Dennis Bear Don’t Walk

Billings, Montana
dbeardontwalk@bigfirelaw.com

TRIBAL AFFILIATION

Enrolled member of the Crow Tribe. First generation descendent of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. Descendent of the Oglala Lakota Oyate and Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe.

EDUCATION

Bachelor of Science in Psychology, minor in Philosophy & Religious Thought, Rocky Mountain College, Billings, Montana (2003)

Juris Doctor, Alexander Blewett, III School of Law, Missoula, Montana (2012)

BAR ADMISSIONS

State of Montana; Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; U.S. District Court for the District of Montana; Crow Tribal Court.

 

 

PRIOR LEGAL EXPERIENCE

Chief Judge, Crow Tribal Court-Head of the Judicial Branch of the Apsaalooke Nation, Crow Agency, Montana (2018-2021); Appellate Judge, Northern Cheyenne Appellate & Constitutional Court, Lame Deer, Montana (2015-2017); In-House Legal Counsel for the Crow Tribe-Executive Branch, Crow Agency, Montana (2014-2018); Associate Attorney, Elk River Law Offices, Billings, Montana (2013-2014); Contract Tribal Attorney, Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Lame Deer, Montana (2012); NAGPRA Summer Intern, National Park Service, U.S.-D.O.I., Little Bighorn Battlefield, Crow Agency, Montana (2010 & 2011)

ASSOCIATIONS AND HONORS

City of Billings Citizen Police Advisory Board, Member, (2022-2025); Montana State Bar, Indian Law Section Committee, Officer (2015-2018); Missoula Indian Center, Member of the Board of Directors (2012); University of Montana Law School Diversity Committee, Student Member (2010-2012); Squaxin Island Tribe Family Wellness Team, Co-chair (2008-2009); Maple Lane School Cultural Diversity Council, Co-chair (2007-2008); State of Montana Systems of Care Data Collection Committee, Member (2006); Whistling Water Coffee Shop, Board Chair (2005-2006); State of Montana Co-Occurring Policy Task Force, Member (2005-2006); Indian Health Service, Native American Chemical Dependency Directors Association, Chair and Vice-Chair (2004-2005)

PRACTICE AREAS

During his diverse career, Mr. Bear Don’t Walk has specialized in tribal housing matters, and helped clients develop a supportive housing complex for veterans, funded by low-income housing tax credits. Mr. Bear Don’t Walk has extensive experience in all aspects of tribal self-determination contracts with the B.I.A. and I.H.S., and has successfully resolved disputes related to such contracts, up to and including filing appeals to the Civilian Board of Contract Claims. As in-house counsel for the Crow Tribe, Mr. Bear Don’t Walk provided legal services related to a variety of matters, including tribal land leasing, energy development, natural resources, tribal regulation of activities occurring on the reservation, protection of historic and cultural properties, and drafting tribal legislation on such matters as wildlife preservation, business entities and regulations, tribal land use and zoning, budget bills, limited waivers of sovereign immunity, etc.  Finally, Mr. Bear Don’t Walk has a passion for educating the public about matters within his scope of expertise, and routinely educates attorneys via interviews, articles, and presentations at CLE trainings on such topics as tribal courts, tribal laws, differences and overlaps between tribal, state, federal law, victim services, support, and practicing in Tribal Courts.  He has also helped train B.I.A. social workers about tribal laws and tribal court processes and procedures, and often serves as a guest speaker at the Montana law school, educating first year law students about tribes, tribal laws, tribal courts, and representing tribal governments.

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