Derrick Beetso (JD’ 10) Lunch Bingo – Recording

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.

To listen to recording, click here.

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Navajo Nation Law CLE 2019: ILP alumni were a big hit!

On Oct. 25, we held our annual Navajo Nation Law CLE. We had a great group of speakers who gave presentations on different topics that affect the Navajo Nation, and we are so grateful to them for joining us. 

Alumni presenters included Jordan Hale (’09), Shawn Attakai (’00), Brian Lewis (’09), Candice French (’17), and Colin Bradley (’14).

Top left to right: Brian Lewis (’09), Colin Bradley (’14), Brian Curley-Chambers (’18), Jordan Hale (’09), Executive Director Kate Rosier, Krystalyn Kinsel (’15) and Kristyne Schaaf-Olson (’15). Bottom left to right: Michael Bennett (’16) and Raven Attwood (’15).

Thank you also to all who attended! And a special thank you to our alumni who offered donations to our program!

Pechanga Wills Clinic

The 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 attorneys.

“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,” said Bodmer.

“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 program provided.

“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.”

Cora 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.”

Shayla 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 legal future.”

“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.”

Indigenous People’s Day 2019 – Students’ Thoughts

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!

Our 12 students who took the “Federal Advocacy for the Tribal Client” class in Washington, D.C., also shared their thoughts in an Instagram takeover. Check out our highlight @ilpatasu

Fun Facts – Faculty Law School Experience Pt. 2: Meet Our New Professors!

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.


October 2019 Faculty Updates

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 Empire.”
  • 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!
  • On 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.
  • On 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 broadcast here.
  • 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.

Job Opportunity – Attorney General

Tohono O’odham Legislative Branch
Sells, Arizona

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

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.

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.

Interested applicants should email a completed application form (available at, 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
(520) 383-5260 (office)

Download full job description here.

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