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!

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.”

Celebrating NALSA

Twelve ASU Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) students received the Native American Bar Association of Arizona (NABA-AZ) Scholarship for their academic achievement at the “NABA-AZ Seven Generations Virtual Awards Event and Silent Auction.” Congratulations to all the recipients, especially our ILP students: Hilary Edwards (3L), Dallon Echo Hawk (3L), Brittany Habbart (2L), Michael LaValley (2L), Victorialyn McCarthy (1L), Brianna Minjarez (3L), Cierra Moore (3L), Lena Neuner (2L), Taylor Norman (2L), Autumn Shone (2L), Alexandra Trousdale (1L) and Ruben Zendejas (2L). 

“NABA-AZ is proud to support these talented law students,” said NABA-AZ President and ILP Executive Director Kate Rosier. “The future is bright!”

We appreciate the committed support of NABA-AZ.

Nominated for The National Jurist magazine’s Law Student of the Year

David Streamer, JD Candidate 2022
Indian Legal Program, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University

David Streamer is a second-year law student from the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians in Southern California. David was elected to serve his tribe as a tribal council member in 2018 and re-elected in 2019.

Deeply rooted
Born in his home on the reservation, David continues to serve his tribe while attending ASU Law, with his sole focus on making a positive impact in his community. He ran for council because he thinks young people need to step up and help be a bridge for reservation families. Wanting to create something special in the community for everyone, David is diving into his ASU Law classes as part of the college’s nationally recognized Indian Legal Program. He says ASU Law’s faculty and courses are teaching him how to better serve his tribal government so that he can apply these skills immediately.

Forging ahead
With the past year particularly challenging for David’s community due to the pandemic and power outages, he worked together with the tribe to apply for grants and find resources to help families cover basic needs. Hoping to serve his tribe for many years, David wants to help create more tribally owned and operated businesses and help the youth with educational assistance. It is important to David that young people finish high school and go to college.

Community building
Recently in David’s personal capacity, he decided to go out and grade every family’s driveway in the community. When asked why he did that, he said because people needed it done, and he had time and wanted to help. His heart is on the reservation and in giving back to his tribal members so that they thrive as a community.

David was selected as ASU Law’s nominee for The National Jurist magazine’s 2021 Law Student of the Year recognition. David is a thoughtful tribal leader who has harnessed the power of good for his community. Attending law school is a significant commitment and David’s dedication to his law career and tribal community deserves to be celebrated.

NABA-AZ Scholarship Winners

Ten ASU NALSA students received the NABA-AZ Scholarship for their academic achievement. Congratulations to all the recipients, especially our ILP students: Mariah Black Bird (3L), Brendan Clark (3L), Hilary Edwards (2L), Dallon Echo Hawk (2L), Brittany Habbart (1L), Michael LaValley (1L), Aspen Miller (3L), Taylor Norman (2L), McArthur Stant II (3L) and Ruben Zendejas (1L). 

Thank you to NABA-AZ for continuing to support Arizona law students, especially during the pandemic.

NABA-AZ will recognize all the scholarship winners on March 26 at Noon during a virtual event. Please join the event and celebrate our outstanding students.

2021 ILP Alumni Awards – Call for Nominations

The ILP alumni awards are now open. Nominate your classmates and friends! The ILP Awards include Professional Achievement, Alumni Service Award, and Emerging Leader Award. Nominations are due March 5, 2021! Nomination materials should be sent by email to: Kate.Rosier@asu.edu. Awards will be presented at the ILP Alumni & Friends Virtual Awards Ceremony. Details for date, time and location will be shared soon.

Nomination Guidelines

ILP Professional Achievement Award – This award recognizes outstanding achievement in Indian Law or Tribal Law throughout an individual’s career. The award honors ILP alumni whose achievements in the field of Indian Law or Tribal Law have brought distinction to themselves and real benefit to the Indian community. Nomination Package Requirements:

  • Describe the unique professional achievements in the field of Indian Law or Tribal Law that has brought distinction to the candidate. (maximum two pages)
  • Describe the recognized contributions made by this candidate that demonstrate a benefit to the larger community. (maximum one page)
  • Describe the ways in which the candidate’s achievements are truly extraordinary or exceptional. (maximum one page)
  • Provide at least two letters of support from individuals that can speak to the candidate’s impact on his or her profession.
  • Letters of support should speak to the magnitude of the individual’s impact in the practice of Indian or tribal law or in the Indian community.
  • Provide a 200 word bio of the nominee.
  • Past winners include: Kathy Bowman (’86), Rob Rosette (’96), Diane Enos (’92), Ben Hanley (’71), Herb Yazzie (’75).

ILP Alumni Service Award – This award is given for outstanding service to the Indian Legal Program, and is awarded for extended, extraordinary service to the Indian Legal Program. Nomination Package Requirements

  • Describe the ways in which the candidate has served or supported the ILP and the ILP alumni. Examples can include serving on committees, boards, CLEs, mentoring ILP students, or other volunteer or fundraising efforts or funding commitments. (maximum one page)
  • Describe the ways this service been truly extraordinary. (maximum one page)
  • Describe how the candidate’s service has benefited the ILP. (maximum one page)
  • Please provide at least two letters of support from ILP alumni as part of the nomination package.
  • Provide a 200 word bio of the nominee.
  • Past winners include: Verrin Kewenvoyouma (’04), Ann Marie Downes (’94), Mary Shirley (’92) and Jeff Harmon (’05)

ILP Emerging Leader Award – This award acknowledges and encourages service to Indian Country and the ILP by alumni who are less than ten years out of law school. The award recognizes outstanding achievements in their professional career, volunteer work, and promotion or support of the ILP and/or ASU NALSA. Nomination Package Requirements.

  • Describe how the candidate has achieved professional success in their legal career.
  • Describe the candidate’s volunteer work.
  • Describe how the candidate achieved an exceptional level of service while balancing the demands of being a recent graduate. (maximum one page)
  • Describe how the candidate was proactive in efforts to become involved in ILP and/or ILP alumni activities. (maximum one page)
  • Describe how the candidate’s service has been sustained over a long period of time or how the service has been innovative or beneficial. (maximum one page)
  • Provide two letters of support from fellow ILP alumni.
  • Provide a 200 word bio of the nominee.
  • Past winners include: Carolyn Angus-Hornbuckle (’09), Nikki Borchardt Campbell (’09), Steve Bodmer (’06), Elizabeth Medicine Crow (’05), Charles Galbraith (’07), Matthew Campbell (’08) and Michael Corey Hinton (’11)

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

ILP & NALSA Virtual Graduation Ceremony – Today!

The ILP would like to invite the #ILPFamily to join us in celebrating the graduation of this year’s ILP students. Our virtual ceremony will be broadcast live via YouTube Premiere on  May 13 at 1:30 p.m. (MST) 

If you are unable to join us at that time, you may watch the video at a later time on the premiere page.

Set your reminders, post your congratulatory messages, live chat and tune in to watch our students graduate! 

Tune in at: law.asu.edu/ilpgrad2020