Kerry Patterson (’01)

Kerry Patterson, a 2001 alumna of the College of Law, was featured recently in the Phoenix Business Journal’s column, Change Agent. Reporter Mike Sunnucks said Patterson, an associate at Fennemore Craig PC in Phoenix, has carved out a niche in American Indian law. She has a certificate in Indian law, sits on the Indian Legal Program’s Advisory Council, serves on the Indian Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona and is a founding member of the Native American Bar Association of Arizona. She specializes in zoning, land use, leasing and development work both on and off the reservation. “As a Native American, I understand the tribal perspective and recognize that the work I do will impact tribes for several years,” said Patterson, a member of the Seneca Nation. “So it is important that both the developer and the Indian tribe share a common vision for the project.”

Alumni: Dr. John Molina

Dr. John Molina now has a dual appointment of Assistant Director and Medical Director for the Division of Fee For Service Management.

Dr. John Molina has agreed to accept this dual appointment. For the past three years Dr. Molina has worked closely with DFSM management on improving services to AHCCCS beneficiaries especially Native American. Over the past three month Dr. Molina has become actively involved in all aspects of DFSM.

Dr. Molina has 23 years of experience in Arizona healthcare, working with underserved and special needs populations as a clinician, in program administration, policy development, as an advocate, a professor, and a healthcare consultant. Dr. Molina holds a B.A. degree in Psychology, an M.D. Degree from the University of Arizona, and a J.D. Degree from Arizona State University. His rich and varied experience, his well-rounded education, and his extensive knowledge about the Native American Population will prove to be valuable in his dual role as Medical Director and Assistant Director for the fee for service population. Dr. Molina is well known in the healthcare community as a highly respected and deeply committed individual with a passion to service the healthcare needs of the indigent population.

NALSA Moot Court Article in Indian Country Today

Arizona Indian law students host 2008 Moot Court Competition
Posted: January 30, 2008
by: Patti Jo King

TEMPE, Ariz. – The National Native American Law Students Association chapters at the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law are sponsoring the 16th annual NNALSA Moot Court Competition in Tempe Feb. 21 – 23. The competition gives NNALSA members an opportunity to enhance their student legal expertise. ”Moot” is an Anglo-Saxon term that means ”meeting.” During a town meeting, or moot, matters concerning the town were often debated. Consequently, the word ”moot” came to refer to an arguable or debatable point. Today, moot courts are frequently held to help law students in the practice of presenting oral arguments and written briefs. In a moot court, students argue the intricacies of a point of law of current interest, submitting legal briefs and constructing oral arguments. Practicing attorneys trained in Indian law encounter a wide variety of issues and problems on a daily basis, from domestic matters to business transactions and complex jurisdictional questions. Considering problems that are currently being debated in tribal law today is part of the moot exercise. The problem for the upcoming moot court competition was proposed by then-ASU law and American Indian studies professor Kevin Gover, member of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and current director of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. The debate deals with a dispute between a tribe and an incorporated municipality that both seek to apply zoning laws to a parcel of free land located within a reservation. Students may enter the competition as individuals or in teams; however, participation is limited to law schools with active NNALSA chapters. Students will compete in six elimination rounds during which they will argue for the appellant petitioner. At the conclusion of each level of rounds, cumulative scores with be assessed. Winners will be selected according to the scores they receive on their participation. Judges will assign scores reflecting the student or teams’ preparation and familiarity with the facts of the case under consideration; the structure of legal arguments and knowledge of pertinent laws; their organization, presentation and speaking ability; and their persuasiveness and courtroom etiquette. Awards will be presented for Best Brief, Best Individual Oralist and Best Advocate. The Native law programs at ASU and UA have been hailed as top programs in the field. The ASU Indian Legal program was established in 1988 to train Indian law students and promote an understanding of the differences between the legal systems of Indian nations and the United States. The Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy program at UA is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading academic centers of learning for the study of indigenous laws and human rights. Both programs seek to prepare student lawyers who are looking for a satisfying career in public service for tribal governments to meet unique Native legal challenges. NNALSA was established in 1970 to support Native students in law school and promote the study of federal Indian law, tribal law and traditional forms of governance. It strives to reach out to American Indian communities, encourage Native people to pursue legal education and educate the legal community about American Indian legal issues. The annual moot court competition is just one of many services the organization provides for its members. Matt Campbell, vice president of ASU’s NNALSA chapter, is the organizer of this year’s competition. He said the moot competition is an important annual event for Indian law students. ”This event will enhance substantive knowledge in the fields of federal Indian law, tribal law and traditional forms of governance, and will bring together students, judges, attorneys and scholars from across the country. It is a wonderful opportunity for Native students to compete, network and share ideas about the dynamic field of Indian law.” According to tribal law scholars Frank Pommersheim and John P. LaVelle, who have written extensively about American Indian law, the competence and maturity of tribal courts have improved considerably in the past 25 years. The critical need for Indian law experts has increased, especially in light of new economic development in Indian country and other legal complexities Native people face today. Accordingly, the number of students entering the challenging field of tribal law has increased as well. Moot court competitions are one way of enhancing student legal expertise. The particulars of the moot problem can be viewed on the NNALSA Web site at For further information about competition registration and application deadlines, e-mail Campbell at

