Former ASU Law staffer to join Obama Administration in Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Office

Congratulations to Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes!

The White House appointed Ann Marie Downes, ASU Law Class of 1994 and former executive director of the Indian Legal Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, to serve in the assistant secretary’s office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), part of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Downes is now deputy assistant secretary for policy and economic development.

“I’m a big believer in public service,” Downes said about the opportunity to join BIA, where she will work under Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn. “It was hard to leave my team at ASU, but it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. When you get the chance to serve, you take it.”

In her new role, Downes will oversee the Office of Self-Governance and the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development. She also will be a part of a new initiative, the White House Council on Native American Affairs. The council establishes a national policy to ensure that the federal government engages in a government-to-government relationship with federally recognized tribes in a more coordinated and effective manner.

“It’s an active and thriving office,” Downes said. “I see so much progress and positive steps being taken for Indian Country under this administration, and I look forward to continuing that work.”

Downes, a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, served as policy adviser for Tribal Affairs under former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano before joining the Indian Legal Program at ASU.

“Ann Marie has dedicated her entire career to serving the needs of Indian Country, and I could not be more proud of her as she answers this call to public service,” said College of Law Dean Douglas Sylvester. “We are extremely grateful for the work she accomplished as part of the ASU community and wish her the best in her new role.”

Professor Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, faculty director of the Indian Legal Program, said she will miss Downes’ leadership, “but the BIA will now have another incredible lawyer. Although the College of Law will feel the loss, the Indian Legal Program will continue to be the nation’s largest and strongest — and plans already are underway to find Ann Marie’s replacement.”

“The Department of Interior is gaining an invaluable resource with Ann Marie joining their team,” Ferguson-Bohnee added. “With her experience, Ann Marie takes a diverse background of tribal law and policy to an agency that works primarily with Indian tribes on a daily basis.”

Downes is a licensed attorney in California and earned her J.D. from the ASU College of Law in 1994.

Congrats to ILP Alums from the Class of 2006 Steve Bodmer and Courtney Monteiro for being recipients of the 40 under 40 award!

Congrats to ILP Alums from the Class of 2006 Steve Bodmer and Courtney Monteiro for being recipients of the 40 under 40!

The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) is pleased to announce its 2014 “Native American 40 Under 40” award recipients have been selected. This prestigious award recognizes 40 emerging American Indian leaders from across Indian Country who have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication and made significant contributions in business and/or in their community.

Save the Date – Indian Legal Program Welcome Dinner – August 27, 2014

Please join us in welcoming the ILP’s newly admitted students of 2014.

Date: August 27, 2014
Time:  6:00 p.m.
Place: Round House Cafe, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Comm, 10005 E. Osbourne Rd, Scottsdale, AZ

The Indian Legal Program Welcome Dinner brings together faculty, current students, alumni, law school staff and administration, and legal and native communities to welcome the ILP’s 2014 incoming students.  Please join us!

RSVP – Darlene Lester at or call 480-965-7715.

See below map to SRPMIC  Two Waters Complex, 10005 E. Osbourne Rd, Scottsdale, AZ

Please see Google Directions at

Changes in Indian law, reservations to be examined at College of Law’s annual William C. Canby Jr. Lecture

For Immediate Release
For more information contact:
Julie Gunderson, 480-727-5458,

Changes in Indian law, reservations to be examined at College of Law’s annual William C. Canby Jr. Lecture
Reid Peyton Chambers, a former Associate Solicitor for Indian Affairs with the U.S Department of Interior and founding partner in a law firm dedicated to representing Indian tribes nationwide, will deliver the Seventh Annual William C. Canby Jr. Lecture on Friday, Jan. 31, at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Chambers, who has dedicated his career to teaching Indian law and representing Indian tribes, will give a talk titled, “Reflections on the Changes in Indian Law and Indian Reservations from 1969 to the Present.”

“It’s a personal story for me,” Chambers said. “I’ll be giving my assessment of the changes I’ve seen on reservations and in Indian law since I first began my career in the late 1960s.”

Chambers said one of those significant changes began when Indian leaders on reservations began pushing for tribal sovereignty.

“Before the 1960s the federal government was paternalistic when it came to how they controlled Indian reservations,” Chambers said. “Tribal leaders wanted to get rid of that kind of control and establish their own governments.”

Chambers said that beginning in the late 1960s, the federal government for virtually the first time ever became willing to listen to the demands of Indian leaders, and policies from both Lyndon B. Johnson’s Administration and  Richard M. Nixon’s Administration led to tribal governments  reasserting sovereignty over their reservations.  Chambers said it then became the goal of lawyers representing tribes to affirm in court  that  tribes did have a right to  govern their reservations, as well as to protect tribes’ other treaty rights such as to water and to hunt and fish.

The lecture, presented by the Indian Legal Program (ILP) at the College of Law at Arizona State University, is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of Armstrong Hall on the Tempe campus. It is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a reception in the Steptoe & Johnson Rotunda.

