Indian Legal Clinic files amicus brief

On June 17, the Indian Legal Clinic filed an amicus curiae brief with the Arizona Court of Appeals in a case regarding guardianship and ICWA. Written by Director Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, Jordan Garcia (’23) and Honore Callingham (’18), on behalf of the Native American Bar Association of Arizona (NABA-AZ), the amicus brief supported the appellees, including the Gila River Indian Community. The Arizona Court of Appeals – Division One directly invited interested parties or organizations, including the Indian Legal Clinic, to file an amicus brief setting forth their respective positions on any issue presented in the case. NABA-AZ includes members who teach, publish scholarship, and practice in the areas of Indian law and Tribal law, including members of the Arizona Bar who represent Tribes in ICWA proceedings. In addition, NABA-AZ has provided educational programs on ICWA and has commented on the rules surrounding it.

April Olson (’06), attorney at Rothstein Donatelli LLP, argued on behalf of the Gila River Indian Community during the July 18 Oral Arguments at the Arizona Court of Appeals. Gila River Governor Stephen Roe Lewis, Councilmember Jennifer Allison, Attorney Sunshine Manuel and others from Gila River attended the arguments

Job opportunity: Legal Fellow

National Indian Gaming Commission
Office of General Counsel

Salary: $72,553 – $94,317 per year

Closing date: 07/17/2024

The National Indian Gaming Commission’s primary mission is to work within the framework created by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) for the regulation of gaming activities conducted by tribes on Indian lands to fully realize IGRA’s goals: (1) promoting tribal economic development, self-sufficiency and strong tribal governments; (2) maintaining the integrity of the Indian gaming industry; and (3) ensuring that tribes are the primary beneficiaries of their gaming activities.


This position is located in the Office of General Counsel. The Office of General Counsel provides legal advice and counsel to the Commission on all matters relating to IGRA and its compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. The Office represents the Chair in enforcement actions and, as needed, coordinates with the U.S. Department of Justice to implement the Commission’s enforcement actions. The Office also plays a role in handling appeals before the full Commission. When Commission action results in litigation, the Office works directly with the Department of Justice.

The Office of the General Counsel also manages the day-to-day legal affairs of the NIGC, providing counsel and legal support to each division. The Office reviews tribal gaming ordinances and proposed management contracts; provides legal advisory opinions on the classification of games played in tribal gaming facilities, on Indian land issues, on contract issues, and on general law questions. The Office also coordinates opinions and other matters with the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Solicitor, and other federal agencies as necessary. The Office is committed to the professional development of new attorneys in the field of federal Indian law.

For full job description and apply, click here.

Job opportunity: Assistant General Counsel

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
Assistant General Counsel
Scottsdale, AZ

Salary: $152,342.00 – $224,710.00 Annually
Department: General Counsel
Deadline: 07/06/2024, 11:59 PM Arizona Time

Job Overview: The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC) is seeking a highly qualified Assistant General Counsel to join their legal team. Under the supervision of the General Counsel, this role involves providing legal review and advice to SRPMIC’s government, ensuring adherence to applicable laws, and safeguarding tribal sovereignty. The Assistant General Counsel will work on legal matters across various departments, including Public Safety, and represent the Community in legal proceedings.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Offer legal counsel to SRPMIC departments and the Community Council.
  • Conduct legal research and draft legal documents, ordinances, and policies.
  • Represent SRPMIC in internal, external, and intergovernmental meetings.
  • Supervise tribal court advocates and oversee civil litigation.


  • Juris Doctor (JD) from an ABA-accredited law school.
  • Minimum of three years of experience as a licensed attorney representing Native American tribes.
  • Membership in good standing with a state bar association (must pass the Arizona Bar within one year if not already a member).
  • Knowledge of Federal Indian law and the legal framework of tribal governments.

Special Requirements:

  • Ability to practice in Federal District Court.
  • Subject to pre-employment drug/alcohol testing and background check.
  • Must complete a minimum of 15 hours of continuing legal education annually.

Equal Opportunity Employer: Preference will be given to qualified Community Members, Veterans, Spouses of Community Members, and Native Americans.

