Nicole E. Ducheneaux

1404 Fort Crook Road South
Bellevue, NE 68005
nducheneaux@bigfirelaw.com

TRIBAL AFFILIATION

Enrolled member Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe; First generation descendant Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation

EDUCATION

Bachelor’s Degree in U.S. History, Fort Lewis College (B.A. 2003)

Juris Doctor, University of Montana School of Law (J.D. 2007) – Intake Editor, Montana Law Review

BAR ADMISSIONS

Montana; Nebraska; United States Supreme Court; U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia; U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska; Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Court; Santee Sioux Tribal Court; Oglala Sioux Tribal Court; Gun Lake Tribal Court; Nisqually Indian Tribal Court, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Tribal Court; Little Traverse Band of Odawa Indians Tribal Court; Kickapoo Tribal Court

PRIOR LEGAL EXPERIENCE

Partner, Fredericks Peebles & Morgan (2015-2019); Associate, Fredericks Peebles & Morgan (2012-2015); Staff Attorney, Office of the Montana State Public Defender, Capital Defense Office (2011-2012); Staff Attorney, Office of the Montana State Public Defender (2008-2012); Judicial Clerk, The Honorable Brian M. Morris, Montana Supreme Court (2007-2008)

ASSOCIATIONS AND HONORS

Nebraska State Bar Association; Chairperson, Nebraska State Bar Association Indian Law Section; Montana State Bar Association; Montana State Bar Association Indian Law Section; Super Lawyers Great Plains Rising Star 2017 and 2018; National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) “Native American 40 under 40” award recipient (2016); Great Plains Editor, Federal Bar Association Indian law Newsletter (2013-2016); Award for Professional Excellence and Dedication to the Public Defenders Office, Montana Office of the Public Defender (2010)

LEGAL AUTHORSHIP

Implementing Diversity in State Bar Associations, ABA LAW PRACTICE TODAY (July 14, 2016) http://www.lawpracticetoday.org/article/implementing-diversity-state-bar-associations/; Smith v. Salish Kootenai College: Self-Determination as Governing Principle or Afterthought in Tribal Civil Jurisdiction Jurisprudence? 68 Mont. L. Rev. 211 (2007); Recent Decisions Affecting the Montana Practitioner: The Montana State Legislature’s Response to Columbia Falls Elementary School District No. v. State, 68 Mont. L. Rev. 211 (2007).

REPRESENTATIVE CASES

United States Supreme Court: Patchak v. Zinke, 138 S. Ct. 897 (2017) (affirming trust land acquisition for the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians under the Indian Reorganization Act).

U.S. Courts of Appeals: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 985 F.3d 1032 (D.C. Cir. 2021) (representing Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in decision upholding the district court’s decision that U.S. Army Corp’s of Engineers grant of permission to site Dakota Access Pipeline under Lake Oahe was arbitrary and capricious and remanding for environmental impact statement).

Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation et al. v. Mnuchin et al., 976 F.3d 15 (D.C. Cir. 2020) (representing Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in decision in which court held that Alaska Native Corporations are not “Indian Tribes” under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act such that they were not entitled to Coronavirus relief funds set aside for tribes).

Patchak v. Jewell, 828 F.3d 995 (D.C. Cir. 2016) (affirming trust land acquisition for the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians under the Indian Reorganization Act).

U.S. District Courts: Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, et al. v. Mnuchin, 456 F. Supp. 3d 152 (D.D.C. 2020) (representing Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in decision securing injunctive relief to prevent Alaska Native Corporations from receiving Coronavirus Relief Funds appropriated for tribal governments). 

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 471 F. Supp. 3d 71 (D.D.C.2020) (representing Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in decision holding that easement granting permission to Dakota Access Pipeline to construct oil pipeline on federal lands must be vacated).

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 440 F. Supp. 3d 1 (D.D.C. 2020) (representing Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in decision holding that U.S. Army Corp’s of Engineers grant of permission to site Dakota Access Pipeline under Lake Oahe was arbitrary and capricious and remanding for environmental impact statement). 

Dossett v. Ho-Chunk, Inc., 472 F. Supp. 3d 900 (D. Or. 2020) (representing tribally-owned news organization in decision dismissing defamation suit as news statements were protected speech).

HCI Distribution, Inc. v. Peterson, 360 F. Supp. 3d 910 (D. Neb. 2018) (representing tribal entity in decision holding that tribal entity had standing to challenge state regulation of on-reservation tobacco and denying state’s motion to dismiss).

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 255 F. Supp. 3d 101 (D.D.C. 2017) (representing Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in decision holding that U.S. Army Corp’s of Engineers grant of permission to site Dakota Access Pipeline under Lake Oahe was arbitrary and capricious for failure to consider inter alia Treaty hunting and fishing rights).

State Court: People v. Miami Nation Enterprises, 223 Cal. App. 4th 21, 166 Cal. Rptr. 3d 800 (Cal. App. 2014) (holding that tribal sovereign immunity protected tribal entity from state regulation of short-term internet lending).

PRACTICE AREAS

Ms. Ducheneaux practices primarily in the area of litigation.  She represents tribes and tribal entities in state, tribal, and federal courts, including state, tribal, and federal appellate courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.  Ms. Ducheneaux’s experience includes complex commercial litigation, federal regulatory litigation, and suits proceeding under the Administrative Procedures Act.  Substantive areas include Indian Country e-commerce, tribal sovereign immunity, tribal civil jurisdiction, administrative law, environmental law, religious freedom, matters involving tribal sovereign immunity from suit, tribal treaty rights, constitutional law, election law, land-into-trust, taxation, tobacco, and cases arising under the Indian Child Welfare Act.  Ms. Ducheneaux has experience coordinating concurrent federal civil regulatory litigation and federal criminal investigations on behalf of tribal entities.  Ms. Ducheneaux also has experience managing large e-discovery collections and productions in both civil and criminal matters. 

Recently, Ms. Ducheneaux has been lead litigation counsel for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (co-lead plaintiffs with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe) in the ongoing Dakota Access Pipeline litigation, which resulted in a significant victory on summary judgment on the issue of treaty rights in June 2017.  Ms. Ducheneaux was also on the team that represented the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Potawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe) in their 2017 victory in the U.S. Supreme Court in Patchak v. Zinke, 138 S.Ct. 897 (2017).

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