Success at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for the Indian Legal Clinic

The Indian Legal Clinic represented the appellants in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Case no. 21-35230, Newtok Village v. Andy Patrick) in an appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Alaska that involved defending tribal sovereignty from unlawful intrusion by federal courts.

On behalf of their clients, the clinic appealed an adverse permanent injunction issued by the District Court of Alaska and argued that tribal sovereignty to resolve intratribal disputes prevents federal courts from intervening on such matters and that the District Court of Alaska lacked jurisdiction. On December 22, 2021, the Ninth Circuit unanimously agreed with the appellants’ arguments and vacated the district court’s orders. Judge Richard C. Tallman wrote the opinion, concluding, “Continuing to enforce the permanent injunction here risks the federal court’s impermissible involvement in interpreting the Tribe’s constitution and laws.” 

Indian Legal Clinic Director Patty Ferguson-Bohnee argued the case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on November 9, 2021. Watch the recording of the oral argument. Vinnie Amato (3L) assisted with research, and Native Vote Fellow Torey Dolan (’19) and Jens Camp (’21) assisted in drafting the briefs before the Ninth Circuit. Jacob Broussard (3L) provided notes for the oral argument prep, and Native Vote Fellow Blair Tarman-Toner (’21) and Dolan assisted in preparing and refining Ferguson-Bohnee’s oral argument. The clinic collaborated with co-counsel James J. Davis, Jr. of the Northern Justice Project LLC in Anchorage, Alaska.

Job opportunity: Attorney

Kanji & Katzen, P.L.L.C
Seattle, Washington, and Ann Arbor, Michigan

Kanji & Katzen, P.L.L.C, with offices in Seattle, Washington, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, seeks an attorney for either office or to work remotely. Kanji & Katzen’s nationwide legal practice focuses on the representation of tribes, tribal organizations, and tribal members. The firm assists tribes in protecting their sovereignty, their natural and cultural resources, and their lands, and in pursuing economic development projects. The firm expects its attorneys to devote their careers to advocacy on behalf of tribes. Given the composition of the firm’s caseload, a keen interest in and knowledge of environmental and natural resources law, in addition to federal Indian law, would be helpful. However, prior experience in the fields of Indian and/or environmental law are not pre-requisites to employment.

Applicants should possess a stellar academic and professional record, as well as a willingness to work enthusiastically and creatively on behalf of tribes. Applicants should have at least 2 years of litigation experience after a judicial clerkship or law school.

The firm offers competitive salaries and an opportunity to hone advocacy skills in a wide variety of interesting settings.

To apply, please send by email a cover letter, resume, law school transcript, a writing sample, and references, to employment@kanjikatzen.com. We prefer to receive the application documents combined into a single pdf file.

Brilliant Success

Gathering of Indigenous Legal Scholars

On Dec. 8-9, the ILP and the Native Nations Law and Policy Center at UCLA School of Law teamed up and welcomed current and future Indigenous law faculty from across the country to participate in the “Gathering of Indigenous Legal Scholars” at ASU Law. The purpose of this gathering was to cultivate a community of support for current and future legal scholars across the fields of federal Indian law and tribal law.
On the first day, four emerging Indigenous scholars presented their research to the 25 Indigenous law professors in attendance. The faculty then presented a hybrid-format webinar, “Launching Your Academic Career,” to share knowledge, tips and advice for entering the academic job market. On day two, junior and senior faculty in the field shared their current research with one another. 

The overall event highlighted just how robust scholarship in the field of Indigenous law has become, and how important rigorous legal research is to Indigenous peoples and the development of law and legal systems intended to meet their needs. The event built on previous gatherings for emerging Indigenous faculty organized by senior Indigenous scholars, including Professor Robert J. Miller

We are delighted that five ILP affiliates participated: Native Vote Fellow Torey Dolan (’19) presented “Reviving the Promises of the Indian Citizenship Act: Congress’ Trust Obligations to Protect the Native Vote,” Professor Patty Ferguson-Bohnee presented “Self-Determination in a Sinking Basin,” Professor Stacy Leeds presented “Essentials of Going on the Legal-Academic Job Market”, Professor Miller served on the roundtable “Developing Your Research Agenda” and Professor Trevor Reed presented “Restorative Licensing.”

We appreciate our co-host the Native Nations Law and Policy Center at UCLA School of Law and all participants for making this a successful event.

Celebrating Tribal Investments

San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

Last month, the Indian Legal Program celebrated the generosity of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians at the ASU California Center in downtown Los Angeles, located at the historic Herald Examiner building, for a special ribbon-cutting ceremony and the naming of Yuhaaviatam of San Manuel Event Center within the building. The naming of the space recognizes San Manuel’s $5 million gift for the recent renovation of the ASU California Center, and the tribe’s support for ASU Law’s Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance programs. 

San Manuel Chairman Ken Ramirez said it best: “Investing in education that underscores Native American law and tribal sovereignty is among the core values of the tribe.”

“Participating in the unveiling was an honor,” said Derrick Beetso (’10), director of ASU Law’s Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance programs. “The history of the Herald Examiner building, as described by Chairman Ramirez, indicates how special this event was for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, and it was a pleasure to share in this experience. The Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance programs look forward to exploring new opportunities for innovative uses for the space, including practical learning experiences for our students.”

