Monday, December 31, 2007

Tribal Court Trial Skills College

Tribal Court Trial Skills College
March 9-11, 2008
Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
Arizona State University

Advocate Training. Contact Sonia Reyna for more information (480) 727-0420

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Job: San Manuel Law Office

AStaff Attorney position at San Manuel has now been posted and can be found here:*156D1247E33A9AA0

The job description is below. Applicants must complete the online application to be considered for the position.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

IGRA 20th Anniversary Conference -- October 16-17, 2008

The Indian Legal Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, American Indian Policy Institute at ASU, American Indian Law Center, Inc., Native Nations Law and Policy Center at University of California, Los Angeles, National Congress of American Indians, National Indian Gaming Association, Arizona Indian Gaming Association, and the New Mexico Indian Gaming Association are pleased to announce a conference to commemorate and celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the enactment of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The Conference entitled Indian Country's Winning Hand: 20 Years of IGRA will be held on October 16-17, 2008 at the Ft McDowell Yavapai Nation's Radisson Fort McDowell Resort & Casino in Scottsdale/Fountain Hills, Arizona.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

7:00 – 8:00 am Registration

8:00 – 8:45 am Welcome and Introduction

8:45 – 10:20 am A History of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act

10:20 – 10:45 am Break

10:45 – 12:15 pm Federal Implementation of IGRA: The National Indian Gaming Commission, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of Justice

12:15 – 2:00 pm Keynote Luncheon

2:00 – 3:30 pm Class III Gaming Compacts and the Impact of Indian Gaming on TribalState Relations

3:30 – 3:50 pm Break

3:50 – 5:30 pm Class III Gaming Compacts and the Impact of Indian Gaming on Tribal-State Relations

6:30 – 8:30 pm Pathbreaker’s Banquet (Courtyard Plaza)

Friday, October 17, 2008

7:30 – 8:30 am Check-In

8:30 – 10:00 am The Economic Impacts of Indian Gaming

10:00 – 10:20 am Break

10:20 – 12:15 pm Indian Gaming’s Impact on the Tribes

12:15 – 2:00 pm Keynote Luncheon

2:00 – 3:15 pm Indian Gaming and the Federal-Tribal Relationship

3:15 – 3:30 pm Break

3:30 – 5:30 pm Where Does Indian Gaming Go From Here?

Confirmed Speakers: (listed alphabetically)

  • Allison Binney (tentative)

  • Dr. Eddie Brown

  • Robert N. Clinton

  • Philip S. Deloria

  • Howard Dickstein, Esq.

  • Franklin Ducheneaux

  • Eric D. Eberhard

  • Larry Echohawk

  • Shawn Ellis

  • Diane G. Enos

  • Franklin Ettawageshik

  • Glenn M. Feldman

  • Matthew L.M. Fletcher

  • Thomas F. Gede

  • Carole E. Goldberg

  • Kevin Gover

  • Stephen M. Hart

  • Jacqueline Johnson

  • Joseph P. Kalt

  • Dan Kolkey

  • Thomas L. LeClaire

  • Steven Andrew Light

  • Arlinda Locklear

  • Michael Lombardi

  • Deron Marquez

  • Heidi McNeil Staudenmaier

  • Kathryn R.L. Rand

  • G. William Rice

  • Fawn Sharp

  • Jim Shore (tentative)

  • Alexander Tallchief Skibine

  • George Skibine

  • Kate Spilde Contreras. Ph. D.

  • Jonathan Taylor

  • Rebecca Tsosie

  • Mark Van Norman

  • Kevin Washburn

  • Richard West

  • Dr. Peterson Zah

Others who have been or are being invited,

not yet confirmed.

Carl J. Artman

Raphael Bear

Melanie Benjamin

Joe A. Garcia

Philip N. Hogen

Mark Macarro

Richard M. Milanovich

Raymond G. Sanchez

Ernest L. Stevens, Jr.

Kimberly Teehee

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

JOB: Executive Director, OGDL Navajo Nation

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of Office of Government Development/Legislative


DATES 12/10/07 - 12/21/07

Knowledge of the Local Governance Act, Ethics in Government Law and Title II of the Navajo Nation Code. Knowledge of budgeting, goal setting, performance measure development, and fiscal management; skilled in contract drafting, management, procurement, compliance and enforcement; skilled in organizing, planning, and supervising; skilled in managing and directing
staff, maintaining open and effective communication, and employee rights and grievance procedures; skilled in researching, interpreting and analyzing a variety of legal documents; skilled in collection, analysis and evaluation of information to arrive at sound conclusions and recommendations; ability to forge effective working relationships with Council Delegates, Chapter Officials and staff, and the Navajo public; excellent public speaking skills and writing skills mandatory.

Directs an office engaged in complex governmental matters that may be highly political and impact the overall Nation; works under oversight of the Commission on Navajo Government Development and make regular reports to the Commission and Navajo Nation Council and/or Committees; prepares legislation, resolutions, policies; contracts and correspondence; explains
Navajo law and policies affecting the chapter governments; and conducts a significant amount of public education and speaking, preferably in Navajo. May involve review of small to medium size grants for chapter governments.

A Master's degree in Public Administration, Business Administration or a related field; and
eight (8) years of adminstrative or management experience, which must include six (6) years of supervisory experience, or an equivalent combination of education, training and experience which provides the capabilities to perform the described duties.

Monday, December 17, 2007

JOB: Law Office of Schaff & Clark-Deschene LLC


TITLE: Paralegal or Attorney, Law Office of Schaff & Clark-Deschene, LLC

HOURS: Full Time

SALARY: Negotiable

Provide legal support regarding matters under tribal law, and in particular, matters involving enterprises of the Navajo Nation. Provide legal support regarding tribal governing laws and other authorities and related policies and procedures of the enterprise, including personnel policies and procedures and other internal policies and procedures of the enterprise. Provide negotiation support with regard to the above matters. Provide litigation services and/or support with regard to the above matters as those matters are litigated in tribal courts, and litigation support as the above matters are litigated in other jurisdictions. Remain advised and informed on matters impacting tribal energy projects and other industries as they may impact the tribal enterprise. Coordinate, in conjunction with the tribal enterprise, the work done by other attorneys and consultants under contract with the tribal enterprise. Provide project support and research services to the tribal enterprise as well as other in-house related legal services as are requested by the tribal enterprise. Travel required.

Desirable candidates will have paralegal training or a J.D. and two or more years of related experience with practice in the following areas: federal Indian law, energy and natural resources law, economic development, land use, government affairs, and/or litigation matters affecting not only tribes, but also non-Indian developers seeking to enter into relationship with tribal governments. Must reside in or near Window Rock, Arizona, have reliable transportation, and understand Navajo.

For attorneys, prefer state and Navajo Nation bar certification. Demonstrate self-reliance and willing to take initiative to accomplish project goals.

