Guest speaker and ILP alum, Derrick Beetso (JD ’10) gave an interactive and fun presentation on October 30, 2019. NCAI’s General Counsel Beetso discussed the history of the National Congress of American Indians and its role in helping shape federal Indian law and policy, his own work on behalf of NCAI and other work and priorities of the organization.
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law’s Indian Legal Clinic partnered with the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians Tribal Leadership and the California Indian Legal Services on Sept. 23 and 24 in an extremely successful Indian Wills Clinic for the members of the Pechanga Band. At the event, free legal services were offered to members of the Band who wished to create wills for bequeathing their allotments. The Pechanga Indian Reservation includes a mix of trust lands, fee lands and lands owned by the Band, individual Indians and non-Indians.
Eleven members of the Band met with
three Indian Legal Clinic students on the first day of the Clinic to discuss
their estate planning needs. The students then drafted an Indian will that was ready
for execution on the following day for each of the individuals. Jennifer
Parisien, Tribal Treasurer Department Financial Analyst, coordinated the event
while Michele Fahley, Deputy General Counsel for the Band, and Mica Llerandi,
staff attorney with California Indian Legal Services, supervised the student
“Ensuring tribal members have
access to legal services in preparing Indian wills has been a long-term
priority for my office,” said Steve
Bodmer, JD ’06, the Band’s General Counsel. “When our Tribal Secretary and Tribal
Treasurer reached out to me regarding adding wills to the Pechanga financial
education series, my thoughts turned immediately to the Indian Legal Program as
a possible resource to make this project a success.”
Robyn Delfino, Pechanga Band Tribal Treasurer,
explained that the Wills Clinic was part of a larger initiative sponsored by
the Tribal Treasury Department and Tribal Leadership with an aim of assisting
members by providing education about financial management and legal tools for
planning for the future.
“The amazing work that was performed
in the Wills Clinic is evidenced in the reaction of the Band’s membership,”
“The feedback from members was
extremely positive,” added Delfino, “which resulted in multiple tribal members
contacting us to ask when the next clinic would be held. The partnership
between the Tribal Leadership, California Indian Legal Services, and the Sandra
Day O’Connor College of Law’s Indian Legal Clinic was a win-win situation where
tribal members gained very valuable services while students gained very
valuable educational experiences.”
The students involved in the Wills
Clinic were universal in their appreciation for the learning opportunities the
“I am thankful for the rewarding and
humbling experience of working with clients to prepare their wills from start
to finish,” shared Cynthia Freeman,
JD candidate ’20, “I am grateful for the first-hand practical experience, which
is a great contribution to my overall legal education.”
Tso, JD candidate ’20, said “creating a will is a
proactive step for members to take to protect their families for generations to
come. It was an amazing experience to be able to help them with their endeavors.”
Bowles, JD candidate ’20, was happy for the
experience in counseling clients.
“From a practical standpoint, I
learned how to conduct an interview while acknowledging the very sensitive and
personal nature of estate planning,” said Bowles. “Because drafting Indian
wills is a specialty, I feel blessed to have this knowledge to apply in my
“The students did a tremendous job of
building the clients’ trust in the limited amount of time available to them,” said
Helen Burtis, JD ’07, the faculty associate
overseeing the students’ participation in the Wills Clinic. They prepared for
the Wills Clinic by learning about fractionalization of allotments and the
American Indian Probate Reform Act.
“Drafting Indian Wills is technically
complex, and the students were dedicated to getting the clients’ estate
planning wishes accurately incorporated into the documents,” Burtis added. “On
behalf of the Indian Legal Clinic and the Indian Legal Program, I would like to
thank Pechanga Tribal Leadership and staff as well as the members who agreed to
work with students for letting our students take part in this valuable program.”
Every year, more cities and states pass orders to formally recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day (IPD) on the second Monday of October as opposed to the federally observed Columbus Day. We asked some of our students their thoughts on this topic. These are the answers we received. Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!
Have you heard the news? Our #ILPfamily is growing! We’ve recently added three new members to our team. We asked Professor Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes, Professor Lawrence Roberts and Distinguished Visiting Indian Law Professor Stacy Leeds about their experience as law students and how they feel starting out at a new school. Here is their full responses to our questions.
Our faculty has been involved in all sorts of exciting projects and actions! In a new style, here is a synopsis of our faculty’s recent activities.
Professor Robert Miller presented on a panel at Missouri
History Center on Sept. 24 in St.
Louis at the Lewis & Clark National Trail Heritage Foundation’s 50th Annual
meeting about Indian nations, the Doctrine of Discovery and Lewis & Clark
Miller spoke on Sept. 22 at the 50th Annual Lewis
and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation meeting in St. Louis at the Missouri
History Museum. He was on a panel entitled “Lewis and Clark through Indian
eyes.” He presented the subject “Lewis and Clark: Agents of American
On Oct. 3, Miller gave a lunch time presentation
on tribal courts to the Lewis & Clark Law School NALSA and Students for
Eliminating Environmental Discrimination.
