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Dan Press, General Counsel

CTIPP Honors Dan's Life and Legacy

For over 40 years, Dan provided legal and Washington representation assistance to Indian tribes, Indian organizations, and companies doing business with tribes.

Dan assisted tribes with strengthening their tribal governments by helping them develop and implement ordinances that exercise the tribe’s sovereign authority in such areas as employment rights and labor relations. He helped to establish a range of entities designed to promote economic development in Indian country, including creative use of the special 8(a) rights Congress has provided to tribes and the first multi-tribally owned financial institution. He also counseled tribes to obtain legislation awarding them hundreds of millions of dollars in land claims settlements, new health facilities, and new authority to promote employment on their reservations. He has special knowledge of Indian land issues, including rights of way and leases on Indian land and the unique legal issues that arise when doing business on reservations, and he assisted companies in negotiating various agreements with tribes regarding land use.

Dan used his years of experience working with tribes and private sector companies to assist his clients in developing productive business partnerships with tribes so that their projects could move forward quickly and cooperatively. He also assisted his clients with advocating before Congress for funds or new programs to help them strengthen their governments and their economic enterprises.

Dan litigated in tribal and federal courts on behalf of tribes and Indian businesses. Through his extensive knowledge of federal procurement law, he advised tribes and businesses on contract issues and represented them on such issues in the Court of Federal Claims.

Dan served as pro bono general counsel for two national organizations that assist communities in applying the science on the causes and effects of historical and childhood trauma to address social and health problems in their communities. The Roundtable on Native American Trauma-Informed Initiatives works to assist Native communities in implementing comprehensive trauma-informed initiatives, while the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice works at the federal, state, and community levels to encourage elected and agency officials to adopt policies that apply the science on trauma to the programs that address the effects of trauma, such as suicide, substance abuse, and domestic violence. It also educates local communities about the benefits of implementing comprehensive trauma-informed initiatives.


For six years until retiring in 2017, Dan was an adjunct professor at Columbia University, where he taught undergraduate courses on current issues facing Indian tribes, including Issues in Tribal Government and Native American Economic Development. He also co-taught an original course called The Holocaust and Genocide in America, examining these two genocidal events and how the United States government and the public have treated each in recent years.

In November 2018, Dan received the Public Advocacy Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies for "Outstanding and Fundamental Contributions to Advancing the Social Understanding of Trauma" and is the author of "A How-To Handbook on Creating Comprehensive, Integrated Trauma-Informed Initiatives in Native American Communities."

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