CLOSING DATE: Open Until Filled

In accordance with the Indian Preference Regulations, preference is given to American Indians. To claim American Indian preference, a copy of tribal affiliation must be submitted with resume.

Resumes and tribal affiliation records should be emailed to
The Law Offices of Schaff & Clark Deschene, LLC is an Equal Opportunity Employer
Emails Only Please- we will call candidates who appear qualified for the position. Our firm resume available to you upon request. Thank you.

Washburn public Lecture

American Indians, Crime, and the Law:
Five Years of Scholarship on Criminal Justice in Indian Country

William C. Canby Distinguished Scholar in Residence Lecture

Presented by Kevin K. Washburn

Introduction by the Honorable William C. Canby, Sr. Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Commentary by Diane J. Humetewa, U.S. Attorney for Arizona and Jon M. Sands, Federal Public Defender for the District of Arizona.

Reception will follow. If you plan to attend, we would appreciate if you registered at no charge. Thank You.

Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law – Great Hall

McAllister Avenue & Terrace Road, Tempe, AZ 85287-7906

January 24, 2008

4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Professor Kevin K. Washburn teaches administrative law, gaming law, American Indian law, and other courses at the University of Minnesota Law School. Professor Washburn earned his law degree from the Yale Law School in 1993, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Journal on Regulation. Following law school, Professor Washburn clerked for Judge William C. Canby, Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Professor Washburn began his career with the United States Department of Justice, litigating cases involving Indian tribes, mostly in the context of environmental and natural resources law, in federal district and appellate courts throughout the Western United States. He also worked as a federal prosecutor in New Mexico, where he prosecuted (primarily) violent crimes arising in Indian country. In 2000, Professor Washburn became the General Counsel of the National Indian Gaming Commission, the independent federal regulatory agency that regulates Indian gaming nationwide. He served in that role until he joined the University of Minnesota Law School in the Fall of 2002. Professor Washburn is an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. During the 2007-08 school year he is serving as the Onedia Nation Visiting Associate Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where he is taching gaming law, first year criminal law and American Indian law.

Alumna confirmed as US Attorney

Alumna confirmed as U.S. Attorney

Diane J. Humetewa, a 1993 graduate of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, was confirmed late Thursday by the U.S. Senate as Arizona's next U.S. Attorney. Humetewa, a member of the Hopi tribe, is the first Native American appointed to the position. Humetewa has been the senior litigation counsel and tribal liaison in the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office and serves as an appellate court judge for the Hopi Tribal Court.

Patricia White, dean of the College of Law, praised Humetewa. "She will bring professionalism, experience and a caring sensitivity to this position," White said. "She will carry on the strong tradition of excellent U.S. Attorneys for Arizona, including her immediate predecessor Paul Charlton, his predecessor Jose Rivera, and his predecessor Janet Napolitano. They all brought exceptional talent and professionalism to the post. This is the tradition that Diane Humetewa inherits and will continue."

Rebecca Tsosie, executive director of the Indian Legal Program, said Humetewa is an excellent choice. "Diane Humetewa has outstanding academic credentials and extensive experience as a prosecutor," Tsosie said. "I cannot think of another person who has Diane’s depth and range of experience as a federal prosecutor and her familiarity with the many programs encompassed within the U.S. attorney’s office. "I cannot think of another individual who has the same combination of intellectual brilliance, outstanding lawyering skills, impeccable judgment, high ethical standards, commitment to professionalism, and the ability to build consensus and understanding among diverse groups. Diane Humetewa will be an excellent U.S. Attorney for the state of Arizona, the Native Nations within the southwest, and for the entire country."

Humetewa, who served as a counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs from August 1993 to March 1996, when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was chairman of the panel, has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney for six U.S. Attorneys. She was recommended for the nomination by Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and McCain to fill the position vacated by Paul Charlton, one of eight U.S. attorneys ousted in a controversial purge of the Justice Department.

Daniel Knauss has served as the interim U.S. attorney since January. "I congratulate Diane Humetewa on her confirmation today as the new U.S. Attorney for Arizona," Kyl said in a statement. "Her background as a prosecutor, crime-victims advocate, and years of public service made her an outstanding nominee and will serve her well in this important position."

McCain praised Humetewa in his nomination. "Diane has demonstrated a devotion to public service and commitment to justice, and I believe she is uniquely qualified to address legal issues in the state of Arizona," McCain said in a statement released on Thursday. "During my chairmanship on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee I had the opportunity to work with Diane and witness her dedication to serving Americans, commitment to justice and incredible work ethic. "These qualities will serve her well as the next U.S. Attorney for Arizona."

Charlton told The Arizona Republic earlier this year that he and Humetewa had discussed the job, and he feels she is a "perfect fit." "I tried a case with Diane about 10 years ago, and it was there that I saw this extraordinary combination of outstanding prosecutor and an individual with a clear moral compass who understood what was right and demonstrated good judgment consistently," Charlton said. "One of the qualities you need to be a U.S. attorney in Arizona is to have a great deal of sensitivity to issues in Indian country, and no one has been better able to exemplify that than Diane."

JOB: Sisseton-Wahpeton OGC


Job Description
The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation is looking for a licensed full-time, on site, attorney to serve in the Office of General Counsel at Agency Village, South Dakota 57262.

Legal Representation Duties and Responsibilities
The attorney will provide attorney services to the Tribe and its entities in all legal matters including any necessary litigation in federal, state and tribal courts. The legal work involves employment, gaming, land, corporate, and contractual issues and other Indian law issues.

Applicant must possess a Juris Doctorate degree from an ABA accredited law school and must be currently admitted to practice law before any state court or obtain admittance to practice law in South Dakota by sitting for the next available examination by the South Dakota Board of Bar Examiners upon hire. If applicant’s graduated after June 1, 2005, applicant’s law school transcript must be submitted. Applicants must have a minimum of 1 year of experience in Indian law. The attorney must pass the South Dakota bar within 15 months and become a member of the Federal Bar in South Dakota within 15 months from date of hire.

Compensation and Application Process
Applicants must submit a cover letter, resume, and a writing sample. All applicants may submit their information by mail, facsimile, or electronic mail to the following person:

Karen Bianas, Human Resources Director
Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate
Box 509
Agency Village, SD 57262
605-698-3055 Facsimile

Please submit a copy of the application documents to Brenda J. Bellonger, via Tribal Attorney’s email:, or mailed to: Mrs. Bellonger, Esq., Office of General Counsel, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, P.O. Box 509, Agency Village, SD 57262.

All questions should be directed to Brenda J. Bellonger, Tribal Attorney at 605-698-3911 Ext. 206, Fax: 605-698-7844, Cell: 605-237-4101 or email: Salary is negotiable and is based upon level of experience.

