Steve Moore is a 1979 graduate of Colorado Law who began his legal career as a Vista Volunteer helping to establish the Indian Law Unit of Idaho Legal Services. In this capacity, he represented tribes and individual Indians in northern Idaho. Moore also represented the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Montana between 1981 and 1983. Moore joined the Native American Rights Fund in 1983 as a staff attorney, and has represented Indian tribes in asserting federal Indian reserved water rights; the protection of Native American sacred lands; the repatriation of human remains; the religious use of peyote and the protection of the Peyote Gardens in Texas; among other matters. For the past 25 years, his primary focus has been in the area of Indian reserved water rights. Moore has represented the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of California since 2012 in its precedent setting groundwater litigation.
In May 2016, Moore received an Honorary Order of the Coif award from his alma mater, Colorado Law, for his service to Indian Country and to the Indian Law Program at the law school. Moore is also the 2008 recipient of the Pierce-Hickerson Award from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association of Washington, D.C. The award honors outstanding contributions to the advancement and preservation of Native American rights. Moore also served on the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs from 1998 until 2013, and was involved in establishing the Indigenous Peacemaking Initiative at NARF a decade ago.
For the very reasons that religious freedom discourse is powerful, arguments made in its register, especially as they stretch the indeterminacy of religion in the directions of collective rights, should appropriately be on the table in Native peoples’ efforts to protect what is sacred to them.