The lecture honors Judge William C. Canby Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, a founding faculty member of the College of Law. Judge Canby taught the first classes in Indian law there and was instrumental in creating the ILP.

Chambers, served as Associate Solicitor of Indian Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior from 1973 to 1976. He was the Department’s chief legal officer responsible for Indian and Alaska Native matters. Chambers then joined the late Marvin J. Sonosky, a longtime attorney for Indian tribes, and Harry R. Sachse to found the law firm that is now Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, LLP. The firm specializes in Indian law.

Robert Clinton, Foundation Professor of Law at the College of Law, who invited Chambers to speak at the College of Law said Chambers experience in the field over the last four decades makes him the ideal candidate to speak to the changes that have taken place.

“He has the broadest and widest perspective of anyone in the country, on how Indian law has developed,” Clinton said.

Chambers has taught a seminar on federal Indian law at Georgetown University Law Center and at Yale Law School. He also co-authored the 1982-revised edition of Felix S. Cohen’s landmark treatise on federal Indian law and has published numerous articles.

Chambers taught law for three years as a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles and worked extensively with the Native American Rights Fund and California Indian Legal Services.

For more info or to RSVP to attend in person: please visit

If you cannot attend a live webcast of this event will be available at

Job Opening – SALT RIVER PIMA-MARICOPA INDIAN COMMUNITY -Assistant General Counsel (Government)

invites applications for the position of:
Assistant General Counsel (Government)

An Equal Opportunity Employer

SALARY: $106,539.00 – $157,148.00 Annually


OPENING DATE: 09/25/13
CLOSING DATE: 10/25/13 11:59 PM
Definition:  Under general supervision of the General Counsel, provides legal review and advice to the SaltRiver Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC or Community) government.  Ensures that applicable laws are followed so that tribal sovereignty is protected and enhanced.  Provides assistance to avoid or prevent expensive legal disputes and litigation and protects the Community’s legal interests.  This job class is treated as FLSA Exempt.
Essential Functions:  (Essential functions, may vary among positions, but may include the following tasks, knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics. This list of tasks ILLUSTRATIVE ONLY and is not intended to be a comprehensive listing of tasks performed by all positions in this classification).Tasks:


  1. Reviews legal documents and provides legal advice, to protect SRPMIC interests; may be assigned as counsel for civil litigation involving the Community and its departments.    Advises supervisor, Community departments, divisions and enterprises and the Community Council.  Reviews law, rules, regulations, contracts, intergovernmental agreements, grant documents and related legal documents.


  1. Provides legal guidance on personnel, program and other related issues to various departments of the SRPMIC.  Drafts legal documents, ordinances and policies.  May provide functional, project specific supervision to support staff.


  1. Works with a broad range of clients such as Council members, government employees, boards, and committees and other officials, many of whom are Community members.  Interacts with Community members and the public on a day-to-day basis.


  1. Represents SRPMIC at internal, external or intergovernmental meetings related to the various interests of the Community.  Attendances at after-hour meetings maybe required.


  1. Conducts legal research and provides advice related to Community interests, tribal sovereignty, tribal jurisdiction, taxation, membership, health and human resources, law enforcement, human resources/personnel matters, civil litigation, commercial transactions, business law and/or other areas.


  1. Assists in the preparation of legal and technical correspondence for the President, Vice President, Community Manager, and General Counsel.


  1. Keeps abreast of federal law, regulations, administrative and court decisions in Indian law and interacts with other tribal, federal, state or local agencies on behalf of the Community.


  1. May supervise non-attorneys, law clerks, interns, and/or externs.


  1. Performs other job related duties that enhance and/or facilitate department operations.



Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Other Characteristics:


  • Knowledge of the history, culture, laws, rules, customs and traditions of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
  • Knowledge of representing clients as legal counsel.
  • Knowledge of Federal Indian law.
  • Knowledge of the principles and practices of the legal profession.
  • Knowledge of case law appropriate to the issues and cases assigned.
  • Knowledge of legal research methods, legal research software, and use of data bases.
  • Skill in interpreting and applying statues, ordinances and other laws.
  • Skill in interpreting and applying rules, regulations, and policies.
  • Skill in establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with SRPMIC Administration,  Community Council members, Community members officials  and appropriate outside entities.
  • Skill in communicating and instructing others, using both technical and non-technical language as appropriate to provide legal counsel and explanation to those for whom the subject matter is unfamiliar and/or difficult to understand.