Open until January 25, 2007.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Article on Joseph Flies Away

TOUGH BENCHU.S. Indian Tribal JudgesGrapple With Legal Limits
Mr. Flies-Away's CourtOffers Second Chances;Admonishing Valentino
By GARY FIELDSDecember 12, 2007; Page A1

PEACH SPRINGS, Ariz. -- Judge Joseph Thomas Flies-Away, a graduate of Stanford and Harvard, is a national expert on Indian tribal law. But here in the Hualapai tribe's court, a small, windowless room fashioned out of a converted kitchen, he seems more like a social worker.
"Valentino, you were just here. Now you're here again?" asked the judge during a recent session. Mr. Flies-Away had known Valentino Washington and his family for years. Now, the 18-year-old was facing jail after assaulting his mother and sister in a drunken rage -- as well as for not paying a previous fine. Unlike courts elsewhere in the U.S., the tribal reservation system doesn't guarantee all Native Americans the right to defense counsel. So Mr. Washington sat alone, a situation that softened the judge's usual businesslike demeanor.

After reprimanding the teen for his behavior, Judge Flies-Away ordered him to perform community service. Mr. Washington was puzzled as to what that meant.

"You go and clean somebody's yard. You wash cars. You go work with the elderly," the judge explained. Mr. Washington will remain in jail until the fine has been paid in labor. "Valentino, you might be in there a while," said the judge, his low voice tinged with both sadness and resignation.
In this separate justice system crippled by arcane laws and decades of federal neglect, Mr. Flies-Away, a 42-year-old Hualapai Indian, is trying to make a difference. He frequently ministers to defendants from the bench, taking on the dual role of judge and adviser. He has pushed for harsher penalties for repeat offenders, and has clashed with federal authorities when they impinge on tribal business. He helped create the corporation that runs the tribe's various businesses, sat on its council and has twice been tapped as chief judge.


Fixing Tribal Justice: Attempts to unravel its jurisdictional complexities
Tribal Justice, U.S. Courts Often at Odds: More Articles

Mr. Flies-Away walks with his shoulders drawn forward and doesn't smile much. He can't think of many success stories in this world, where his fellow tribe members are plagued by alcoholism, methamphetamine abuse and domestic violence. But the idea of leaving the reservation and returning to the elite precincts where he was educated runs counter to his sense of duty.

'My People, My Relatives'
"These are my people, my relatives," Mr. Flies-Away says. "So despite the hardships and problems, there is also family, joy and possibility. I have to keep thinking that or I might go off the deep end."

The hundreds of judges who serve the nation's 275 tribal court systems bring strengths and weaknesses -- and a world of diversity -- to the bench. They range from tribal council members without college educations to white law professors with impeccable résumés. No matter their credentials, the obstacles they face are formidable.

Some tribes are too poor to hire public defenders. Simple matters, such as who has the power to make arrests, are not always easily solved. And tribal courts -- which also rely on their own prosecutors -- have limited powers to mete out sentences.

Lacking counsel, some defendants enter guilty pleas almost by default. Victims can suffer as well, since federal prosecutors take only a minority of cases. Another flaw of the system: If a crime is committed by a non-Indian, the tribes are virtually powerless, as their limited jurisdiction generally doesn't allow them to prosecute outsiders. By contrast, if a tribe member commits a crime off the reservation, some states can use past tribal convictions to augment a new sentence.

A number of piecemeal efforts have sought to unravel such complexities. U.S. attorneys in several states, including Oklahoma, Michigan and North Carolina, have assigned federal prosecutors to focus on tribal crime in a bid to ensure that cases don't fall through the cracks. Nationally, the Federal Bar Association is pushing Congress to relax sentence restrictions imposed by the Indian Civil Rights Act and to give tribal courts broader jurisdiction. South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune has introduced a bill to give federal prosecutors funding specifically for pursuing crimes in Indian lands.

"You're not apprehending people, and if you catch them, they're not being prosecuted, or if they are being prosecuted, they aren't spending any amount of time in jail," Sen. Thune says. "There is a federal role and responsibility."

Until these potential fixes are in place, much of the procedural burden falls to judges like Mr. Flies-Away.

The Hualapai reservation sits on about one million acres along the Grand Canyon. The tribe, also known as the "People of the Tall Pines," is best known for tourism. One attraction: a new transparent skywalk suspended 4,000 feet above the canyon.

Yet tribe members are poor. About half the adults in the 2,300-member tribe are unemployed. A third of all members live below the poverty line, supported by family members and a patchwork of tribal and federal programs.

Peach Springs, the tribe's capital, with a population of 1,800, is split by the famed Route 66. Much of the traffic is gone now, taken by interstate highways. It doesn't even have a gas station. There's little in the way of activity, aside from the milelong Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight trains, which rumble through town every 20 minutes, forcing the lone hotel, the Hualapai Lodge, to give earplugs to patrons.

Mr. Flies-Away was raised on the reservation, where the impact of drugs and alcohol has taken a toll on his own family. Four of his mother's 11 siblings drank themselves to death or committed suicide, he says. One uncle hanged himself in jail.

Intense and studious for much of his life, Mr. Flies-Away earned a scholarship to study at Stanford University. After graduating in 1989, he returned here to teach seventh grade. Eventually he became involved in tribal government, first as a planner who developed proposals for economic growth and revitalization of the tribe.

He left again for law school but quit his studies after a year when tribal elders asked him to become chief judge. After one term on the bench, he headed off to Cambridge, Mass., to study at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. From there, he went to Arizona State University, where he received his law degree.

He could have joined a private firm and earned "more money," as he still recalls. Instead, a sense of obligation led him back to the reservation in 2006, when he became the first chief judge of the tribal court with a law degree. Mr. Flies-Away is now in the middle of a two-year term.
His court calendar is a full one. Aggravated assaults are some of the major crimes; baseball bats and knives are the weapons of choice.

Although it has only 2,300 members, the tribe handles about 1,000 criminal cases annually. The judge says the high number stems mostly from recidivists. Federal law permits him to hand down a maximum sentence of one year per charge, even for the most heinous of crimes such as rape. Jail overcrowding leaves free some of the criminals he'd like to lock up. The result: Those people often commit new crimes.

Mr. Flies-Away typically arrives at the court about 7 a.m. and puts in an 11-hour day. The judge, who is divorced and has no children, spends much of his time building his administration or helping other tribes develop their systems. His office is small and crowded with papers and books such as "Federal Rules of Evidence."

Not shy to controversy, the judge has challenged some of the tribes' cherished legal prerogatives, such as their protection against civil suits. Indian nations, by law, are effectively sovereign governments. As such, they can assert immunity against lawsuits. That quirk has created tensions with non-Indians as some tribes build vast commercial enterprises, including casinos. The judge, in his rulings, has opposed such a blanket immunity.