Read more in the ASU News article and review ASU Law’s video recap.

We are very happy some of our ILP students joined Professor Beetso, Professor Patty Ferguson-BohneeExecutive Director Kate Rosier and Professor Trevor Reed in this celebration, including: Ashleigh Fixico (2L), Noah Goldenberg (2L), Clayton Kinsey (1L), Francisco Olea (LLM), Sophie Staires (1L) and David Streamer (3L). During the trip, students documented and shared the experience on our Instagram for Student Takeover

Thank you, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, for your continued support!

Job Opportunity: Staff Attorney

The ACLU seeks applicants for the full-time position of Staff Attorney in the Racial Justice Program of the ACLU’s National office in New York, NY or Remote.

The Racial Justice Program (RJP) is part of the ACLU’s Trone Center for Justice and Equality, and works on a broad range of racial justice issues.

See full job posting.

We Conquered

On Oct. 11, we held a free one-hour webinar “Conquering Columbus: Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery.”

We appreciate our panel experts—Native Vote Fellow Torey Dolan (’19), Sarah Augustine, Douglas Lind and Professor Robert J. Miller—for leading this rising awareness discussion and helping ensure the academic landscape represents Indian Country’s full diversity and history at a national scale.

If you missed the webinar, you may watch the recording.

ILP Family legacy

Native American Heritage Month

ASU's Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) president and 2L Ashleigh Fixico (Muscogee Creek Nation) rocking her mocs

As a team representing 10 tribes at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, the Indian Legal Program aims to educate and celebrate on the ancestral lands of the Akimel O’odham. The program was established 33 years ago by the efforts of two ASU Law students – Gloria Kindig (’89) and LynDee Wells (’89). Over the years, we have excelled and built on that vision and created the Indian Legal Clinic, the Arizona Native Vote Election Protection Project, the Indian Wills Clinic, the Pathway to Law Initiative, the Rosette LLP American Indian Economic Development Program, and the Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance programs.

  • Kate Rosier (Comanche), ILP Executive Director and Assistant Dean of Institutional Progress
  • Patty Ferguson-Bohnee (Pointe-au-Chien), ILP Faculty Director and Indian Legal Clinic Director
  • Professor Robert Miller (Eastern Shawnee), Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar and Director of the Rosette LLP American Indian Economic Development Program
  • Professor Stacy Leeds (Cherokee), Foundation Professor of Law and Leadership
  • Professor Trevor Reed (Hopi), Associate Professor of Law
  • Professor Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes (’94) (Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska), Professor of Practice and Director of the Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance Programs
  • Professor Derrick Beetso (’10) (Navajo), Director of the Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance Programs
  • Professor Helen Burtis (’07), Faculty Associate
  • Professor Lance Morgan (Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska), Faculty Associate
  • Professor Pilar Thomas (Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona), Faculty Associate
  • Danielle Williams (Navajo), Program Coordinator Sr
  • Theresa Beaulieu (Stockbridge-Munsee), Program Coordinator
  • Honore Callingham (’18), Senior Specialist, Indian Legal Clinic
  • Torey Dolan (’19) (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), Native Vote Policy Fellow, Indian Legal Clinic
  • Blair Tarman (’21) (Chickasaw), Native Vote Policy Fellow, Indian Legal Clinic

In addition to the JD program, we also offer a Master of Laws (LLM) program and Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program. 

We’ve expanded our presence in Nebraska, California and Washington, D.C. We are a growing network because law is a growing field. Over 375 ILP students have graduated from ASU Law and over 150 received a certificate in Indian Law. 

Today, we are proud to have 72 students representing 36 tribes: 44 JD, 1 LLM and 27 MLS. 

To our entire ILP family: Happy Native American Heritage Month!

Impacts of Indian Gaming

The Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance programs hosted a presentation “Indian Gaming in Texas: Ysleta del Sur Pueblo v. Texas & Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas v. Texas” on Nov.10. Ronnie Thomas, treasurer for the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, and Fred Petti, attorney for the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, joined the ILP to discuss the history of Indian gaming in Texas and how Ysleta del Sur Pueblo v. Texas ended up before the Supreme Court. The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe submitted amicus briefs in support of the matter since the holding could result in ground-sweeping changes in how Indian gaming is conducted in Texas.

Lunch was provided at this in-person event, which was also livestreamed so the ILP’s MLS and LLM online students could participate as well. Derrick Beetso (’10), director of the Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance programs, said, “I really enjoyed this event. The representatives from the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe shared important and interesting perspectives on how amici can help further collective litigation goals in Indian Country. I thought it was an important and practical discussion to have that is not always explained in law school courses.” 

“I’m inspired by the actions of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe because the purpose of pursuing legal action was not solely about Indian gaming, but how this activity could serve the tribe for the next seven generations,” said 3L Hilary Edwards . “Mr. Thomas shared how his tribal community has benefitted from the tribal gaming facility, like supporting tribal members to achieve higher education. I was encouraged when Mr. Thomas said, ‘We encourage our tribal students who achieve higher education to get off-reservation experience and then bring that experience back to work for the tribe.’ This is precisely what I strive to accomplish. I desire to be qualified with experience to be able to contribute and serve my tribal community. These events further validate my decision to attend law school and further encourages me to continue on with the fight.”