Jody Cummings advises clients on their most prominent natural resources and environmental issues, with an emphasis on representing American Indian tribes and entities conducting business in Indian country. Jody, former US Department of the Interior deputy solicitor for Indian Affairs and senior counselor to the solicitor in the Obama Administration, has a wealth of experience with Indian law and policy work. He provides valuable insights into the challenges of economic growth and business in Indian country.
Jody practiced at Steptoe for nearly 13 years before joining Interior in 2013. He represents clients on matters relating to natural resources development and land use, fee-to-trust issues, land exchanges, forestry, natural resources damages claims, and climate change initiatives. He also advises clients and litigates on various aspects of federal Indian law, including gaming, tribal recognition, religious freedoms, and environmental concerns. During his time at Interior, he provided legal counsel to the secretary of Interior and the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs. He managed an array of regulatory issues, including implementing rulemakings, agency decisions, and policy development in the areas of fee-to-trust acquisitions, Indian gaming, land use and resource development, protection of sacred sites, 638 contracting, and trust asset management. He led the Office of the Solicitor’s coordination on Indian affairs issues with other federal agencies, and managed Interior’s Indian affairs-related litigation.
Jody is an enrolled member in the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.
- District of Columbia
- J.D., Columbia Law School, 2000
- A.B., Duke University, 1997, History
- "Building Across Boundaries: Developing Energy Projects On Or Near Tribal Lands and Resources," Energy Bar Association's 2018 Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, May 7-8, 2018
- "Tribal lands Workgroup," NCAI Tribal Nations Policy Summit 115th Congress Executive Council, Washington, DC, February 12, 2018
- "A Review of the Part 151 Fee to Trust NPRM," United South & Eastern Tribes Winter Meeting, Washington, DC, February 6, 2018
- "A Review of the Proposed Restricted Fee Legislation (H.R. 215)," United South & Eastern Tribes Winter Meeting, Washington, DC, February 6, 2018
- "Tribal Leasing and Self-Governance Under the HEARTH Act," National Congress of American Indians, December 7, 2017
- "Policy and Legislation Updates," United South & Eastern Tribes Annual Meeting, Cherokee, NC, October 10, 2017
- "Evolving Federal Agency Interpretations of Tribal Sovereignty and the Federal Trust Responsibility," Special Institute on Indian Law and Natural Resources, Westminster, CO, September 26, 2017
News & Publications
April 30, 2019
By: Jody A. Cummings
April 11, 2019
February 14, 2018
February 7, 2018
October 30, 2017
By: Jody A. Cummings
- Deputy Solicitor for Indian Affairs, US Department of the Interior (2015-2017)
- Senior Counselor to the Solicitor, US Department of the Interior (2013-2015)