Join SRPMIC in protecting and enhancing tribal sovereignty. Apply by July 6, 2024, to make a meaningful impact within their Community.

To apply: Click here

Job opportunity: Associate Attorney

Mshkawzi Law, LLP
Grand Rapids, MI

Job Description and Responsibilities
Mshkawzi Law, LLP is a 100% women-owned and majority Native-owned law firm that provides legal services exclusively to Indian tribes, First Nations, and their business enterprises throughout the United States and Canada. We have a reputation for representing indigenous clients to achieve success both inside the courtroom and out. Our experience and approach are unmatched for a firm our size.

The candidate will be responsible for providing all legal services as assigned by partners, lead attorneys, and clients. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Provide counsel and legal services to clients as well as represent clients in a professional manner while maintaining express confidentiality;
• Participate in business development functions (trade shows, seminars, etc.) to maintain and build client relationships as well as expand business;
• Travel to off-site meetings with prospective and current clients as needed;
• Apply knowledge of business issues, legal procedures, cases, statutes, and other regulatory authority to effectively counsel clients;
• Communicate with opposing attorneys through personal contact, telephone/email and facsimile to expedite cases to closure;
• Conduct legal research by preparing legal memoranda and necessary pleadings required in all aspects of state, federal and tribal litigation matters on an as needed basis;
• Appear at hearings and trials as needed and/or assigned;
• Draft tribal codes, regulations, agreements, analyze and review legal documents as needed;
• Interface with clients on a continuous basis;
• Comply with all court and state bar licensure obligations;
• Comply with firm employee handbook and other processes; and
• Performa other related duties as assigned.

We are currently seeking as associate attorney for Mshkawzi’s Grand Rapids, Michigan office with 0 to 3 years of relevant experience. The ideal candidate will have strong research and writing skills and must be self-motivated, self-starting, and willing to work in a dynamic atmosphere with remote interaction with our offices, clients and staff across the United States and Canada. Strong writing, interpersonal, analytical, problem-solving, organizational, and communication skills are required. Candidates must have the ability to build and maintain strong client relationships and must be willing to travel for work on client matters. Experience in federal Indian law is preferred but not required. The candidate must be a member in good standing of the Michigan Bar. Preference will be given to attorneys who demonstrate an established commitment to Indian Country and a keen interest in federal Indian law.

We offer competitive salary and benefits, including health care (including dental and vision), 401k, and paid vacation time.

Pleaser respond to this job posting with your cover letter, resume, certificate of good standing from the State Bar of Michigan, and writing sample via email to Sara Budde at

44 Cesar E. Chavez Ave SW, Suite 250, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Office: (616) 719-2823 | Fax: (517) 913-6443

Job posting

Job opportunity: Trial Attorney

Department of Justice
Environment and Natural Resources Division – Indian Resources Section
Washington, D.C.

Closing date: 07/12/2024
Salary: $139,395 – $191,900 per year

The Indian Resources Section litigates on behalf of federal agencies when they are protecting the rights and resources of federally recognized Indian tribes and their members. This includes defending against challenges to statutes and agency action designed to protect tribal interests and affirmative actions to protect tribal rights and natural resources. The rights at issue include water rights, the ability to acquire reservation land, hunting and fishing rights, and other natural resources.

Successful applicants must have the following:

At least 4 years of post J.D. litigation and/or judicial experience to qualify for the GS-14 grade level.
At least 5 years of post J.D. litigation and/or judicial experience to qualify for the GS-15 grade level.
In addition to the above qualifications, applicants must possess a J.D. degree; be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction); and be a U.S. citizen. Experience in litigation, administrative law, and/or environmental law is highly desirable.

Years of experience will determine the appropriate salary level. The possible salary range is:

GS-14 ($139,395 – $181,216)
GS-15 ($163,964 – $191,900)

For application details, go to full job description.

