Department of Water Resources (PPT)

Future Water Supply Planning and Climate Change (recording)

Crystal Tulley-Cordova, Principal Hydrologist, Navajo Nation Department of Water Resources
Nikki Tulley, Scientist, NASA’s Indigenous Peoples Initiative; Associate Program Manager, NASA’s Equity & Environmental Justice Program
Gretel Follingstad, Intermountain West Drought Early Warning System (DEWS)
Coordinator/Drought Planning Lead, NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)
Crystal Stiles, Tribal Engagement Coordinator, NOAA NIDIS (PPT)

Water Management Tools for Drought: Part I (recording)

Colorado River Indian Tribes and Water Leasing

Devin Rhinerson, Partner, PACE LLP (PPT)

Water Management Tools for Drought: Part II (recording)

Western States Water Council Water Data Exchange (WestDAAT)

Tony Willardson, Executive Director, WSWC (PPT
Adel Abdallah, WaDE Program Manager, WSWC




Aug 08 - 09 2023


8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Western States Water Council


Western States Water Council

Other Organizers

Native American Rights Fund (NARF)
Native American Rights Fund (NARF)

The event is finished.