Our year for Indian Gaming & Tribal Self-Governance Programs

The Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance Programs (“Programs”) at ASU Law had a successful academic year and we congratulate all the 2022 Master of Laws (LLM) and Master of Legal Studies (MLS) graduates.

In August, the Programs welcomed its current director, Derrick Beetso, a 2010 graduate of the Indian Legal Program (ILP). Beetso is a member of the Navajo Nation who previously served as general counsel for the National Congress of American Indians where he co-directed the Tribal Supreme Court Project alongside colleagues at the Native American Rights Fund, and before that he served as attorney-advisor for the Western Region of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the BIA’s San Carlos Irrigation Project. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge working in and around federal Indian law and policy and said, “the Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance Programs provide practical learning opportunities for all law students, whether they seek a JD, LLM, or MLS degree, and I’m so proud to help guide how the Programs engage with and respond to Native communities in Arizona and throughout the Nation. It has been a pleasure to work with the ILP team to help realize the professional goals of such a dynamic cohort of students dedicated to improving the lives and well-being of Indian Country.”

Two faculty associates also joined ASU Law’s Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance Programs: Jay Spaan, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, taught Tribal Self-Governance I and Tribal Self-Governance II, and Michael Hoenig taught Indian Gaming I and Indian Gaming II. Faculty Associates Paul Spruhan taught Civil Jurisdiction in Indian Country and Helen Burtis (’07) taught American Indian Law.

MLS student Roicia Banks enjoyed Professor Spruhan’s class. “I appreciated Professor Spruhan’s extensive knowledge of Federal Indian Law,” Banks said. “But it was more important to me that as a man married to a tribal member, Professor Spruhan was very respectful, woke, and straight forward.”

“As a member of a federally recognized tribe, I took many of the deciding court cases that shaped federal Indian law personally in that I felt it was my duty to understand the past to better understand where we are today,” Richard Picard (MLS ’22) said. “Professor Burtis ensured that all relevant Indian law topics were covered thoroughly and that they were understood as clearly and easily as possible.”

Francisco Olea (LLM ’22) worked for Professor Hoenig in 2016 during his internship with the National Indian Gaming Commission in Washington, D.C. and six years later, Olea was glad to be enrolled in his online Indian Gaming II class.

In September, in partnership with ASU Law’s Allan “Bud” Selig Sports Law and Business Program, the Programs hosted a timely webinar entitled “Betting on Arizona: the Future of Indian Gaming and Sports Betting in Arizona.” The webinar was well attended and featured key attorneys that represented Arizona Indian tribes in negotiating recent compacts and state legislation allowing Arizona’s tribes to participate in the State’s recent sports wagering operation directed by the Arizona Gaming Commission. The rollout of sports wagering in Arizona last year has brought many instances of first impression and the Programs’ students and staff are at the forefront of thinking through various issues presented and helping envision what the future holds for tribes in this area nationally. Beetso has provided regular commentary to gaming publications on recent sports wagering developments; updated the Arizona Indian Gaming Association on current legal and policy issues; and helped moderate a sports betting panel for the Federal Bar Association’s D.C. Indian Law Conference and the ILP’s Wiring the Rez conference.

In October, Beetso taught his first course, Federal Advocacy for the Tribal Client, the ILP’s traveling class at ASU’s Washington, D.C. campus during the fall semester break. The course is designed to instruct students on the basic principles behind effective advocacy before federal agencies, Congress, and the Supreme Court.

Students had the opportunity to engage with professionals, congressional staff, and administrative officials to better understand how federal Indian law and policy is shaped and implemented. While in town, the students also had time to tour the Nation’s Capitol and make professional connections with practicing attorneys during networking opportunities.

In November, the Programs had the pleasure of attending the ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly opened Yuhaaviatam of San Manuel Event Center within ASU’s California Center in downtown Los Angeles at the historic Herald Examiner Building. The Programs accompanied ILP faculty, the ILP’s esteemed Salt River Scholars, law school leadership, and representatives from the office of ASU President Michael Crow to celebrate this momentous occasion and important partnership with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. The Band has donated generously to the law school’s endeavors to increase its impact in the Los Angeles area and to provide meaningful and practical education opportunities for Native students interested in furthering Indian gaming and tribal self-governance. The Programs are currently planning a community teaching event, to be held at the Yuhaaviatam of San Manuel Event Center this summer, which will showcase the exciting work our students are engaged in, the talent of the law school’s faculty, and the partnerships and community building efforts made possible by substantial investments from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the Mohegan Tribe, and other important donors.

Finally, the Programs were honored to host a lunch lecture with Tribal leaders from the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas to share their unique history and the relevance of the Tribe’s bingo operation to its self-governance. The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe and its bingo operation await a decision from the Supreme Court on a case, Ysleta del Sur Pueblo v. Texas, that will have a direct impact on their self-governance.

The Tribe shared its role in the current litigation before the Court and spoke with students about their interest in Indian gaming and the case specifically. Oral arguments in Ysleta del Sur Pueblo v. Texas were held February 22, 2022 and a decision from the Court is expected soon. The Programs hope to invite tribal leadership from both the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas and Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo back once the Court’s opinion is published. 

Job Opportunity: Attorney

DOJ Office of Tribal Justice (OTJ)
Washington, DC

Application Deadline:
Friday, June 17, 2022

The Office of Tribal Justice (OTJ) is the primary point of contact for the Department of Justice with federally recognized Tribes, and advises the Department on legal and policy matters pertaining to American Indians and Alaska Natives. OTJ promotes internal uniformity of Department policies and litigating positions relating to Indian country and ensures that the Department clearly communicates policies and positions to Tribal leaders.