Tsosie quoted in Indian Mascot article

Native community divided on mascots
Paola BoivinThe Arizona RepublicFeb. 1, 2008 11:06 PM

Lost in the enthusiasm of Super Bowl XLII is a story line without pompoms and foam fingers: Many local Native Americans are struggling to pass a metaphoric peace pipe to an organization that allows team imagery viewed as demeaning by many tribes.”It is, simply, inconsistent with the human right of people,” said Rebecca Tsosie, the executive director of the Indian Legal Program at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Sunday’s game is expected to attract protesters who question the NFL’s tolerance for the mascots of the Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins. The D.C. franchise is the most controversial and the subject of a petition filed at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the trademark. Many in Arizona’s Native American community feel conflicted about the league, which has supported their causes in other ways. In January, the Super Bowl Host Committee sponsored a three-day Arizona Indian Festival in Phoenix that attracted 22 tribes and showcased art, crafts and musical and dance performances.The NFL Players Association has had a long relationship with the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, and the NFL was one of the few professional organizations that embraced American Indians in its early years. “The Cardinals,” league spokesman Greg Aiello said, “are very active in the Native American community in the Phoenix area.”Additionally, the Pima and Maricopa tribes are hosting the New York Giants at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa on the Gila River Reservation. “That’s nice, but it doesn’t excuse everything,” said Suzan Shown Harjo, the president and executive director of the Morning Star Institute, a national Indian-rights organization. “The offender shouldn’t be the one to tell us what offends.”The NFL had an early relationship with American Indians. Its first league president was Olympic track standout Jim Thorpe, a Sac and Fox Indian whose nickname was Wa-tho-huck (Bright Path). During the 1922 and 1923 seasons, an entire team of Native Americans including Thorpe – the Oorang Indians of LaRue, Ohio – played in the league.The first 1,000-yard rusher in the NFL was a Native American. Beattie Feathers was a Chicago Bears rookie in 1934 when he hit the milestone. Others who have come through the league include Hall of Fame halfback Joe Guyon, a member of the Chippewa tribe, and Sonny Sixkiller, a University of Washington standout who played briefly with the Los Angeles Rams. In Arizona, most high schools on reservations have football teams, and their popularity is beginning to match that of the beloved basketball programs.For Val Northrup, who sold crafts at the Arizona Indian Festival, she has no trouble seeing Native American imagery used for team logos and mascots.”At least they know we’re out there,” said Northrup, who lives on First Mesa on the Hopi Reservation. Several booths down, Alison Francisco of the Tohono O’odham Culture Center and Museum bristled.”Am I bothered?” she said. “I think that ‘bother’ is not a strong enough word that fits how much it affects us. It doesn’t make me angry, it doesn’t make me sad, it makes me feel separate.”Francisco believes the NFL’s Chiefs and Redskins are “false representing” themselves.”Walk around here, you don’t see people dressed like that. Maybe the dancers, but they’re interpreting dances from long, long ago,” she said. “What the games are doing aren’t interpreting dances, so why?”No one should be more divided than Nick Lowery. The 17-year NFL kicker is the president of Nation Building for Native Youth, a leadership program for young Native Americans, and has spent many years working with the American Indian community.Lowery said he has met many tribe members who told him they are fine with the symbols “as long as it honors us and treats us with respect.”Jim Warne, a member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe, understands the ambivalence on the reservation. He grew up in Arizona, played football at Mesa Community College and Arizona State before making a brief stop in the NFL. He now serves as the director of the Center for American Indian Rehabilitation and is an actor and stuntman in Hollywood.”I know about stereotypes because I’m never the guy asked to play the nerdy Ph.D.,” he said. “The NFL has done a lot of good things, but that doesn’t mean it gives them a free pass to not address the issue, because until they do, many Native Americans will hold it against them.”NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said little about the issue but rankled many Native Americans after he scolded Washington running back Clinton Portis for defending Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring.”Dogfighting’s bad, but they ignore the genocide of Native Americans?” said David Tom, a member of the Navajo Nation. “Redskins is not just a reference to skin tone. It’s trappers bringing Indian scalps to sell. It’s blood. It’s hard to understand how the NFL can be so nonchalant.”The debate about mascots has its roots in the Lanham Act of 1946, when Congress outlawed trademarks that disparaged persons, living or dead.That was the backbone of a petition filed in 1992 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by a group of Native Americans. The office backed the petition, but it was overturned on appeal. That paved the way for the current petition, filed by six American Indians ranging from 18 to 24.Many believe the Native American community is sending mixed signals. A Peter Harris Research Poll in 2002 reported that 83 percent of Native Americans interviewed on reservations said they didn’t believe pro teams should stop using Indian nicknames, mascots and symbols.”I don’t know who they’re interviewing. They need to continue listening to us,” Francisco said. “Because just like football is going to stay here, we’re going to stay here, too.”