  • Ability to get along well and cooperate with others.
  • Ability to communicate orally and in writing with administrative staff, community member officials, outside entities and co-workers.
  • Ability to perform legal research.
  • Ability to analyze difficult and complex legal issues and apply legal principles.
  • Ability to adapt to changing work situations and assignments.
  • Ability to exercise resourcefulness in addressing new problems.
  • Ability to present statements of fact, law and argument clearly and logically, in both written and oral form.
  • Ability to produce written documents with clearly organized thoughts, using proper sentence construction, punctuation and grammar.
  • Ability to set priorities and be organized in order to meet deadlines.
  • Ability to analyze and aid in drafting and commenting on proposed legislation.
  • Ability to appear as counsel of record in litigation or other adjudicatory proceedings.
Education and Experience:  Graduation from an American Bar Associated accredited college or university with a Law Degree (Juris Doctor) and at least three (3) years of experience as a licensed attorney representing Native American tribes in legal affairs.  Experience that has provided knowledge of social, political, and legal framework of tribal governments is essential.
Equivalency:  Any equivalent combination of experience and education that will allow the applicant to satisfactorily perform the duties of the job may be considered when filling this position.
Special Requirements:  Must be a member in good standing with a state bar association or if currently not a member of the Arizona Bar must take and pass the Arizona Bar Exam and be admitted to the Arizona Bar within one (1) year from the date of hire.  In addition, candidates must have the ability to practice in Federal District Court if required.  Must attend a minimum of 15 hours annual continuing legal education as related to job and approved by supervisor.Prior to hire as an employee, applicants will be subject to drug and alcohol testing. Will be required to pass a pre-employment background/fingerprint check. Employees are subject to random drug and alcohol testing.“SRPMIC is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer” Preference will be given to a qualified Community Member, then a qualified Native American and then other qualified candidate.


In order to obtain consideration for Community member/Native American preference, applicant must submit a copy of Tribal Enrollment card or CIB which indicates enrollment in a Federally Recognized Native American Tribe by one of the following methods:

1) attach to application

2)  fax (480-362-5860) 

3) mail or hand deliver to Human Resources.


Documentation must be received by position closing date.
The IHS/BIA CIB form is not accepted.
Your Tribal ID/CIB must be submitted to HR-Recruitment-Two Waters.

10005 E Osborn Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85256
employment@srpmic-nsn.govPreference will be given to a qualified Community Member, then a qualified Native American and then other qualified candidate.

Job #100067-130925

Native research trailblazer joins ranks of ASU’s most prestigious scholars

Rebecca Tsosie has received the highest faculty honor at Arizona State University, as a 2012 Regents’ Professor. Tsosie is a professor of law and the Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar in ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Additionally, she is an affiliate professor in the American Indian Studies Program and a faculty fellow in the Center for the Study of Law, Science and Technology.

Watch full size video.

Distinguished professor and executive director hired for Indian Legal Program

Distinguished professor and executive director hired for Indian Legal Program

Robert Miller
Gregory Hill
Douglas Sylvester

The College of Law has hired Robert J. Miller, one of the nation’s leading scholars in Indian Law, and Gregory L. Hill, who will serve as Executive Director of the Indian Legal Program.

“We consider our Indian Legal Program the nation’s leading organization devoted to improving the legal systems that affect tribal governments,” said Dean Douglas Sylvester. “The addition of Bob and Greg underscores our commitment not only to providing unique opportunities and experiences to students that relate to Indian law, but also to furthering the Program’s other key objectives, including maintaining and expanding our close relationships with American Indian nations and other native governments and organizations.”

Miller will join the faculty in the fall of 2013. As a professor at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Ore., since 1999, Miller has taught various courses, including Federal Indian Law, American Indians and International Law and Civil Procedure.

He worked at the Stoel Rives law firm from 1992-1995 and practiced Indian law with Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker from 1995-1999. An enrolled citizen of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, Miller is Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals of the Grand Ronde Tribe and sits as a judge for other tribes.

He is the author of two books, “Native America, Discovered and Conquered: Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, and Manifest Destiny” and “Reservation Capitalism: Economic Development in Indian Country.” He is also co-author of “Discovering Indigenous Lands: The Doctrine of Discovery in the English Colonies.”

“I am very excited about joining the College of Law and its outstanding Indian Legal Program,” Miller said. “I am looking forward to working with the ASU students, faculty and staff and to enjoying many rewarding intellectual and professional experiences at the College.”

Hill, a practicing attorney for 18 years, has held various leadership positions in the legal profession since 1995. A member of the Oneida Nation, Six Nations of Indians, he most recently served as a capital attorney in the Office of the Public Defender in Tampa, Fla., where he provided legal services to indigent clients.

He is a former deputy director of Stetson University College of Law’s National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law. Additionally, Hill served as Assistant Attorney General in the state of Florida, ran a solo legal practice earlier in his career, and clerked for the general counsel of the Seneca Nation while in law school.

“I am honored to be selected to serve as the executive director of the Indian Legal Program,” Hill said. “The chance to contribute to such a distinguished program, to help our students become better prepared for the future they will encounter, and to directly support the Indian communities will create opportunities that I am eager to pursue.”

The Indian Legal Program was established in 1988 to provide legal education and generate scholarship in the area of Indian law and to undertake public service to tribal governments. It trains students to effectively engage the representation of Native peoples and seeks to promote an understanding of the differences between the legal systems of Indian nations and those of the state and federal governments. The Program is among the most renowned of its kind, and its graduates work at all levels of tribal, state and federal government, as well as in private practice. The Program provides a unique set of academic and clinical opportunities for students and is committed to maintaining strong partnerships with American Indian nations and other native governments and organizations.