Our office places a high value on diversity of experiences and perspectives and encourages applications from individuals from all ethnic and racial backgrounds, veterans, LGBT individuals, and persons with disabilities.

Job Description:
OTJ is seeking an experienced attorney to serve as Attorney Advisor to provide counsel and assistance to the Director and Deputy Director. OTJ attorneys:
-Provide advice on significant tribal justice matters and assist in policy and legislative development and review.
-Provide advice to OTJ leadership on Department components litigating, protecting or otherwise addressing Native American rights and/or related issues.
-Review proposed legal actions submitted by divisions that require OTJ approval or coordination.
-Perform legal research on assigned questions or law or policy and prepare reports and memoranda.
-Assist in coordinating with attorneys and officials of the Department, other government agencies, and interested parties to provide guidance and advice to ensure compliance with statutory, regulatory and policy requirements.
-Assist in maintaining liaison with federally recognized tribes, and work with the appropriate federal, tribal, state, and local officials, professional associations, and public interest groups.
-Develop, coordinate and execute special projects as assigned by the Director or the Deputy Director.

Due to COVID-19, if selected, you may be expected to telework for an undefined period under the Department’s evacuation authority, even if your home is located outside the local commuting area. Employees in this status may be notified of a requirement to report in person to the component workplace with an advance notice of not less than 30 days. Prior to a requirement to report to the workplace, employees may be eligible to request to continue to telework one or more days a pay period depending upon the terms of the component’s telework policy.

Applicants must possess a J.D. degree with at least two years of post J.D. experience, and be an active member of a bar (any jurisdiction). Applicants must be proficient in analyzing complex legal information, producing clear and thorough written work, effectively advocating for a legal position, and have excellent interpersonal skills. Experience with Federal Indian Law is required. Prosecution and/or litigation experience is strongly preferred but not required. The incumbent must be able to obtain a Secret-level security clearance.

For full job description and application, click following link: Attorney Vacancy

Job Opportunity: Associate Attorney

Maier Pfeffer Kim Geary & Cohen LLP
San Francisco Bay Area
Associate Attorney

Maier Pfeffer Kim Geary & Cohen LLP is an established law firm located in the San Francisco Bay Area that represents American Indian tribes and tribal casinos on a
wide range of legal matters.

Maier Pfeffer Kim Geary & Cohen LLP is looking for an attorney who has five or more years experience representing
tribes and tribal entities. The firm’s five partners and four associates have nearly 200 years of collective experience representing California Indian tribes and tribal enterprises. We believe in collegiality, mutual respect and maintaining a level of
staffing that allows the firm to promptly respond to our tribal clients who utilize us as general counsel for their governmental and commercial entities while at the same time allowing us to maintain a healthy work-life balance. This is an excellent opportunity for an attorney seeking professional growth and stable employment in a practice that will fully utilize their training, knowledge, and experience in representing tribes and tribal enterprises.

Minimum qualifications include:

  • Juris Doctorate degree from an ABA accredited law school;
  • Status as an active member in good standing with the CA bar or willing to sit for the
    next CA bar exam;
  • Ability to relocate to the San Francisco Bay Area;
  • Five or more years of tribal/Indian law experience;
  • Proven skills in effectively communicating with tribal councils, gaming management, opposing counsel, and federal/state/local agencies;
  • Excellent analytical, research, and writing abilities;
  • Experience drafting transactional documents; and
  • Ability to work well independently and as a member of a team.

Duties and Responsibilities include all the duties that typically are required of experienced tribal counsel.

We offer very competitive compensation, relocation expenses and full benefits.

Interested candidates should send their resumes to: hiring@jmandmplaw.com.

Taking the Oath

ILP alumni proved that this is no obstacle they can’t overcome.

Very recently, Candace Begody (’21) took her oath of admission to the State Bar of Arizona. Candace, who is from Ganado, AZ, is a member of the Navajo Nation and expressed her complete gratitude. “I am feeling incredibly blessed to have taken my attorney oath to practice law in the State of Arizona,” Candace said. “I want to send a special thank you to all my family, friends, my mentor Rob Rosette (’96) and my Rosette, LLP colleagues, the ASU Indian Legal Program and ASU Law, and all my mentors along the way, of of whom have shown me so much love and support through this journey. I also want to thank my mentors Tom Galbraith and Judge Randall Warner for making this ceremony so beautiful and special.” Maricopa Superior Court Judge Randall Administered the oath in Phoenix, AZ.

Across the ocean, another recent grad celebrated her big accomplishment. On April 29, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’ Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexandro C. Castro administered the attorney’s oath to Rellani Ogumoro (’20) at the Carolinian Utt. The Carolinian Utt is a traditional gathering place akin to the center of traditional Refaluwasch society – it is where important decisions were made, safeguards the canoes and fishing equipment, and the site for gathering members of respective clans. Rellani was joined by all judges of the Commonwealth’s Superior Court (where she is currently a law clerk), family, and friends.

“I am so thankful for all who helped me along this journey,” Rellani said. “I am so grateful for PLSI and the ILP’s investment in my legal education and bar exam preparation. I look forward to the work ahead and continuing the ILP tradition of alumni serving indigenous communities.”

In December 2021, Alexander Mallory (’19) was sworn into the United States District Court for the District of Arizona by Judge Diane Humetewa (’93). 

We are so proud of you all!