Native Vote: Preparing for 2022

Last month, the White House issued the “Report of the Interagency Steering Group on Native American Voting Rights” after hosting a series of regional consultations with tribal leaders and members and engaging in listening sessions with organizations advocating for improved tribal voting rights. ASU Law’s Indian Legal Clinic participated in the White House consultations as part of the clinic’s Arizona Native Vote Election Protection Project. The White House report explores the problems that Native American voters face and presents best practices and recommendations to mitigate and eliminate barriers that Native American voters encounter. The report featured the clinic’s polling locator tool created by Native Vote Fellow Torey Dolan (’19). 

In response to a special action petition filed in the Arizona Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of early voting in Arizona, Patty Ferguson-Bohnee and Judy Dworkin (JD ’86) represented the Inter Tribal Association of Arizona, Inc. (ITCA) in an amicus brief in the case. The amicus explained the history of Native American disenfranchisement in Arizona, that early voting is constitutional, that all early voting options are needed to address the unique barriers experienced by Native American voters, and that eliminating drop boxes and in-person early voting may expose Arizona to federal litigation. Native Vote Fellows Dolan and Blair Tarman-Toner (’20) assisted in drafting the brief.

The ITCA hosts monthly “Native Vote Strategy Sessions” to assist tribal governments in planning for upcoming elections. Native Vote Fellows Dolan and Tarman-Toner provided a legislative update at the “March Strategy Session.” Dolan and Tarman-Toner are continuing to track bills in the Arizona State Legislature that impact voting in tribal communities. 

We appreciate our valuable Native Vote partners and the ongoing efforts that impact our voting power.

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Blair Tarman-Toner (’21)
Native Vote Fellow, Indian Legal Program, ASU Law

ILC Students at Ak-Chin Court

On March 15, Gwendolyn Bell (2L) and David Streamer (3L) appeared in court for the first time as student attorneys. Bell and Streamer represented their clients at arraignment hearings at the Ak-Chin Indian Community Court in Maricopa, Arizona. Although both students had just returned from Nebraska where they participated in the ILP traveling class, “Contemporary Issues in Tribal Economic Development,” they entered the hearings with successfully negotiated plea agreements and their clients were released later that day after the judge accepted the plea agreements. 

The Indian Legal Clinic appreciates the guidance of Chief Judge Yancy Jencsok provides to clinic students during their formative career experiences.

Meeting Estate Planning Needs

Over the past month, the Indian Legal Clinic (ILC) has continued to assist tribal members with their estate planning. On Feb. 25-26, Professor Helen Burtis (’07) and clinic students Gwendolyn Bell (2L), Ryan Maxey (2L), Lena Neuner (2L), Claire Newfeld (2L), Ravynn Nothstine (2L) and David Streamer (3L) travelled to Santa Rosa Rancheria, California to draft and execute wills for the Tachi Yokut Tribe.

Students enjoyed the opportunity to interact directly with tribal members and assist them with completing a challenging life step. This was the first Wills Clinic with the Tachi Yokut Tribe. The ILC thanks the Tachi Yokut Tribal Council, especially Councilman Bryce Baga, for organizing and sponsoring the Indian Wills Clinic. 

ILC presentation David Streamer, Gwendolyn Bell, Claire Newfeld

On March 2, Bell, Newfeld and Streamer presented live over Zoom to the Elders Council of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in Connecticut. The students’ presentation included information on the importance of estate planning and how to prepare for the upcoming Wills Clinic. Members of the Elders Council were actively engaged in the presentation and prepared with many questions that students expertly fielded. 

The ILC is grateful to Chairperson Marjorie Colebut-Jackson and members of the Elders Council for joining the informational presentation and students look forward to meeting the Mashantucket Pequot elders again during the remote Indian Wills Clinic later this month. 

ILP Students Advanced to Sweet 16

Two ASU Law students in the National Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) – Autumn Shone (2L) and Chad Edwards (2L) – made ILP proud by advancing to the Sweet 16 in the Virtual 30th Annual National NALSA Moot Court Competition Feb. 26-27. 

Coached by Professor Stacy Leeds and Native Vote Fellow Torey Dolan (’19), Shone and Edwards briefed and argued important issues regarding Indian religious freedom, treaty rights and property interests. 

“It was a great experience to talk about Indian law with two women who have so much knowledge and experience,” Shone said. “They encouraged us when it got hard and challenged us when we needed it.”

The competition consisted of writing a brief and rounds of virtual oral arguments, of which Shone and Edwards participated in three rounds. 

“It was challenging, but I was able to practice my research, writing and oral skills on an important topic that affects Indian country,” Shone said. 

“The most valuable thing that I learned aside from a better understanding of the legal issues presented in our moot court problem, would be the amount of support that the ILP gives to its students,” Edwards said. “I don’t think I could have had any better coaches and I felt more than prepared for the competition at all times.”

For their final practice, the team held an online session with Judge David B. Gass (JD ’94) and Jens Camps (’21). 

“They helped us greatly in our last practice before the competition,” Shone said.

After the moot court competition, Shone and Edwards travelled down the street and visited with Judge Gass and Camp.

Thanks to ILP’s extensive network of professors, staff, alumni and friends, Shone and Edwards were able to participate in multiple practice rounds with a variety of lawyers and legal professionals before the competition. 

Please join us in congratulating this year’s team! 

Miccosukee Tribe (Miami) Staff Attorney position

The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida is currently in search of a full time Staff Attorney.  The Staff Attorney will  provide legal support to the In-House General Counsel on a variety of matters, including but not limited to, Real Estate, Employment, Indian Gaming, and Environmental issues. Federal Indian Law experience required. We are located at 37700 SW 8 STREET, MIAMI, FL 33194.

Here is the link to the position:   https://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=legal%20miccosukee&l=Miami%2C%20FL&vjk=5d4accad45e6485a

Job Opportunity: Assistant General Counsel – Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community

Definition: Under general supervision of the General Counsel, provides legal review and advice to the Salt River 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. Assignments in this job may include legal work for specific departments (i.e. – SRPMIC Public Safety Departments – Fire, Police, Emergency Management, and Department of Corrections).

See more at: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/srpmic/jobs/3461235/assistant-general-counsel?pagetype=jobOpportunitiesJobs

ILP Alum Swearing In

At the peak of the pandemic and ILP family refused to slow down! On Dec. 20, 2021, Alexander Mallory (’18) was sworn into the United States District Court for the District of Arizona by Judge Diane Humetewa (’93). 

“It was an honor to be sworn into the United States District Court for the District of Arizona by Judge Humetewa,” said Mallory.

“Clerking for Judge Humetewa has been such a privilege. She’s a brilliant jurist and a wonderful mentor, but even more, a kind person. Thank you, judge, for swearing me in. Thank you, family and friends, for inspiring and encouraging me. This achievement is as much yours as it is mine.”

Mallory also thanked Professor Patty Ferguson-Bohnee for sponsoring her application for admission.

Judge Humetewa also administered swearing-in ceremony for another fellow ILP alum, Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren (’20) in January 2021. Read more on our blogpost: Alumni: Taking the Oath in a Pandemic.

These ILP alumni represent a very powerful minority and when a member of the ILP family need support, strength or presence, ILP family is there to serve.