JOB – Eastern Shoshone Tribe


The Eastern Shoshone Tribe of the Wind River Reservation is seeking applicants to serve as Attorney General for the Tribe.

The range of legal issues for which the Tribe needs advice is similar to those of other governmental and corporate organization. In the past, the Tribe has received legal advice in areas such as minerals development and regulation, environmental protection, personnel, statute drafting, securities, water law, real estate, business transactions, establishment of corporation, taxation, Indian Child Welfare Act, health care facility licensing and regulation, law enforcement, enrollment, gaming, tribal court, intergovernmental relations, and protection of Treaty and sovereign rights. The Attorney General will coordinate and schedule legal matters with firms located off the reservation but retained by the Tribe for expertise in several legal areas.

Attorneys who will provide general legal services must include in their proposal a description of how they will provide legal advice. All proposals shall include a description of the services to be provided, resume, and three current references. The salary range for this position is $80,000 – $100,000 depending on experience. The position also offers medical, dental and vision benefits with a generous 401(k) retirement package.

All proposals shall be sent to the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, P.O. Box 538, 14 North Fork Road, Fort Washakie, Wyoming, 82514. Questions can be directed to the Chairman or the Executive Secretary at (307) 332-3532/4932. All proposals must be received by September 21, 2007.

Save the Date – Navajo DOJ CLE

Navajo Nation Department of Justice 25th Anniversary
Friday, November 9, 2007
Location: Window Rock Museum

The Navajo Nation Department of Justice, joined by University of New Mexico School of Law, the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU, and Sutin, Thayer & Browne, P.C., is sponsoring a one-day Continuing Legal Education program in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the founding of Navajo DOJ and the 10th anniversary of Sutin, Thayer & Browne’s Navajo law seminar. The CLE is aimed at reflecting upon Navajo law and legal practice and its context within both federal and tribal environments.

More information will be coming soon.

Ninth Circuit

The Ninth Circuit just issued a decision in The Access Fund v. USDA, No. 05-15585 (August 27, 2007). The decision was written by Judge McKeown. The US Forest Service banned recreational rock climbing at Rock Cave, a sacred and historical site to the Washoe people. The Access Group, a climbing advocacy group, challenged the decision as a violation of the Establishment Clause and as arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedures Act. The District Court granted the US Forest Service’s motion for summary judgment, and The Access Group appealed. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, and Judge Wallace submitted a separate concurrence.

Get the decision at$file/0515585.pdf?openelement

JOB – UND Law Professor

The University of North Dakota School of Law seeks to fill a tenure-track faculty position with curricular responsibilities for federal Indian law, tribal law and other needs as determined by the faculty. The position includes opportunities for working with the School of Law’s nationally recognized Northern Plains Indian Law Center, which focuses on legal issues affecting tribal lands and members, and promotes diversity within the legal profession by increasing recruitment and retention of American Indian law students. The Center features active components in judicial training, environmental law and gaming. For more information, please visit the Center’s website at start date for the position, which is anticipated at the assistant professor level, is August 15, 2008. Candidates must have a J.D. degree and a distinguished academic record. Candidates also should demonstrate excellence in their professional work after their academic credentials were earned as well as a record or the promise of achievement as a teacher and scholar. Experience working with tribal governments and/or organizations is highly desirable. Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled. Applications from women and minorities are particularly encouraged. Contact: Kathryn Rand, Chair, Faculty Selection Committee, University of North Dakota School of Law, 215 Centennial Drive Stop 9003, Grand Forks, ND 58202-9003. UND is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.–
James M. GrijalvaDirectorTribal Environmental Law ProjectUniversity of North DakotaLaw School Room 201215 Centennial Dr., Stop 9003Grand Forks, ND

Indian Law Faculty Position

THE UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO COLLEGE OF LAW seeks to fill an entry-level, tenure-track faculty position beginning in the Fall of 2008 in the area of Indian Law. The teaching package for the position will also include Civil Procedure. Teaching assignments could also include other courses in the area of Indian Law or courses relevant to the successful applicant’s Indian Law expertise and the needs of the College of Law. Applicants must have a JD from an ABA accredited school or the equivalent. Applicants should also have a distinguished academic record and post J.D. practice, clerking and/or teaching experience. We seek applicants who show promise as excellent teachers and productive scholars. Applications from individuals with a demonstrated commitment to Indian Law including scholarship in the area and/or significant experience working with tribes or with Indian people are encouraged. Situated in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, the University of Idaho is located in close physical proximity to the Coeur d’Alene and Nez Perce Indian Reservations and has working relationships with both tribes. The University is a comprehensive research institution that is enriched by its proximity to Washington State University. Interested persons should either apply online at or send a letter of application and resume listing three references by regular mail or email to Committee Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, University of Idaho, College of Law, PO Box 442321, Moscow, Idaho 83844-2321. We will begin reviewing applications on September 15, 2007 and will consider applications until the until the position is filled. The University of Idaho is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. Applications from those who would increase faculty diversity at the College of Law, or with significant experience working with diverse populations, are encouraged. More information about the College of Law is available at

Professors quoted

Rebecca Tsosie, executive director of the Indian Legal Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, and Kevin Gover, a professor in the program, were quoted recently in an article in the Billings Gazette about Philip “Sam” Deloria becoming director of the American Indian Graduate Center in Albuquerque. Deloria has been the director of the American Indian Law Center for 37 of its 40 years, and helped found the Pre-Law Summer Institute, a boot camp for aspiring law students. He will now head the Graduate Center, which awards $8 million annually to graduate students. Both Tsosie and Gover praised Deloria for his leadership at the Law Center and his analysis of Indian policy. “He’s someone who understands the whole process of how those policies work in tribal communities at a direct level,” Tsosie told the Gazette. “He’s one of the few people in the entire country who have that level of expertise.” Gover said Deloria encourages debate on issues. “He’s not one of those guys who insists you have to believe what he believes,” Gover told the Gazette. “But he does insist you bring some real thought to your positions. He won’t let you get away with conventional wisdom, or saying something that everyone says.” Read the whole article here.

