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Primary Member, Academia and Public Interest Groups, Royalty Policy Committee

Monte Mills was named as a primary member of the Department of the Interior’s Royalty Policy Committee, which will advise Secretary Ryan Zinke “on policy and strategies to improve management of the multi-billion dollar, federal and American Indian mineral revenue program.” Mills is one of the members representing “Academia and Public Interest Groups.”

Monte Mills received his B.A. from Lewis & Clark College in 1999 and his J.D. from the University of Colorado in 2003. From August 2003 to November 2005 he worked as an associate attorney for Durango law firm Maynes, Bradford, Shipps & Sheftel, LLP as part of a “unique two-year in-house attorney training program.” Next Mills, from November 2005 to June 2015, worked as “the Director of the Legal Department for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe in Colorado, an in-house counsel department that he helped organize and implement.” There he “represented and counseled the Tribe on a broad array of issues, including litigation in tribal, state and federal courts, legislative matters before the Colorado General Assembly and the United States Congress, and internal tribal matters such as contracting, code-drafting, and gaming issues.” Since August 2015, Mills has worked at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana as “an Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic.”

Source: [Department of Interior, Press Release, 09/01/17, Monte Mills, University of Montana, accessed 09/18/17, and Monte Mills CV, University of Montana, accessed 09/20/17]

Special Interests

Clark Fork Coalition (Protecting Public Lands)

Mills serves on the Board of the Clark Fork Coalition, a Missoula-based conservation organization that is "dedicated to protecting and restoring the Clark Fork River basin."

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Other Information

Monte Mills filed a brief in support of a Crow tribal member who “was found guilty by a Sheridan Circuit jury in April of illegally killing an elk on the Bighorn National Forest out of season.”

Monte Mills, along with two other “Indian law professors – Debra Donohue from the University of Wyoming and University of Montana” professor Maylinn Smith – filed a brief in support of Clayvin Herrera, a Crow tribal member who “was found guilty by a Sheridan Circuit jury in April of illegally killing an elk on the Bighorn National Forest out of season in January 2014. He was fined and ordered to pay costs of $8,080, received a suspended jail sentence and had his hunting privileges suspended for three years.” Herrera was also “cited in 2015 for poaching elk south of the Crow Reservation in Wyoming. Although convicted of poaching in April [2016], Herrera’s attorney has appealed the decision.”

“‘The issues raised in this appeal have impact well beyond the confines of this case, as the interpretation of Indian treaties, and the rights reserved therein, are matters of constitutional import central to federal Indian law,’ the motion stated. The motion further argued that no court has established that Congress intended to repeal the treaty hunting right.” [Brett French, “Court to hear Crow tribal member’s illegal elk kill appeal,” The Billings Gazette, 12/03/16]

Monte Mills called the federal government’s appeal to “voluntarily pause” the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline “a major victory for Native Americans in a ‘cultural and historical context.'”

Mills believed that, “‘the way Indian Country came together to support Standing Rock'” was “‘really… powerful.'” [James MacPherson, “Federal intervention on oil pipeline project unprecedented,” Associated Press, 09/10/16]