NAGPRA: Celebrating a 30-year milestone

On Nov. 16, the ILP commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) with a webinar “NAGPRA: 30 Years and Beyond.” The roundtable focused on how the law has empowered Tribes to reclaim their ancestors and cultural items from museums and other federally funded institutions, and what changes are needed in both the law and its implementation to better serve Indian Country.

Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee), writer, curator, policy advocate and president of the Morning Star Institute, shared her insights into the important role NAGPRA plays in reversing the harms done to Indigenous ancestors and culture by researchers, federal agencies, and museums. She also spoke to the need for Tribes and their advocates to fully explore NAGPRA’s potential. James Riding In (Pawnee), founding member and associate professor in the department of American Indian Studies at ASU, spoke about his experiences helping Tribes implement NAGPRA and addressed some of ways Tribes can better negotiate with holding institutions. Shannon O’Loughlin, executive director and attorney with the Association on American Indian Affairs, discussed how NAGPRA should not be another way for museums to gather more data from Tribes to fill in gaps left by poor research—It is an enforceable law museums must respect with repatriation as its end goal. ASU Law’s Dean Emeritus Paul Bender, who facilitated the panel for National Dialogue on Tribal-Museum Relations that led to the passage of NAGPRA, moderated the event.

“The panelists’ insights into the origins of NAGPRA really brought the law into perspective,” said Professor Trevor Reed. “They showed us just how much the law can do for Tribal Nations as we build capacity and push to revise and develop it going forward.”

We’re grateful to these experts for sharing their time and knowledge

Pechanga Wills Clinic

Student Attorneys Serving Tribes

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Jens Camp (3L) remotely counsels an estate planning client via Zoom during the October Indian Wills Clinic with the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians.

As part of broader efforts to help tribal communities address COVID-19 implications, Indian Legal Clinic students increased estate planning assistance in Indian Country. Students met  remotely with 14 members of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians on drafting estate planning documents in October.

Nineteen wills, financial powers of attorney, and health care powers of attorney were executed during the project. The clients were grateful for the students’ “hard work, attention to detail, and graciousness,” said Robyn Delfino, Tribal Treasurer of the Pechanga Band, who managed administration of the program.

“We are thankful our students have the opportunity to bring this important service to the citizenry of the Pechanga Band,” said Professor Helen Burtis (’07). “These estate planning clinics give students unparalleled opportunities to counsel clients and learn the intricacies of drafting wills that conform with the American Indian Probate Reform Act.”

Students who participated are Mariah Black Bird (3L), Jens Camp (3L), Brendon Clark (3L), Aspen Miller (3L), Dustin Rector (3L) and MacArthur Stant (3L). They were supervised by Michele Fahley, Deputy General Counsel of the Pechanga Band, Mark Vezzola, Directing Attorney of the Escondido California Indian Legal Services, and Burtis.

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Helen Burtis (’07)
Faculty Associate, Indian Legal Program, ASU Law

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Job Opportunity – Associate Attorney

Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson, & Perry LLP is seeking an associate attorney with 1-5 years of experience in transactional and other Indian law experience for our San Diego, CA office.  Interested applicants should have strong credentials and a commitment to representing Native American interests, and a clerkship is also highly preferred. 

Sonosky, Chambers is a national law firm dedicated to representing Native American interests in a wide range of endeavors – including trial and appellate litigation, federal Indian law, tribal law, Indian self-determination and self-governance matters, transportation and infrastructure, natural resources, and economic development, among others.  More detail about the firm is available at www.sonosky.com.

To apply, candidates should send an application that includes a cover letter, resume, law school transcript, and a writing sample to Colin Hampson at champson@sonoskysd.com.  Or visit the website at http://www.sonosky.com/careers.html to apply.  This position is open until filled, but applicants should apply by January 15, 2020.  Applicants must be licensed to practice law in California, or willing to become licensed.

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