Job opportunity: Attorney-Advisor

Department of the Interior
Office of the Solicitor
Pacific Southwest Region
Sacramento, CA

Closing date: 06/18/2024

Salary: $96,148 – $175,645 per year

The selected attorney will serve as an Attorney-Adviser at the Sacramento Regional Off ice of the Pacific Southwest Region. Inparticular, you will provide quality legal research, analysis, advice, and representation to the Bureau of Indian Aff airs (BIA) andNational Park Service and other off icials of the Department of the Interior. Your specific duties will include:

  • A major focus of this position will be on Federal Indian law and other issues aff ecting the BIA Pacific Region, including land andenvironmental law issues, National Environmental Policy Act and permitting matters, contracting issues (primarily under theIndian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act), leasing and right-of-way issues, trespass issues, forestry issues, andgrazing issues.
  • Representing BIA Pacific in administrative hearings or appeals, including possible appearances before the Interior Board ofIndian Appeals, the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, and state agencies in California. Responsibilities will also includeassisting the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in representing BIA Pacific in federal, state or tribal judicial proceedings.
  • Requires cooperative and productive interactions with off icials and staff of BIA Pacific, off icials and staff of the National ParkService or other bureaus of DOI; other attorneys within the Solicitor’s Off ice; attorneys in DOJ, including attorneys in the off icesof the U.S. Attorneys; off icials and attorneys in other Federal agencies; and State, local, or tribal off icials and attorneys. Therewill also be interactions with attorneys and others representing non-governmental interests.
  • Requires detailed familiarity with Indian law and the possession or development of detailed familiarity with such laws as: theAdministrative Procedure Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Indian Self-Determination and Education AssistanceAct, and the National Historic Preservation Act.
  • The other focus of this position will be on legal issues aff ecting the National Park Service, on areas of practice that include, butare not limited to Freedom of Information Act, Privacy Act, cooperative agreements, right-of-way permitting, land use planning,environmental law, water law. Statutes that the incumbents must be familiar with include, but are not limited to, NationalEnvironmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act, Administrative Procedure Act, Freedomof Information Act, and Privacy Act. The incumbent must also be able to interpret and provide advice related to the variousregulations implementing the above statutes, as well as regulations implementing bureau programs.

For full job description and to apply, go here

2023-2021 Indian Gaming and Tribal-Self Governance programs Year in Review

Derrick Beetso (’10), Director Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance Programs at ASU Law, and Theresa Beaulieu, assistant director, collaborated with ASU Law faculty and staff  for a “Take your kid to work day.” Children of all ages toured the law school, participated in a mock trial and received a behind-the-scenes look at the studios of the ICT Newscast, located at the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

In October, the Programs hosted a conference at the Yuhaaviatam of San Manuel Event Center at ASU California Center.

Along with Rodina Cave Parnall (‘01), director of the American Indian Law Center, Inc., Beaulieu presented a workshop, “Law School and Careers in a Nutshell” at the National Indian Education Association’s annual convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This interactive workshop helped students understand pre-law preparation, types of legal degrees and career opportunities.

The Programs also represented at the Arizona Indian Gaming Association’s annual Expo at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino. Beaulieu met with those interested in the Master of Legal Studies programs.

“Professor Beetso enjoys getting students involved in Federal Indian Law projects outside of law school that have been very valuable to me,” said Chelsi Tsosie, JD ’24. “Together, we worked on an amicus brief for Arizona v. Navajo Nation and I would not have had an opportunity like that if he hadn’t reached out to students like me. While working with Professor Beetso on the amicus brief, my Graduations Writing Requirement paper and my paper for his DC Traveling Class, I found it much easier to understand his teachings and feedback about Federal Indian Law topics because of the connection we have to the same Nation. Collaborating on a common goal for our people and land with someone as successful as Professor Beetso was always inspiring and brought a lot of comfort to me when thinking about the impact of my writing and future career.”

Beetso facilitated the opening tribal leaders’ discussion at the inaugural Arizona Indian Gaming Conference hosted by the Arizona Department of Gaming, and Beetso also presented on the Department of the Interior’s recently finalized Tribal-State Gaming Compact regulations at the Western Indian Gaming Conference hosted by the Pechanga Band of Indians.

