Native Vote Restoration

Big win for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe

The Campaign Legal Center, Osborn Maledon and the Indian Legal Clinic represented the Pascua Yaqui Tribe in a lawsuit to restore the early voting location before the 2020 election. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe recently reached a settlement with Pima County to restore an in-person early voting location on the Pascua Yaqui Reservation. 

The right to vote for Native Americans in Arizona was only secured in 1948, and despite this right on paper, barriers to voting continue to persist and prevent Native American communities from fully participating. One such barrier was the closing of the early voting location on the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s reservation in 2018 by then Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe has been fighting to restore the site since it was originally closed in 2018 and have used every available tool to have the site restored. 

Now, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s efforts are finally coming to fruition with this settlement agreement, which will restore the in-person early voting location on the reservation and provide voters living on the reservation an opportunity to vote in-person early, safely, and in their community just as other Arizonans have voted across Pima County for the past four years. The settlement agreement also provides for cooperation on voter registration and outreach.  

Student attorneys Aspen Miller (’21), Jens Camp (’21) worked with Professor Ferguson-Bohnee and Native Vote Fellow Torey Dolan (’19) prepare for the preliminary injunction hearing last fall. We have been proud to stand alongside the Campaign Legal Center and Osborn Maledon in representing the Pascua Yaqui Tribe in their fight to protect their right to vote and are glad that the current Pima County Recorder Gabriella Cázares-Kelly recognizes the importance of this site and has worked with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe to reach this agreement.

Job Opportunities: Big Fire Law & Policy Group LLP

Big Fire Law & Policy Group LLP is seeking candidates with 5-10 years’ experience possessing a strong background in gaming, regulatory compliance, employment law, transactional law, and general corporate law. This position is a new, unique, and cutting-edge opportunity to work closely with a client on large scale, state-run gaming projects. Big Fire Law & Policy Group LLP is a prominent law firm providing legal representation and advocacy in a broad range of disciplines, with an emphasis in tribal law and federal Indian law and economic development, serving tribal nations, tribal business enterprises, and tribal organizations throughout the United States.

Gaming and Compliance Attorney

Litigation Attorney

Associate Attorney – Tribal Government and Housing

ILP serving on the NABA-AZ Board

The Native American Bar Association of Arizona (NABA-AZ) recently announced its 2021-2022 board of directors. Congratulations to this year’s ILP leadership: ILP Executive Director Kate Rosier, president; Meredith Gaylord (’19), president-elect; Bartley Harris (’08), treasurer; and Professor Pilar Thomas, secretary. Other ASU ILP board members include Jason Croxton (’10), ILP Faculty Director Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, Simon Goldenberg (’17), Verrin Kewenvoyouma (’04) and Kevin Pooley (’15). 

We appreciate ILP representation on the board!

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Danielle Williams
Program Coordinator Sr, Indian Legal Program, ASU Law

Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance Programs Welcome Expert Faculty Associates

Two new faculty associates bring hands-on expertise to the Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance Master of Legal Studies (MLS) Programs, part of the Indian Legal Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Jay Spaan, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, teaches Tribal Self-Governance I, and Michael Hoenig teaches Indian Gaming II.

Jay Spaan on Tribal Self-Governance
“Tribal self-governance is always evolving and its implementation is unique for each Tribal Nation,” said Spaan. “We will discuss and learn about the authorizing legislation and regulations, as well as caselaw that provide the framework for self-governance authority, and we will focus on how tribal nations have implemented the authority to best serve their citizens and communities. We also learn about the creative thinking and perseverance of tribal leaders that made self-governance a reality and how that continues to shape the future of self-governance.”

Spaan offered important advice for ASU Law students: “Take initiative, push boundaries and think beyond the confines of the current system. Tribal self-governance was an initiative of tribal leaders who were frustrated with the federal-tribal relationship and wanted to see real improvements in the lives of their citizens and communities. Don’t be scared to think beyond the boundaries of existing legislative frameworks. Anything is possible.”