Daily Grind
On a recent typical day, Judge Flies-Away headed to court for the afternoon session. Everyone stood as he entered the courtroom. The judge wore a black ribbon shirt, traditional American-Indian garb, instead of the black robe that some other judges prefer. "If I wear that robe I might as well put on a white wig, too," he says.

Although the docket was filled only with arraignments -- short procedures where defendants enter pleas -- Mr. Flies-Away stayed for hours.

In Judge Flies-Away's courtroom, some defendants actually prefer to take their chances solo, relying on the judge's sideline counsel.

Appearing first before the judge was Kermit Marshall. The 21-year-old was accused of attacking his parents, lunging through the window of a car to punch his father and choke his mother. He already had three past assault convictions. The latest infraction, then, exposed him to the tribe's maximum penalty: one year per charge. That also happens to be the maximum penalty Congress says a tribal court judge can hand down. To lengthen potential jail time, some tribes file multiple charges for each crime committed.

As Mr. Flies-Away began, Mr. Marshall quickly pleaded guilty to the battery and domestic-violence charges against him. The judge slowed the proceedings as he explained the ramifications of a guilty plea -- several times.

"You have the right to be represented by the office of the public defender. You have the right to call witnesses and you have the right to question the witnesses against you," he said. "You understand this? I really want you to understand. You have to know what you're doing."
Mr. Marshall stood by the guilty plea. He has since been sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to undergo domestic-violence counseling.

Overriding Orders
The local jail, which sits just about 50 yards from the courtroom, is not under tribal control. It is run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the federal agency that oversees certain tribal issues such as schools. Even though the facility houses criminals Mr. Flies-Away has sentenced, it is not bound by his, or any tribal judge's rulings or detention orders. In some cases, BIA officials can essentially override the judge's orders by releasing inmates early -- often for lack of space.
"It's tough to have a good justice system without good detention," says Mr. Flies-Away.
Joel Querta, 58, who worked for the tribe's natural-resources department, also pleaded guilty to a charge -- drunken driving -- without speaking to a defense advocate. It was his second conviction on the charge. Mr. Flies-Away sentenced Mr. Querta to 45 days in jail. But given that years had passed since Mr. Querta's last brush with the law, he took the liberty of suspending the jail sentence. In the end, he fined Mr. Querta $200.

He asked Mr. Querta if that was agreeable. The defendant said he didn't know. For several minutes, the judge tried to explain that Mr. Querta wasn't going to jail. Another defendant, meanwhile, leaned over and whispered to Mr. Querta that he was getting a good deal. Finally the older man looked at the bench and said, "I'm quite satisfied" with the sentence.

The next defendant, Todd Watahomigie, 20, was well known to the judge, a situation common on tightknit tribal reservations.

He was in court as a fugitive, accused of slashing his mother's face with a knife in March 2006. When he failed to appear for a hearing later that year, authorities put out a warrant for his arrest but had been unable to locate him because he had no valid address. "You are a hard man to find," the judge said.

The defendant told the judge he needed to be released. "I'm trying to get a job. I need to work because I have a medical bill to pay," he said.

The judge was skeptical. Compounding Mr. Watahomigie's problems, Mr. Flies-Away was well versed in the social services available on the reservation, having been instrumental in obtaining them.

He peppered his charge with questions. "What have you been doing for the last year? Why haven't you been working and why do you have a medical bill? Why are you paying for treatment? You can go over to Indian Health Services and they will handle it and pay for it."
The young man gave up making excuses when the judge suggested having the court check out his claims. Mr. Flies-Away set bail at $900, a figure that he knew was too high for Mr. Watahomigie to pay. After being locked up for weeks, he was recently released under home detention by another judge.

The most difficult case of the afternoon was Valentino Washington's. The judge has known the teen since he was a small boy, when Mr. Flies-Away placed him in protective custody after his alcohol-abusing mother neglected him. He landed here on a bench warrant for failing to pay a $500 fine he incurred for underage drinking. In the interim, between the imposition of the fine and this court hearing, he picked up charges for disorderly conduct, domestic violence and battery.

Years earlier, Mr. Washington had received a settlement of several thousand dollars after being hit in a car accident. Yet he said he couldn't satisfy the $500 fine because his mother controls his money and she refused to pay it.

"You trust her with your money?" the judge asked.
"No," replied Mr. Washington.
"That's telling," retorted Mr. Flies-Away. To make up for the overdue payment, the judge imposed community service.

Mr. Washington had watched others enter pleas during the day and listened to the judge explain the proceedings. He pleaded no contest to the new assault charges against him, acknowledging that they were true.

According to court documents, Mr. Washington was drunk at a family member's home when he threw a television to the floor and began yanking it apart. As his sister tried to stop him, he attacked her, then his mother.

Judge Flies-Away repeated what he had told other defendants -- about the right to hear witnesses, be represented by defense advocates and call witnesses on his behalf -- before setting sentencing. Weeks later, Mr. Washington was in detention awaiting transfer to a rehabilitation program.

After the defendants left, Mr. Flies-Away sat quietly on the bench. "I've dealt with him a long time. I had him as a child, as a juvenile and now as a young adult. It's sad," he said of Mr. Washington. "Todd and Valentino, they weren't raised by anyone. I wish I had the facilities to send them to, where they could think about their problems and get to the root of those problems....I'm afraid how this will end for them."

A Positive Outcome
Back in his office, the judge struggled to remember a case with a positive outcome. He decided on Catherine Querta. He had known Ms. Querta, an alcoholic, since the tribe operated a wellness court, which was designed to divert defendants into treatment and away from jail. Although it disbanded after federal grant money dried up, Ms. Querta, 38, continued to receive some counseling. She found a job with the tribe and was a hard worker. "She tried," the judge recalls.
In October, Ms. Querta was heading back to Peach Springs on foot along Route 66 when a car struck her. She was killed. Tribal authorities say she was intoxicated at the time.

"People think that as a judge I love this job, but I'd rather not deal with any of it," says Mr. Flies-Away. "There is much sadness." He feels compelled to stay, he says, in order to help empower his fellow tribe members.

"One time my grandma said to me, 'You take care of them' I have done so."

Monday, December 10, 2007

JOBS: Ho-Chunk Tribal Court

Contact: Nicole M. Homer
Employer: Ho-Chunk Nation Trial Court
Address1: P.O. Box 70
CityStateZip: Black River Falls, WI 54615
Phone: 715-284-2722
Fax: 715-284-3136
AcceptingCalls: Yes
JobTitle: Judicial Law Clerk
Salary: 50,000
Hours: 40/week

SubmitOther: The Ho-Chunk Nation Judiciary instituted the law clerk program shortly after its establishment in 1995. The Judiciary employs two law clerks for staggered terms of two years beginning on or around July 1. Several recent law school graduates have participated in the program since its inception, and many of those individuals currently practice and/or teach in the area of Indian law. The intention of the program is to provide a starting attorney with the necessary foundation to ably continue in this regard.