The Programs were also well represented at the 2024 Tribal Self-Governance Conference at the Wild Horse Pass Resorts & Casino. Jay Spaan, executive director of the Self-Governance Communication and Education Tribal Consortium and ASU Law faculty associate, hosted tribes from across Indian Country at this event.

“Professor Spaan went deeper into the content of the policy and had us review and research the policy, and how tribes are benefiting by providing services to their community,” said Kee Allen Begay Jr. (MLS ’24). “Having a professor who had ‘hands-on’ experience about a subject matter makes all the difference rather than teaching what a textbook is illustrating. I believe any future students seeking to learn more about Tribal Self-Governance, taking Professor Spaan class would be very beneficial.” 

Beetso was joined by Francisco Olea (’22) and Jeannie Hovland, Vice-Chair, National Indian Gaming Commission to present on the topic, “What’s New with Gaming? Self-Regulation and Other Hot Topics.”

Beetso also presented with Beaulieu and Joey Dormady, assistant dean, Graduate Programs and New Education Initiatives about the Master of Legal Studies options available at ASU Law, including: Federal Indian Law, Tribal Self-Governance, Indian Gaming and Master of Human Resources and Employment Law. Participants explored multiple work scenarios related to Tribal Self-Governance where it would be helpful to have a greater understanding of the law.

Jennifer Boehm, a Master of Legal Studies student with a focus in Tribal Self-Governance, moderated the panel, “Self-Governance Basics at the Department of Transportation,” which featured Arlando Teller, Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs, Department of Transportation; Milo Booth, Tribal Affairs Director, Department of Transportation; and Eldridge Onco, Senior Tribal Affairs Advisor, Department of Transportation

We are proud of the 14 MLS students who graduated during the 2023-2024 academic year, specializing in Indian Gaming, Federal Indian Law, and Tribal Self-Governance. Congratulations to this year’s MLS graduates!

Kee Allen Begay, Jr, Navajo
Randy Bouchard, Cowlitz
Tracy Edwards
Elise-Alexandria Green
Ana Hernandez
Charles LaRoche, Lower Brule Sioux
Delban Leslie
Keely Marquez, Serrano
Rileyann Nallin
Jaylyn Parrent, Salish and Kootenai
Faron Scissons, Rosebud Sioux
Ashlee Swain Rios, Pomo
Maotheeker (Wealthy) Vue
Elizabeth Zingg, Ho-Chunk Nation

Twenty-six students are currently enrolled in these MLS programs. With the support of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the ASU Law’s Indian Gaming and Tribal Self Governance programs were able to support externship experiences for six ILP students. Kaleb Lester (3L) and Maryam Gary Nez (3L) worked at Salt River’s Prosecutor’s Office, Sophie Staires (3L) worked in the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, and Elizabeth Zingg (MLS ’24) externed at for the Self-Governance Communication and Education Tribal Consortium. Sam Phillips (2L) and Colten Fredericks (2L) are working this summer at the Office of Indian Gaming in Washington, D.C.

“I admire and appreciate the attorneys at the Office of General Counsel for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC),” said Gary Nez. “Throughout my externship this Spring 2024, their support, strong mentorship, and invaluable feedback have been instrumental to my growth. I appreciate the inclusive environment, and how the attorneys have allowed me to work on projects aligned with my interests. I’ve gained valuable insights into Indian Child Welfare (ICWA) work, which will undoubtedly shape my future career in this field post-graduation. I’m so thankful for their guidance and encouragement.”

ILC 2023-2024 Year in Review

During the 2023-2024 academic year, 10 student attorneys worked nearly 3,300 hours for the Indian Legal Clinic led by Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, ILC Director and the Charles M. Brewer Professor of Trial Advocacy at ASU Law. Student attorneys collectively handled 39 cases covering a variety of areas of tribal, state and federal law. The ILC worked with clients to support voting rights, advocate for guardianships, defend against criminal charges, restore civil rights, assist with federal recognition, among other issues.

In addition to casework, ILC students develop practical analytical and trial advocacy skills through numerous class simulations. The simulations culminate in a full Tribal court civil mock trial to prepare students to become effective advocates for justice in their future careers.

