Michael Carter

Staff Attorney

Michael joined NARF as a Staff Attorney in 2021 and is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.  Michael’s current practice with NARF includes litigating on behalf of tribes and tribal members in the areas of elections, voting, and redistricting.  Michael has spent his career representing tribal governments, serving as in-house counsel for the Gila River Indian Community of Arizona, as well as representing tribes across the country as an associate at Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker LLP and as a partner at Patterson, Earnhart, Real Bird & Wilson LLP.

Michael has extensive knowledge and experience in a broad range of issues affecting tribal governments, including: tribal housing, education, public safety, tribal lands, contracts, litigation, construction, tribal code drafting, and many other areas.  Michael has also worked at the Department of Justice–Office of Tribal Justice as well as the American Indian Policy Institute, and has fought for the rights of victims as a tribal prosecutor.

Michael grew up in Oklahoma and west Texas. He enjoys playing basketball, hiking, and spending time with his wife and two children.

Tribal Affiliation

  • Enrolled, Citizen Potawatomi Nation


  • Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, J.D.
    National Native American Law Students Association,  ASU President’s Medal for Social Embeddedness, CALI Excellence for the Future Award – Indian Legal Clinic, Certificate in Indian Law
  • Texas Tech University, B.A. Anthropology

Admissions to Practice

  • Arizona, Oklahoma, U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, Gila River Indian Community Court, Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribal Court, Absentee Shawnee Tribal Court, Osage Nation Tribal Court, Ute Indian Tribal Court


  • Tribally-Driven Participatory Research: State of the Practice and Potential Strategies for the Future, Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 41-58 (Fall 2009). Co-authors: Dr. Patricia Mariella, Dr. Eddie Brown, Vanessa Verri.
  • Presentation: “Implementing the Expanded Jurisdiction Provisions of VAWA in our Tribal Courts,” Co-Hosted Webinar with the National Congress of the American Indians and the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, April 2013.
  • Presentation: “The Tribal Law and Order Act—Meeting the Challenges for Justice in Indian Country,” State Bar of Arizona Annual Convention, Phoenix, AZ, June 2013.


  • Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity
  • Charity Navigator: 3-Star Charity
  • Guidestar Transparency Seal