Spaan is the executive director of the Self-Governance Communication & Education Tribal Consortium. He has more than a decade of experience in program evaluation, primarily as a senior analyst in the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) Natural Resource and Environment team. Spaan actively sought opportunities to increase American Indian and Alaska Native representation within GAO and brought in numerous speakers to educate its employees on federal trust responsibility, tribal sovereignty and building effective working relationships with Tribal Nations. Spaan earned a master’s of jurisprudence in Indian Law from the University of Tulsa and a master’s of public affairs from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Michael Hoenig on Indian Gaming
“Indian gaming has had a profoundly positive impact across Indian country,” said Hoenig. “It has created needed jobs and provided funding for vital programs and services. It is also one of the most heavily regulated activities, with tribes, states, and various federal agencies all playing a part. It needs people who understand not only how casino operations work, but also all those legal and regulatory requirements. I decided to teach this course so I could share my knowledge and hopefully ensure that there will continue to be people to fill those important roles.”

The Indian Gaming II course will provide an in-depth understanding of the legal and regulatory requirements of Indian gaming pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) regulations and other laws that touch on Indian gaming. “As you study Indian gaming,” Hoenig advised students, “keep in mind IGRA’s purpose that tribes must be the primary beneficiaries of their gaming.”

Hoenig is the general counsel at the NIGC, an independent federal regulatory agency. He provides legal oversight, guidance and assistance to the commission in carrying out its responsibilities under the IGRA. He joined the NIGC as a staff attorney in 2006, became associate general counsel in 2014 and general counsel in 2015. Prior to joining the NIGC, Hoenig served as counsel to Chickasaw Nation Ambassador Charles Blackwell and as counsel to Native Affairs Development Group. Hoenig received his law degree from the Creighton University School of Law and a master of laws in American Indian and Indigenous Law from the University of Tulsa, where he graduated with highest honors.

We are thrilled to welcome Professors Spaan and Hoenig to ASU Law.

“The success of the Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance programs could not be possible without the high-quality learning opportunities offered to its students,” said Derrick Beetso (’10), recently named director of the Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance programs. “Professor Spaan and Professor Hoenig bring a wealth of practical experience and subject matter expertise to the programs, and we are delighted that our students are now able to gain insights and lessons from both. We are confident these teachings will serve our students well in their future careers.”

Staff Attorney – Northern Arapaho Tribe

The position of Staff Attorney shall be responsible for representing the interests of the Northern Arapaho Tribe (“Tribe”), defending the Tribe’s integrity, assisting and advising all Tribal entities in their pursuit of progress on behalf of Tribal members, protecting all Tribal assets, and managing and providing legal services and representation to the Tribe, including, but not limited to, the Northern Arapaho Business Council, the Tribal Government, and all Tribal Entities.
Specific Responsibilities The Staff Attorney shall perform such legal services as delegated by the In-House Counsel, including, but not limited to, the following: • Work at the direction of the In-house Counsel on legal matters impacting the Tribe, its Tribal Government, and Tribal Entities; • Complete legal research for the In-house Counsel on legal issues effecting the Tribe; • Prepare and recommend appropriate tribal laws, resolutions, rules and regulations for the In-House Counsel; • Perform legal reviews of contracts, agreements, leases, grant applications and similar documents; • Research and monitor federal and state legislation that could impact any of the Tribe’s interests and recommend appropriate legal or legislative action; • Coordinate with Tribal Government employees to evaluate and make recommendations to the In-house Counsel regarding ways to improve the programs and services provided to tribal members, the internal environment of Tribal Government and Tribal Entities for employees, and any other means of advancing the best interests of the Tribe; • Draft advisory opinions on legal questions interpreting Tribal law upon request of the Inhouse Counsel. • Work directly with Tribal Programs on policy, procedures, legal issues, and represent the Programs in State and Tribal Court. NORTHERN ARAPAHO TRIBE LEGAL DEPARTMENT Qualifications To perform the job successfully, the candidate should have, at least, the following qualifications: • Juris Doctor Degree • 2021, law school graduates with exceptional Indian law backgrounds and credentials are encouraged to apply. • A member in good standing of the Wyoming State Bar or a member in good standing of another State Bar Association and must successfully pass one of the three next regularly scheduled examinations for admission to the Wyoming State Bar, or be eligible to waive into the Wyoming State Bar • At least five (5) years of experience as a practicing attorney preferred • At least two (2) years of experience working with (a) a tribe, tribal entity, or organization dedicated to tribal interests or (b) a federal or state government agency with oversight or responsibility for tribal issues preferred Additional Required Skills • Ability to maintain appropriate confidentiality; • Exceptional legal research skills; • Ability to work in a high-performance, fast-paced, high-pressure environment; • Exceptional interpersonal and communication (verbal and written) skills; • Adept at multi-tasking, have unquestionable integrity, with an uncompromising commitment to quality; • Organized with unfailing attention to detail and outstanding project management skills; • High level of comfort/ease interacting with all levels in the Tribe; • Ability to translate complex legal issues and requirements into understandable terms for easy dissemination across the organization; • Ability to work odd and irregular hours, as needed; • Must be people-oriented and relate well to people from diverse backgrounds; • Must successfully pass the required criminal and character background check, • Ability to travel and participate in required training, leadership development and other events; and • Ability to adequately and successfully perform all duties and responsibilities of this position. Application Information: Applicants must submit a resume, cover letter, a complete application form, and certificates of good standing for all jurisdictions in which they are licensed to practice to In-House Counsel, L. Clare Johnson by September 15, 2021. Only complete applications will be considered. Please contact L. Clare Johnson at clare.johnson@northernarapaho.com with any questions