Notably, the ILC welcomed Joel Edman as Democracy Director for the ILC’s Native Vote Election Protection Project. Also, the ILC welcomed Jordan Garcia (‘23) as the new ILC Fellow.

This year, the Indian Legal Clinic began an initiative led by Democracy Director Joel Edman to restore disenfranchised individuals’ civil rights, including the right to vote. In Fall 2023, ILC partnered with the Phoenix Indian Center and the Hopi Tribe to host Rights Restoration Workshops to offer free legal assistance with restoring civil rights after a felony conviction. In November, Student attorneys Maryam Gary Nez (’24), Clayton Kinsey (’24) and Natalia Sells (’24) traveled with Director Patty Ferguson-Bohnee and Democracy Director Joel Edman to Kykotsmovi Village, Arizona on the Hopi Reservation to meet with the Hopi Chairman, Timothy Nuvangyaoma, and other tribal members to present information on rights restoration. During the workshops, student attorneys – notably Sophie Staires (’24) – presented information on the rights restoration process for single and multiple felonies, marijuana expungement and the set aside process.

ILC students frequently made appearances in tribal and state courts in fall and spring semesters. Alexandra Trousdale (’24), Maryam Salazar (’24), Clayton Kinsey (‘24), Natalia Sells (’24), Keely Driscoll (3L), Chelsi Tsosie (’24), Samir Grover (’24) all defended clients in Ak-Chin Indian Community Tribal Court. Staires nearly appeared in Traffic Court on behalf of the Gila River Indian Community, however, she supported prosecutorial discretion. Trousdale also had success restoring several clients’ civil rights and obtaining guardianship for a client in Arizona courts.

In February 2024, Grover and Kinsey traveled with Professor Ferguson-Bohnee to Louisiana to meet and update clients on their cases in-person. 

More on the Indian Legal Clinic's work in the community:

Annual Celebration

The Federal Bar Association Indian Law Conference provides a distinctive opportunity for legal practitioners and advocates to convene and engage in comprehensive discussions concerning the future of Indian Country. It’s also a moment when we gather to recognize and honor Indigenous achievements.

The ILP community met at Sandia Resort for its 23rd annual Alumni & Friends Awards Ceremony & Reception. The evening was brimming with heartfelt messages and inspiring success stories as attendees celebrated this year’s award recipients. Brian Garcia (’20) was honored with the Alumni Service Award and Krystalyn Kinsel (’15) received the Emerging Leader Award. The reception also provided an opportunity for past participants of the Native American Pathway to Law program to connect and explore new opportunities.

At this year’s Federal Bar Association Indian Law Conference, three members of the ILP family delivered insightful presentations. Matthew Campbell (’08) spoke on a panel “Protecting Sacred Places– Shortcomings and Available Tools;” Rebecca Ross (’10) addressed “Case Law Developments in Tribal Nations’ Ability to Protect Their Interests Through Sovereign Immunity;” and Michael-Corey Hinton (’11) delved into “Representation Matters: Ethical Considerations in Representing Your Tribe.”

The National Native American Bar Association (NNABA) also held its annual meeting, followed by the Justice is Medicine Celebration and Awards Dinner. The first part of the meeting included a Voting Rights Summit coordinated by Blair Tarman-Toner (’21) and Torey Dolan (’19).  During the summit, ILC Director Patty Ferguson-Bohnee presented on the Arizona Native Vote Election Protection administered by the ILC. Ferguson-Bohnee, Campbell, Garcia and Professor Paul Spruhan presented on a panel “Preparing for 2024 Native Voting Rights Summit.” During the afternoon portion of the meeting, the Honorable Diane Humetewa (’93) spoke on “Pathways to the Federal Bench.” During the reception, Kate Rosier , assistant dean of community engagement at ASU Law and executive director of ILP, was honored with the inaugural Community Keeper Award.

It was a pleasure to reunite with everyone and celebrate our mighty Indian Law community, which is filled with remarkable advocates who are committed to public service, advancing opportunities for Indigenous law students and strengthening Native American representation in the legal field.