On Oct. 3, Miller emceed at the Oregon Native
American Chamber of Commerce annual dinner.
Miller was announced as the recipient of the Pedrick
Scholarship on Oct. 10 as one of the
notable faculty honorees that bring extensive experience and knowledge to ASU
Law. Congratulations! Read the full article here.
Miller continues to work diligently on his law
review articles on Nazis and American Indian Law, tribal courts and General Ely
Parker [Seneca], despite being on sabbatical. Always working hard!
Sept. 24, Professor Patty
Ferguson-Bohnee was on a panel at the Climate Defenders: Indigenous Climate
Leadership in North America held in New York City. She spoke with other
indigenous climate activists about the climate issues at hand and potential
solutions that could address these problems. Watch the recorded livestream here.
Sept. 24, Ferguson-Bohnee appeared in KJZZ’s broadcast “Native American Voters
in Arizona Prep for 2020” to talk about common issues native voters face and
the importance of taking voter action. Read the article and listen to the
Ferguson-Bohnee and Torey Dolan (’19) attended the First Nations Voting Rights Conference—Planting for the Future on Sept. 25-27 organized by the Rural Utah Project and held at the University of Utah College of Law. Ferguson-Bohnee moderated panels on the Voting Rights Act and You and Voter Protection. She also participated on a panel focused on Early Voting, Satellite Elections Office and Mail-In Ballots. The goal of the conference was to discuss strategies for equal representation, preparation for the 2020 Census, redistricting and rural addressing projects to ensure that every Native Vote is counted.
On Oct. 1, Ferguson-Bohnee participated in the subcommittee discussion Voting Rights and Elections Administration in Arizona. Watch the recorded livestream here. The second panel starts around 1:09:00.
On Sept. 13, Professor Trevor Reed gave the lunch lecture, Sonic Sovereignty: Performing Hopi Authority at Öngtupqa (Grand Canyon), to ASU School of Music faculty and students.
On Sept. 20, Reed presented Copyright and Our Ancestors’ Voices at Council for Museum Anthropology Biennial Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
On Oct. 2, Reed presented Listening to Our Modern Lives at Music, Modernity and Indigenous Peoples symposium at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
On Oct. 4, Reed presented Cultural Appropriation and Fair Use: Why the Forgotten Factor Matters at the Marquette Law School Seventh Annual Junior Faculty Works in Progress Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Oct. 14, Professor Lawrence Roberts participated on the panel “2019 Tribal Gaming in the Congress and Courts / 2020 Outlook at the Global Gaming Expo” in Las Vegas.
From Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, Professor Stacy Leeds presented Indigenous Land Tenure Systems in the United States and the Cherokee Legacy of Allotment: Highlighting UNDRIP Conformity Challenges as part of the United Nations Seminar of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on the Right to Land for Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.
Leeds was also newly appointed to the American Bar Association Advisory Committee for the Commission on Youth at Risk for the 2019-2020 committee.
The Indian Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona (ILS) Fall Social is on Oct. 22! Students and colleagues are encouraged to attend. This is a great opportunity to meet with other Arizona attorneys practicing in Indian Country!
In this month’s episode of the Talking Stick, Juvenile Justice (2), we continue our investigation into the juvenile justice system in Indian Country. Host Derrick Beetso (’10) talks with Michelle Brown-Yazzie, Nick J. Costales and Kelbie Kennedy.
POSITION SUMMARY: The attorney general provides legal advice and representation to all officials, agencies, departments, divisions and branches of the Tohono O’odham Nation, a federally recognized Indian tribe with 2.8 million acres of reservation land in Southern Arizona. The attorney general represents the Nation in all legal proceedings, and in other matters that affect the legal interests of the Nation; advises senior management and tribal officials; and supervises assistant attorneys general and contract attorneys. (Job description available at http://tolc-nsn.org)
MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: Juris doctorate from an accredited law school, a licensed attorney admitted to practice before the highest court of a state of the United States, three years of supervisory experience and ten years of experience in the practice of law. If appointed, must be admitted to State Bar of Arizona within 18 months. Subject to background investigation.
INDIAN PREFERENCE Preference in filling vacancies will be given to (1) enrolled members of the Tohono O’odham Nation, (2) enrolled members of other tribal nations or tribes, (3) other candidates.
APPLICATION PROCESS Interested applicants should email a completed application form (available at http://tolc-nsn.org), resume, letter of interest, and three writing samples. Writing samples must include at least one pleading or substantive memorandum filed in court. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Please provide all application materials to: ATTN: Julianna Saraficio, Legislative Assistant Tohono O’odham Legislative Branch Julianna.Saraficio@tonation-nsn.gov (520) 383-5260 (office)