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

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

Success at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for the Indian Legal Clinic

The Indian Legal Clinic represented the appellants in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Case no. 21-35230, Newtok Village v. Andy Patrick) in an appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Alaska that involved defending tribal sovereignty from unlawful intrusion by federal courts.

On behalf of their clients, the clinic appealed an adverse permanent injunction issued by the District Court of Alaska and argued that tribal sovereignty to resolve intratribal disputes prevents federal courts from intervening on such matters and that the District Court of Alaska lacked jurisdiction. On December 22, 2021, the Ninth Circuit unanimously agreed with the appellants’ arguments and vacated the district court’s orders. Judge Richard C. Tallman wrote the opinion, concluding, “Continuing to enforce the permanent injunction here risks the federal court’s impermissible involvement in interpreting the Tribe’s constitution and laws.” 

Indian Legal Clinic Director Patty Ferguson-Bohnee argued the case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on November 9, 2021. Watch the recording of the oral argument. Vinnie Amato (3L) assisted with research, and Native Vote Fellow Torey Dolan (’19) and Jens Camp (’21) assisted in drafting the briefs before the Ninth Circuit. Jacob Broussard (3L) provided notes for the oral argument prep, and Native Vote Fellow Blair Tarman-Toner (’21) and Dolan assisted in preparing and refining Ferguson-Bohnee’s oral argument. The clinic collaborated with co-counsel James J. Davis, Jr. of the Northern Justice Project LLC in Anchorage, Alaska.

Performing Estate Planning in Indian Country

The Indian Legal Clinic successfully and safely completed two in-person Indian Wills Clinics with Quechan Indian Tribe and Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. Under the direction of Professor Helen Burtis (’07), 3L student attorneys Jacob Broussard, Liliana Elliot, Lindsay Ficklin, Zaine Ristau and Dwight Witherspoon drafted estate planning documents that are designed to provide allotment owners with wills that conform to the provisions of American Indian Probate Reform Act. The past few years have highlighted the need for elders especially to execute Indian wills.

In September, the clinic executed 14 wills for members of the Quechan Indian Tribe near Yuma, Arizona. In October, the clinic executed 16 wills for members of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians in Temecula, California. 

Students appreciated the hands-on experience with Native American clients, especially being able to interact with clients in person again, albeit with safety precautions. “I find doing the Wills Clinic really rewarding,” said Elliott. “I learned a lot that I think will be helpful as a future Indian Law attorney.” 

Witherspoon added, “I appreciate working with Native American clients and assisting them with their allotments that pertain specifically to Native American clients in addressing their estate planning needs.” 

We appreciate the tribes for their generous hospitality and hosting the Indian Wills Clinic at their facilities. The clinic is planning additional Indian Wills Clinics for next semester. 

Innovative Traveling Class

This year, 26 ILP students spent their fall break in Washington, D.C. for the “Federal Advocacy for the Tribal Client” traveling class. The class offers practical application of the government-to-government relationship, which was led by ASU Law’s Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance Director Derrick Beetso (’10).

With the support and commitment from ASU Law and ILP alumni, and other innovative professionals volunteering their time, the students gained a valuable learning experience. The volunteers included Saba Bazzazieh (’08), Allison Binney (’00), Tana Fitzpatrick (’08), Charlie Galbraith (’06), Brian Gunn, Sam Hirsch, Krystalyn Kinsel (’15), Matthew Murdock (’13), Sarah Murray, Breann Swann Nu’uhiwa (LLM ’09), Rebecca Ross (’10), Stephanie Sfiridis (’16), Ryan Smith

(’98), Joel West Williams, Rani Williams (’18), the Office of Tribal Justice at the Department of Justice, the Office of Regulatory Affairs at the Department of the Interior, the Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs, the House Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples, and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. 

In addition to participating in the class, students met with ILP partners and supportive law professionals. On Oct. 13, students, alumni, faculty and friends joined together at the Arizona State University Barrett and O’Connor Center for our D.C. Mixer. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend!

“The course could potentially open so many doors to exciting new possibilities,” said MLS Richard Picard. “While no one could ever replace Professors Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes and Larry Roberts, Professor Beetso is a wonderful addition to the ASU team as his dedication and excitement for the future of Indian Country truly reverberates through his instruction.”

For additional photos and student testimonials, take a look at our social media posts that include 3L Hilary Edwards and 2L Michael LaValley

We appreciate the following firms for taking time to talk with our students and hosting meals: Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville PC; Hobbs Straus Dean & Walker, LLP; Rosette, LLP; Jenner & Block; Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, LLP; and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

Job Opportunity: Attorney

Yavapai-Apache Nation

The Attorney position represents the Yavapai-Apache Nation on a wide range of legal issues including drafting of codes and policies, negotiation and review of contracts and other agreements, advising the Tribal Council and its departments and entities, and representing the Nation before the Tribal Courts of the Nation and other tribal, federal, and state courts and administrative tribunals under the direction of the Attorney General.

See full job description.

How to apply:  Please submit your resume and application to:
Yavapai-Apache Nation / Human Resources
2400 W. Datsi / Camp Verde, AZ  86322
P:  928-567-1062 / Fax:  928-567-1064
Or email to shall@yan-tribe.org or ppierce@yan-tribe.org
Applications can be located at: www.yavapai-apache.org