SALARY: $50,000 / yr. or $24.03/ hr.

1. Legal research and drafting of memoranda for Trial Court Judges
and Supreme Court Justices on questions of law.
2. Research legal issues identified by the Chief Judge, Associate Judges and Supreme Court Justice and prepare written memoranda, draft opinions and bench memos as directed.
3. Compile case law and make it available to users of the HCN Court System.
4. Field questions from court users and design court forms as needed.
5. Responsible for editing monthly Court bulletins, maintains opinion summaries and law library.
6. Maintain and advise on updates to the law library.
7. Coordinate HCN Law Day and maintain records necessary for CLE accreditation with State Bar of Wisconsin.
8. Coordinate HCN Bar Admission for the HCN Supreme Court and occasionally assist in drafting and issuing various Court Rules.
9. Must assist with Lay Advocate Training.
10. Responsible to work with minimal supervision and exercise their independent legal evaluation throughout the workday.
11. Other duties as assigned by supervisor.

1. Graduation from an accredited law school.
2. Strong research and writing skills.
3. Strong word processing and computer research skills including familiarity with INTERNET access.
4. Demonstrated interest in and familiarity with Tribal and Federal Indian Law.
5. Fluency in Ho-Chunk Language desired but not required.
6. Preference to members of the Ho-Chunk Nation, other Native Americans.
7. Valid driver's license, dependable transportation and proper insurance, is required.

SendBy: Mail
Deadline: 12/31/2007

Cherese McLain - New Position

Cherese McLain('06) has recently joined the Echohawk Law Offices in Pocatello, Idaho. Congrats Cherese!

Elizabeth Cheney - New Position

Elizabeth Cheney ('05) has moved back to Alaska. She is now the Policy Analyst & Planner for Legal & Intergovernmental Affairs for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.

JOB: Presiding Judge Kalispel Tribal Court

Dept: Kalispel Tribal Court
Appointed By: Tribal Council – 3 Year Term
Grade: S
Average hours per week: 32
FLSA status: Exempt
Approved by:
Approval date:

Summary of Functions

The Presiding Judge serves as the head of the Tribal Court, overseeing court operations and the disposition of cases. The Presiding Judge ensures the impartial administration of justice and discharges duties in accordance with the Kalispel Tribal Constitution, laws, codes, ordinances and regulations. Chairs internal judges’ meetings and serves as liaison to the Tribal Business Committee (KBC) on judicial concerns.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Fairly and impartially hears and decides judicial matters within the jurisdiction of the Kalispel Tribal Court (Court), pursuant to the Kalispel Tribal Constitution, Tribal Codes and the policies and procedures of the Court.
Supervises and oversees Court operations, including the assignment of cases to traditional or associate judges as appropriate, case management and the timeliness of decisions.
Hears and decides all type of cases filed in the Court, including but not limited to, criminal, traffic, civil, juvenile and child welfare cases.
Reviews case files and pleadings; presides at pre-conferences, hearings and trials; conducts legal research and writes decisions; issues search and seizure warrants, arrest warrants and court orders, including orders of protection.
Assists the Court Administrator to set the Court docket, to develop and manage the Court budget, and to develop and manage Court programs and grants.
Ensures the availability of judges by phone; 24 hours per day / 365 days per year, to hear requests for extradition warrants, search warrants, bench warrants and other orders of an immediate nature.
Applies fair concepts and procedures of justice, including working closely with the Chief (traditional) Judge, and Associate Judge to incorporate the principles of Kalispel Tribal traditions and culture.
Assists with the development of alternate dispositions for juvenile cases, with the development of alternative dispute resolution procedures and the development of Kalispel Tribal common law.
Oversees the development of rules of evidence, bench book, and civil and criminal procedures.
Ensures the establishment of contracts for jail and detention facilities, and the establishment of full faith and credit agreements with state and tribal courts.
Ensures the maintenance of a court record system and oversees maintenance of the Court library.
Keeps current on laws and issues that impact the Court, to include continuing legal and judicial education, and makes recommendations to the Kalispel Business Committee for amendments or adoption of laws to improve the tribal legal & judicial system.
Serves as an advocate and educator for the Kalispel Tribal Court System within the Tribe as well as locally, regionally and nationally.
Professionally represents the Tribe in negotiation or mediation sessions, public and private meetings, and at consultations or conferences.
Participates in local, regional and national professional associations.

Additional Functions
Additional duties as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibilities

The incumbent directly supervises the Court Administrator (may also supervise other Court staff) in accordance with the Tribe’s policies, procedures and applicable law. Other responsibilities included are interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; and addressing complaints and resolving problems.

Education, Experience and Skills Required:

A Juris Doctorate degree from an accredited law school is required.
A minimum of ten years experience as a practicing attorney and a minimum of five years of judicial experience or a combination thereof is required.
Demonstrated knowledge of Tribal, Federal, and State laws, of the Tribal Court legal process and working knowledge of tribal codes, traditions and customs is required.
Demonstrated knowledge of legal practices and standards, and court procedures.
Must be fully conversant in the complexities of criminal and civil law in general; and in the complexities of both statutory and case law of federal Indian law in particular.
Experience as a tribal judge and/or practice in the field of Indian Law and sovereignty is preferred.
Possess strong management, supervisory and administrative skills.
Have experience that demonstrates the ability to make judgments in an independent, responsible and impartial manner.
Possess excellent decision-making capabilities and dispute resolution skills, including the ability to deal well with emotionally charged and/or adversarial situations.
Have excellent communication skills, both oral and written.
Must possess a good understanding of the needs and vision of the Kalispel Tribe.
Ability to of tactfully handle culturally sensitive issues.
Must be able to work effectively with elected Tribal leaders, officials and the general public.
No convictions of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.
Must pass pre-employment background check and drug and alcohol screening.

Certificates, Licenses, Regulatory Requirements

Must be licensed in the state of Washington to practice law.
Valid WA or ID Driver’s License and insurability under the Tribe’s auto policy.

Work Environment

This position is performed primarily in an office environment. Significant portions of the job require extended sedentary periods; regular work with computers and repetitive motion of hands and wrists.

This position requires the ability to bend, stoop, lift, carry, and move items weighting up to _25__ pounds and requires occasional standing or walking.

This position requires occasional local and out of town travel.
This position occasionally requires work to be performed outside general business hours, including evening or weekend sessions, meetings/travel.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Greetings NABA-AZ Members-

Please mark your calendars for the following dates:

  • January 11, 2008 - NABA-AZ Planning Meeting at the ASU Law Library 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
  • February 28, 2008 - NABA-AZ Introductory Reception at the University Club

Additional information will be sent out closer to each event. Hope to see you there!

Wishing you and your families a Happy Holiday Season!

