Joe Heath has been General Counsel for the Onondaga Nation since 1982 and an attorney since 1975. For the Nation, his work centers on environmental protection, particularly under the Clean Water Act, focusing on Onondaga Lake and Onondaga Creek; archeologic site and unmarked burial site protection; Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act repatriation and litigation; Indian Child Welfare Act litigation; hunting and fishing rights; treaty rights; excise tax issues; and land rights.
Joe researched the issues of fracking and shared his knowledge of the many different environmental dangers created by fracking with community groups for six (6) years. For four of those years, he also educated landowners on how to terminate their leases and manage the many questionable ways gas companies are seeking to extend old leases and he spoke to land owners in over 40 towns.
In addition to these current areas of work, Joe has extensive experience in civil rights litigation, as one of the four lawyer who represent the class action against NY state for the 1971 Attica prison assault and brutality; criminal defense; constitutional law and protection of free speech and assembly; protection of abused and neglected children; and fighting domestic violence.
Joe is also an active member of Veterans for Peace.