Job announcement to support GAO’s Tribal Issues work:

GAO is hiring a senior analyst to work with the Natural Resource and Environment (NRE) team responsible for leading and coordinating the agency’s assessments of federal efforts to provide services to Tribes and their members. The primary purpose of the position is to serve as an individual contributor to the engagement team by performing the full range of analyst duties needed to respond to requests from congressional committees, subcommittees, and those mandated by public laws and committee reports. The application for this position is now live on USAJobs and will close on 9/10/21.

Application open to everyone: USAJOBS – Job Announcement GAO-21-NRE-0347-02-DE
Application for current federal employees with status in the competitive service and those who are eligible for non-competitive appointments: USAJOBS – Job Announcement GAO-21-NRE-0347-02-MP

Interested applicants can send any questions to Tammy Conquest (ConquestT@gao.gov) or Michelle Wong (WongM@gao.gov).

SUPERIOR COURT HEARING OFFICER Opening

Presiding Judge Jeffrey T. Bergin announced that a Merit Selection Committee for the Superior Court is accepting applications for the Hearing Officer position. This is a new Hearing Officer position to address the expanding need of family law services.
The Hearing Officer will be responsible for professional work as a judicial officer involved in interpreting and applying local and state laws while conducting court proceedings with primary attention on considering and ruling upon petitions for protective orders. The Hearing Officer may also conduct court proceedings in a variety of family law, civil and criminal matters within the jurisdiction of the Superior Court. The Hearing Officer will perform such other duties as are assigned by the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court and may also be appointed as a Judge Pro Tempore without additional compensation. Hearing Officers serve at the pleasure of the Presiding Judge and report to the Associate Presiding Judge. The current annual salary is $104,567.
See more at: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/scpima/jobs/3206059/hearing-officer-0821?page=2&pagetype=jobOpportunitiesJobs

City of Mesa Magistrate

Classification Responsibilities: A City Magistrate is responsible for presiding over misdemeanor and civil traffic cases filed with the Mesa Municipal Court, and presides over Orders of Protection. A City Magistrate is responsible for applying relevant Supreme Court Rules, state statutes, City ordinances, and case law when presiding over trials to the court, trials to a jury, pre-trial conferences, arraignments, motions, and other hearings. An employee in this class is also responsible for imposing sentences
commensurate to the offense and within the parameters allowed by law. In addition, may be required to conduct initial appearances or arraignments in a jail court environment in accordance with the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure. This class performs related duties as required.

Distinguishing Features: This classification has been designated as a non-classified, non-merit, at-will position. A City Magistrate is appointed by the City Council to a specified term. Prior to consideration for reappointment by the City Council, City Magistrates are evaluated by a Judicial Advisory Board, which makes recommendations to the City Council. This class is FLSA exempt – professional.
See more at: http://apps.mesaaz.gov/JobDescriptions/Documents/JobDescriptions/cs1201.pdf

ILP alumni make moves to D.C.

Two ILP female alumni recently assumed critical roles in Washington, D.C. As of three months ago, Breann Swann Nu’uhiwa (LLM ’09) began serving as senior counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs under the leadership of Senator Brian Schatz of Hawai’i. Stephanie Sfiridis (’16) serves as the senior counselor to the newly confirmed Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. From their experience, these duty-bound attorneys are attuned to the vision of their offices and the leadership who serve Indian Country. Ladies, congratulations on this amazing opportunity!

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Danielle Williams
Program Coordinator Sr, Indian Legal Program, ASU Law