Kerry Patterson, Esq.
Fennemore Craig, P.C.
3003 North Central Avenue, Suite 2600
Phoenix, Arizona 85012
Phone: 602-916-5491
Facsimile: 602-916-5691

Monday, December 03, 2007

New Course to help students with Bar Exam

A new course designed to help law students improve their performance on the Arizona Bar Exam has been organized for next semester by Professor Michael Berch of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.

Passage of the grueling Bar Exam is required before law-school graduates are allowed to practice law and is usually taken late in the summer after graduation. "This course was put together in response to requests by the third-year law students," Berch said. "They have wanted something like this for a long time. We will look at the past five years of bar exams and, when we find a pattern of questions, we'll be highlighting those patterns."

The free, non-credit course will be taught by Berch and 16 other law professors and adjuncts. It will meet from 3:30-6 p.m. on Fridays, beginning Jan. 18, and requires no registration. Third-year law students who will graduate in May, first- and second-year students who want a preview of exam preparation, as well as any previous graduates still preparing to take the exam, are all welcome to attend. Each session will give an overview of a section of the bar, including real property, Constitutional law, evidence, community property, torts, criminal procedure/constitutional aspects, criminal law, contracts, professional responsibility, trusts and wills, civil procedure and corporations, partnerships and other business organizations. A four-person panel will discuss studying for the bar. Students can come to one session or all.

Professor Alan Matheson said his session will cover the basics of Arizona community property law, including the difference between community property and separate property for married persons; management and control for each spouse; community debts and separate debts; pensions; insurance; division of assets at death and at divorce; joint tenancy and its relationship to community property; joinder; gifts; duty to spouses; and other issues. "For those who have already taken the community property course, this will be a review," Matheson said. "For others, it will be an introduction to this important area of the law that is on the Arizona Bar Examination at each offering."

Professor Bob Bartels will cover evidence. "I think it should be possible to identify and discuss some points about how to approach bar-exam evidence questions that will add to the standard bar-review lectures," Bartels said.

Professor Gary Lowenthal will cover substantive criminal law. "This is one of the core subjects on both the essay and the multistate portions of the bar exam," Lowenthal said. "This course will provide students with a valuable framework for the bar exam, and will give them a strategic advantage when they begin to study for the bar during the summer."

Berch said the course is not intended to replace the more intense bar review courses offered by private companies, but instead would supplement those courses. "The bar-prep courses are often straight lectures, and I hope these will be more interactive, allowing students to ask questions," Berch said.

The schedule is:
  • Jan. 18 - Civil Procedure - Michael Berch
  • Jan. 25 - Real Property - Jones Osborn
  • Feb. 1 - Corporations, Partnerships & Other Business Organizations - Myles Lynk
  • Feb. 8 - Studying for the Bar Exam -
    Art Hinshaw, Chad Noreuil, Rebecca Berch and Corie Rosen
  • Feb. 15 - Constitutional Law/Arizona and Federal - Paul Bender
  • Feb. 22 - Contracts - Jonathan Rose
  • Feb. 29 - Community Property - Alan Matheson
  • March 7 - Torts - Betsy Grey
  • March 14 - No class - Spring Break
  • March 21 - Criminal Procedure/Constitutional Aspects - Carissa Hessick
  • March 28 - Criminal Law - Gary Lowenthal
  • April 4 - Trusts & Wills - John Becker
  • April 11 - Professional Responsibility - John Tuchi
  • April 18 - Evidence - Bob Bartels
  • A Uniform Commercial Code course offered by Dale Furnish will be announced at a later date.

Alumna Nominated for US Attorney

Alumna nominated for U.S. Attorney - Diane Humetewa

President Bush on Thursday nominated Diane J. Humetewa, a 1993 graduate of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, to serve as U.S. Attorney for Arizona. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Humetewa, a member of the Hopi tribe, would be the first Native American appointed to the position.

Humetewa is the senior litigation counsel and tribal liaison in the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office and serves as an appellate court judge for the Hopi Tribal Court.

Humetewa, 42, told the Associated Press that she was "extremely honored" by the nomination, but declined to comment further, saying it was too early in the process.

Patricia White, dean of the College of Law, said Humetewa is an excellent choice. "She will bring professionalism, experience and a caring sensitivity to this position," White said. "She will carry on the strong tradition of excellent U.S. Attorneys for Arizona, including her immediate predecessor Paul Charlton, his predecessor Jose Rivera, and his predecessor Janet Napolitano. They all brought exceptional talent and professionalism to the post. This is the tradition that Diane Humetewa inherits and will continue."

Rebecca Tsosie, executive director of the Indian Legal Program, said Humetewa is an excellent choice. "Diane Humetewa has outstanding academic credentials and extensive experience as a prosecutor," Tsosie said. "I cannot think of another person who has Diane’s depth and range of experience as a federal prosecutor and her familiarity with the many programs encompassed within the U.S. attorney’s office. "I cannot think of another individual who has the same combination of intellectual brilliance, outstanding lawyering skills, impeccable judgment, high ethical standards, commitment to professionalism, and the ability to build consensus and understanding among diverse groups. Diane Humetewa will be an excellent U.S. Attorney for the state of Arizona, the Native Nations within the southwest, and for the entire country."

Humetewa, who served as a counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs from August 1993 to March 1996, when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was chairman of the panel, has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney for six U.S. Attorneys.

She was recommended for the nomination by Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and McCain to fill the position vacated by Paul Charlton, one of eight U.S. attorneys ousted in a controversial purge of the Justice Department. Daniel Knauss has served as the interim U.S. attorney since January. "Diane has demonstrated a devotion to public service and commitment to justice, and I believe she is uniquely qualified to address legal issues in the state of Arizona," McCain said in a statement released on Thursday. "During my chairmanship on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee I had the opportunity to work with Diane and witness her dedication to serving Americans, commitment to justice and incredible work ethic. These qualities will serve her well as the next U.S. Attorney for Arizona. I urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to consider this very capable nominee as soon as possible and allow the full Senate to swiftly confirm Diane as the first Native American to serve as a U.S. Attorney."

Kyl also expressed his support. "I am pleased that President Bush today nominated Diane Humetewa to the role of U.S. Attorney," Kyl said. "I believe her background as a prosecutor, crime-victims advocate, and years of public service make her an outstanding choice to become the next U.S. Attorney for Arizona. I congratulate her, and join with Senator McCain in urging for her swift confirmation."

Charlton told The Arizona Republic that he and Humetewa have discussed the job in recent months, and he feels she is a "perfect fit." "I tried a case with Diane about 10 years ago, and it was there that I saw this extraordinary combination of outstanding prosecutor and an individual with a clear moral compass who understood what was right and demonstrated good judgment consistently," Charlton said. "One of the qualities you need to be a U.S. attorney in Arizona is to have a great deal of sensitivity to issues in Indian country, and no one has been better able to exemplify that than Diane."