New Leader for the Indian Legal Clinic

An accomplished lawyer known for her careful approach to legal issues and commitment to serving tribal communities is the new director of the Indian Legal Clinic at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Patty Ferguson-Bohnee is supervising the continued development of the rapidly growing clinic, which provides students with important training and skills in the research and application of tribal law. Ferguson-Bohnee, a former associate in the Indian Law and Tribal Relations Practice Group at the Scottsdale law firm of Sacks Tierney P.A., also is a visiting clinical professor at the College. Being able to guide students through real cases in tribal, state and federal courtrooms, while helping Native populations in Indian country and in urban settings around the country, is a good mix for Ferguson-Bohnee. “I’ve always been interested in academics, but I couldn’t really see myself not practicing law,” she said. “As director of the Indian Legal Clinic, I can still practice law, while being in the environment of teaching. It’s also exciting to be able to work with the professors in the Indian Legal Program, who are nationally known.” Rebecca Tsosie, executive director of the College’s Indian Legal Program, said she was delighted by Ferguson-Bohnee’s decision to leave her private practice. “Patty brings a wealth of talent and expertise to this position,” Tsosie said. “Her stellar credentials and commitment to professional service have earned her the respect of members of the State Bar and law faculty alike. Patty is known for her abundant energy and positive approach to law practice, and she immediately immersed herself in the life of the College’s outstanding clinical program and began to organize the Indian Legal Clinic for this year’s classes.” Ferguson-Bohnee, a member of the Pointe-au-Chien tribe, recently helped four bayou tribes, including her own, obtain recognition from the state of Louisiana. She currently is seeking federal recognition of the 700-member Pointe-au-Chiens, of which she is the only attorney, and has assisted tribal entities in government relations by drafting appellate briefs, grievance decisions and codes and constitutions. “I feel a responsibility to my community, because it has been ignored and disenfranchised,” she said. “If I don’t help them, who will?” Ferguson-Bohnee grew up in a rural community in Louisiana where her dad worked in a paper mill and her mother was a stay-at-home mom. She became hooked on law and politics while competing in a mock trial as a high school student. After receiving her undergraduate degree in Native American Studies with an emphasis in Policy and Law from Stanford University, she earned a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law with a certificate in Foreign and Comparative Law. “There were very few Native students at Columbia,” she said. “That was a good experience because I was able to interact with people of different backgrounds, most of whom were interested in public-interest law and rights-based issues.” Initially, Ferguson-Bohnee intended to practice international rights law. “But I had received several grants from Stanford to work on historical projects on Louisiana Indians, and from there, I realized I should be focusing in this area,” she said. After law school, Ferguson-Bohnee clerked for Judge Betty Binns Fletcher of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and then joined Sacks Tierney, where a substantial part of her practice focused on Voting Rights Act issues. She has assisted in complex voting-rights act litigation and has drafted state legislative and congressional testimony on behalf of tribal clients with respect to voting-rights issues. As a lawyer, Ferguson-Bohnee has often returned to Louisiana to speak to high school students and others. “They need to see that they have more opportunities, because they don’t know that they do,” she said. In her role as director of the Indian Legal Clinic, Ferguson-Bohnee said she plans to continue cultivating existing relationships with tribes, while expanding services to other native communities and enabling students to build confidence and gain experience as lawyers. She would like to investigate potential issues within the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona., Inc., that may be appropriate for students to be involved with and start an American Indian rights summer fellowship program for students interested in working in impoverished Indian communities or with indigenous peoples on rights-based issues.

Diandra Benally – Newspaper Article

Young lawyer makes her mark as a leader
Staff Writer
Farmington Daily Times

Diandra Benally is a leader who takes action.

The Shiprock resident has been involved with everything from American Indian health care and diabetes programs to emergency preparedness and the reform of Medicare and Medicaid.
And that’s just the tip of what this 29-year-old has taken on since graduating from college.
She’s also quite the attorney.

After just two years on the job at the Navajo Nation Department of Justice, Benally recently was named the Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year by the State Bar of New Mexico.
“Our board looked well beyond Albuquerque and Santa Fe to find this degree of excellence and professionalism in other areas of the state, and we are pleased to have found it on the Nation,” said Joe Conte, the state bar executive director.

Benally was one of only 10 of the state’s 1,600 young layers to be nominated. To qualify, a lawyer must be younger than 36 and must have practiced law for fewer than five years.
San Juan County, and especially the Navajo Nation, should be proud.

Benally holds degrees from Dartmouth College and Arizona State University and is just the kind of role model our youth need to see making news.

Benally set her goal to become a lawyer long before she even entered middle school. She has stuck to her dream so that she can make a difference for those who follow.

What may be most impressive about Benally is that not only has she found success, but she’s giving back to her community. She has immersed herself in the issues when it would have been easier to take her success and run.

“Benally is conversant with the native population both on and off the reservation. She’s very in tune with what their needs are,” said Rebecca Tsosie, a law professor.

Benally doesn’t stop there. She realizes she is an example for youth and that they can learn from her experience.

“I hope I can provide guidance, support and mentorship to any student I meet,” Benally said.
That’s where the winds of change start.

Things only can get better for youth of the Nation and of the entire county when we have such leaders willing to take the hands of our youth and lead them to great opportunities.

We hope that many more on the Navajo Nation and in San Juan County will follow Benally’s lead.
And we hope there will be much more recognition to come her way in the future.