Gover Bids Farewell to Law School

Gover bids farewell to law school:`This is what I'm supposed to do'

Among the guests at Kevin Gover's farewellparty were, from left, Jacob Moore, of ASU'sOffice of Public Affairs, Patricia White, deanof the College of Law, Gover, and SandraFerniza, also of the Office of Public Affairs.

Colleagues, students and friends of Kevin Gover, a professor of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law and co-executive director of the American Indian Policy Institute at Arizona State University, honored him with symbolic gifts and fond congratulations during a farewell party on Nov. 26.

Gover, a former Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, is returning to Washington, D.C., to accept an appointment as director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, effective Dec. 2.

Gover, who will remain a professor at the law school on leave for the duration of his time at the museum, will be welcomed back with open arms whenever he chooses, said Patricia White, dean of the College of Law.

"I want to say how excited we are for Kevin and how proud we are of Kevin and, more importantly, how sad we are for ourselves that Kevin will be leaving," White said. "Kevin's presence here has been a wondrous thing for all of us. He has contributed to this school in innumerable ways, as a fabulous teacher and a wonderful mentor to lots and lots of students, and he has been particularly important to the students in the Indian Legal Program."

One of them, Joe Sarcinella, a second-year law student, presented Gover with an acrylic painting from the Native American Law Student Association, which was made by Phoenix artist Joseph Wolveskill. "You are very important to us," Sarcinella told Gover. "We're very happy to have had the chance to study with you."

Gover, who practiced law in Washington, D.C., and Albuquerque before serving as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, joined the College of Law in 2003.

"We didn't come here with any thought in mind that this was a way station, or that we were just passing through, but rather with the expectation and hope that this would be a place where we would do something completely different, something that seemed worthwhile, important and noteworthy," said Gover, who also is an affiliate professor in the American Indian Studies Program at ASU. "My hopes and my expectations were not only fulfilled, they were exceeded.

"It means a great deal to be accepted here, into such an elite, intellectual, remarkable family." Complimenting his colleagues in the renowned Indian Legal Program, Gover said he was certain the program would continue to blossom, and he praised the American Indian Policy Institute as one of the most important such enterprises in the country.

Pat Mariella, the institute's director, presented Gover with a plaque and thanked him for his leadership, while Eddie Brown, the institute's co-executive director with Gover, gave him an ASU polo shirt to remind him of his academic roots.

"It's been a real pleasure," Brown said. "Kevin because the mastermind of many of the ideas that we developed over the last few years."

Jacob Moore, tribal relations coordinator for the ASU Office of Public Affairs, gave Gover a Tohono O'odham basket, then joked, "We know he'll have lots of artwork around him, so this is something to remember us by."

Gover said his desire to continue helping Native people tell their stories led, in part, to his decision to accept the appointment to the Smithsonian.

"This museum is a place where we can really reshape Americans' understanding of who Indians are, of who they were and who they're going to be," said Gover, who grew up in Oklahoma and is a member of the Pawnee Tribe. "And that's heady stuff, that's a big deal to me because there's so much misunderstanding."

He also said the new job "seemed like what I'm supposed to do now. I'm very hopeful that it won't be too long that it seems I'm supposed to come back. I really do like it here, in no small part because of our students.

"I look forward to when I'm in my rocking chair, and I say, `Oh, yeah, that was my student.' I know the contributions these students will make," he said.

Article about ILP

November 16, 2007
Law Firms and Legal Affairs November 2007
Laws across nations
ASU’s Indian Legal Program trains lawyers to practice on and off the reservation
By Debra Utacia Krol, Arizona Capitol Times correspondent

Myriad laws govern the intersection of American Indian tribes with the rest of the nation.
Among other issues, Indian law touches on land, water and environment, business and family. Gaming has become a hot topic, and many attorneys’ billable hours involve gaming ordinances and policies.

As tribal governments grow ever more sophisticated, experts on understanding the interaction of tribes with other governmental entities is paramount. More and more tribes and tribal members are doing business with non-Indian firms, making commercial codes, dispute resolution and contract law a must with Indian law attorneys.

Attorneys whose practice takes them into dealings with both tribal governments and individual Indians must have a firm grasp on not just federal, state and local laws, but on tribal ordinances. But where can attorneys and law students acquire the expertise necessary to navigate the maze of tribal, state and federal laws? They turn to schools like Arizona State University’s Indian Legal Program, headquartered at the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law.

The program was established in 1988 to train attorneys in Indian law, assisting them in understanding how tribal laws differ from federal and state law — and how they resemble each other’s systems. Its mission includes providing legal education and public service to tribal governments, and helping support tribes in policy development. As one of the nation’s largest, the program provides its students with both a firm foundation in Indian law and a wealth of practical work experience.

“As people learn more about tribes and with all the economic development growth in Indian Country, the field of Indian law grows,” says Kathlene Rosier, the program’s director. “It’s exciting to see it grow. We see more and more people coming to do business on reservations, and it’s important to know how legal systems interact.” Rosier, a Comanche whose last position was tribal prosecutor for the Gila River Indian Community, oversees the program, which trains 10 to 15 native law students from the United States, Canada and Mexico and a number of non-Indians who sign up for the program’s Indian law certificate each year.

The school also holds a number of conferences, such as one in 2008 on the effects of 20 years under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which in 1988 paved the way for tribal casinos in Arizona and other states.

Students in the program can develop their tribal law portfolios in several ways. In addition to ASU’s law degree, students can earn an Indian Law Certificate. The master of law, or L.L.M., degree in tribal law and government provides those who already have a juris doctorate (JD) or equivalent with an opportunity to increase their skills and knowledge specifically in the area of Indian law. For those who do not wish to practice law, but have a need or interest in tribal law, the master of legal studies or M.L.S. program provides students with the basics of law while allowing them to choose from elective classes to gain the tribal law knowledge they desire.

Attracting top talent
The school has also attracted some stellar academic talent. Professor Paul Bender is a well-known figure in Arizona jurisprudence. Bender, who has argued two dozen cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, is the dean emeritus of the law school.

Indian Legal Program Executive Director Rebecca Tsosie is acknowledged as one of Indian Country’s top attorneys. Tsosie, a Yaqui, is also an acclaimed legal scholar who serves as a Supreme Court justice for several tribal court systems. Tsosie has written and published widely on doctrinal and theoretical issues related to tribal sovereignty, environmental policy and cultural rights.

Professor Robert Clinton has co-authored several casebooks and articles on Indian law, including casebooks on Indian law and federal courts, and “The Handbook of Federal Indian Law” and “Colonial and American Indian Treaties: a Collection.”

Professor Kevin Gover, former Bureau of Indian Affairs head and a Pawnee, is headed back to Washington to take the reins of the National Museum of the American Indian. However, Rosier notes that he’s still associated with the law school, and will be back in town for the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act conference.

The program’s 100-plus alumni provide another valuable resource. Ranging from attorneys in private practice to the Arizona Governor’s Office and the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, program graduates are making their mark in tribal law.

Beyond book learning
Then there’s the Indian Legal Clinic, where students gain the practical experience that books just can’t supply. Patty Ferguson-Bohnee has only served as the director since June, but is already busy with her students and caseload. “Learning can be in a vacuum,” says Ferguson-Bohnee, a member of Louisiana’s Pointe-au-Chien Tribe. “Indian law touches every area of life. The clinic allows students to go out in the community and see how what you do impacts the community and the people in that community.”

The clinic accepts cases in any court that are related to tribal, state or federal Indian law, and is open to all law students. “We have students who are interested in Indian law but do not intend to practice Indian law full time,” says Ferguson-Bohnee. “They find our courses and clinic very helpful.”

In fact, the only limitation on the clinic’s caseload is the physical distance of the court from ASU’s Tempe campus, which is why the majority of cases accepted are local, says Ferguson-Bohnee. “But they will travel for big cases.” Clients don’t even have to be from an Arizona tribe.
“Urban Indians living in the Phoenix area also have legal issues related to Indian law,” she says. Cases may range from child custody and Indian Child Welfare Act cases, to helping draft policy documents for tribal, state or federal governments.

Revamping Indian probate
One big issue that Ferguson-Bohnee’s team and the entire Indian Legal Program is tackling: probate. With recent changes to federal Indian probate laws, including the requirement that any Indian who owns allotted property within reservation borders have a written will to prevent further “fractionation” of land, Indian law practitioners are learning how to address the new policies and provide support to tribes in rewriting probate ordinances.

Students’ motivations vary, but all appear to have a passion for the law. Nikki Borchardt, a member of the Southern Paiute Tribe of Utah, has a background in ethnography, but she always knew she was headed for law school: “My aunt was the tribal chairwoman,” says Borchardt, a second-year student. “I knew there was a need for lawyers.” She pushed to keep her grades high to ensure entry into a good school. “I worked as an ethnographer and archaeologist” before going to law school, she says. Borchardt intends to someday return to cultural resources work.
“This is just the next step,” she says. “We’re starting to see how Indian law impacts every aspect of life.” Borchardt also praises the active role the program’s alumni play in helping students with networking and support.

Raymond Campbell of the Gila River Indian Community decided he didn’t want to work in a lab and opted for law. “My undergrad is in biochemistry,” the second-year student says. “I served an internship in the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and decided on law instead. I’m interested in marrying science and technology to the practice of law.”

Mary Modrich-Alvarado, Jicarilla Apache/Mayan, decided on ASU because it was close to her New Mexico home. The third-year student who has a business degree was undecided what to do after graduation. “I was talking with my sister, guessing what to do next and we started talking about law,” says Modrich-Alvarado, who also intends to actively practice after finishing her degree.

Dreams of a Navajo Nation-based law firm
Jerome Clark leaves his wife and two children at home to make the five-hour drive from Gallup, N.M. each week to attend law school. Clark, a Navajo, already has an MBA but decided he needed more tools to spark economic development. “I wanted to evaluate how our Navajo laws interact with economic development concepts, how the Navajo Nation works.”

Clark hopes to use his legal education to help resolve underlying issues, such as land use policies to build a strong, sustainable economic base in his home. “My goal is to practice at least two or three years and then open a practice in the Navajo Nation.”

In order to practice at Navajo, however, Clark, a third-year student will have to jump through some unique hoops. “I’m going to take the Arizona, New Mexico and Navajo Nation bar exams,” he says. Clark also wants to help change the perception many people still have about tribal courts. “Navajo Nation’s judiciary is independent,” he says. “We’re not new to the game.
“But some businesses are deterred from coming to the Navajo Nation because they are reluctant to be subject to Navajo Nation courts if a dispute arises. If we can show people how evolved our court system is and how our contract law is similar to theirs, it may help attract more off-reservation business.”

The field of Indian law is growing across the nation. More than 15 other universities offer Indian law certificates or have legal programs geared to tribal law. Two states — New Mexico and Washington — now have Indian law questions on their bar exams. Arizona’s Indian law practitioners would also like to see tribal law placed on the Arizona bar exam, and the Native American Bar Association is working toward that goal.

“With over 560 tribes in the U.S., and people just want to learn more about them,” says Rosier, the Indian Legal Program’s director “It’s exciting for us because the more people who know about how tribal laws work, the better.”

JOB: Tribal Prosecutor - CRIT

Contact: Eric Shepard (Attorney General)
Employer: Colorado River Indian Tribes
Address1: 26600 Mojave Road
CityStateZip: Parker, AZ 85344
Phone: 928-669-1271
Fax: 928-669-5675
AcceptingCalls: Yes
JobTitle: Tribal Prosecutor
Salary: D.O.E. with Benefits
Hours: 8 am - 5 pm

Description: Tribal Prosecutor to investigate violations of Tribal Law through Tribal Police Department, prepare and present criminal cases in Tribal and Appellate Courts, and enforce child support judgments. Works under direct supervision of Attorney General. Requires graduation from ABA accredited law school, 3 years practice of law, knowledge/experience in Federal Indian Law, and admission to Arizona or California State Bar. Annual salary D.O.E. with benefits.

Experience: Current Bar Members
Submit: Resume,Cover Letter,Writing Sample
SendBy: Mail,Fax,Email
Deadline: when filled

JOB: Director of Advocacy - Southern AZ Legal Aid

Contact: Anthony L. Young
Employer: Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Inc.
Address1: 64 E. Broadway
CityStateZip: 64 E. Broadway
Phone: 520-623-9465
Fax: 520-620-0443
AcceptingCalls: Yes
JobTitle: Director of Advocacy
Salary: DOE
Hours: 9-5

Description: SOUTHERN ARIZONA LEGAL AID, INC. (SALA), a legal services program with its main office in Tucson, Arizona. The program serves a varied geographic area in nine counties and on eleven Indian reservations with a client population of more than 200,000. It has seven branch offices and funding totaling approximately $4.1 million annually. SALA employs a staff of 69 with 25 attorneys. The Director of Advocacy will have a unique opportunity to continue the growth and development of a vital legal services organization. This individual will be primarily responsible for supervision of the legal work and advocacy of the program and development and handling a caseload of complex cases in both state and federal trial and appellate courts
- A minimum of seven years legal experience with significant involvement in state and federal trial and appellate courts;
- Demonstrated experience in supervision of legal work;
- Demonstrated leadership and management skills in a legal services program a plus;
- Applicant must have a demonstrated commitment and sensitivity to the low- income community.

Experience: Current Bar Members,Taking Next Bar
Submit: Resume,Cover Letter,References
SendBy: Mail,Fax,Email
Deadline: Open Until FIlled