Native Vote Restoration

Big win for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe

The Campaign Legal Center, Osborn Maledon and the Indian Legal Clinic represented the Pascua Yaqui Tribe in a lawsuit to restore the early voting location before the 2020 election. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe recently reached a settlement with Pima County to restore an in-person early voting location on the Pascua Yaqui Reservation. 

The right to vote for Native Americans in Arizona was only secured in 1948, and despite this right on paper, barriers to voting continue to persist and prevent Native American communities from fully participating. One such barrier was the closing of the early voting location on the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s reservation in 2018 by then Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe has been fighting to restore the site since it was originally closed in 2018 and have used every available tool to have the site restored. 

Now, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s efforts are finally coming to fruition with this settlement agreement, which will restore the in-person early voting location on the reservation and provide voters living on the reservation an opportunity to vote in-person early, safely, and in their community just as other Arizonans have voted across Pima County for the past four years. The settlement agreement also provides for cooperation on voter registration and outreach.  

Student attorneys Aspen Miller (’21), Jens Camp (’21) worked with Professor Ferguson-Bohnee and Native Vote Fellow Torey Dolan (’19) prepare for the preliminary injunction hearing last fall. We have been proud to stand alongside the Campaign Legal Center and Osborn Maledon in representing the Pascua Yaqui Tribe in their fight to protect their right to vote and are glad that the current Pima County Recorder Gabriella Cázares-Kelly recognizes the importance of this site and has worked with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe to reach this agreement.

Job Opportunity – Paid Law Clerkship

Fall Law Clerks – Taylor & Gomez LLP

Paid Law Clerkship.  Seeking two law clerks for Fall Semester 2021.  Typically, it is 4 to 10 hours of work per week, depending on need and availaiblity, for each law clerk.  Please e-mail Resume and Writing Sample.  Looking for two law clerks interested in Civil Cases/Litigation and/or Indian Law.  We have high expectations for our law clerks, so please only apply if you have serious interest in working hard, learning, and getting legitmate, real-life work experience. 

Interviews will be via Zoom.  It is anticipated that some work for the Fall 2021 Semester will be in person in the Office. So, if that would be a problem or issue for you, then please consider whether you should apply.

Eligibility: 2L and 3L

Apply via Email: dg@taylorgomezlaw.com

Application Documents:

  • Resume (Required)
  • Cover Letter (Optional)Transcript (Optional)
  • Writing Sample (Required)
  • References (Optional)
  • Other (Optional)

Contact:
Dominic Gomez
Partner/Attorney
dg@taylorgomezlaw.com
6023948930
4022 East Broadway Road, Suite 113, Phoenix – AZ, United States (USA), 85040

McGirt v. Oklahoma Supreme Court Decision: Treaties Upheld

On July 9, 2020, the Supreme Court issued its decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma and affirmed that the Muscogee Creek Nation’s reservation was never disestablished. The majority opinion strongly affirmed what Native people have known: Treaty rights are the Supreme Law of the land and do not fade with time. This historic decision is a strong vindication of the Muscogee Creek Nation’s treaty and a promising decision for all treaties. 

In their 2L year, Dylan West (Choctaw) and Blair Tarman (Chickasaw) assisted Professor Stacy Leeds (Cherokee) on the Cherokee Nation’s amicus brief.  Read the amicus brief on behalf of Cherokee here. Professor Leeds was the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community distinguished visiting Indian Law professor at ASU Law during Fall 2019 semester and taught Federal Indian law. 

From this monumental and victorious decision, people of the ILP quickly took action and poured their energy into their work.

In his interview with the Voice of America (VOA) News, Professor Robert Miller (Eastern Shawnee) stated, “The Court is upholding this 1832 treaty that the Creek Nation signed with the United States, and is holding the United States to those promises.” Watch full video here. Miller also presented, “McGirt v. Oklahoma: Understanding the Decision and its Implications for Indian Country” for the Oregon Historical Society. Watch Miller’s presentation  here.

Professor Larry Roberts (Oneida) said, “today’s decision is a significant win for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and for Tribal Nations across the country. With the Muscogee (Creek) Nation facing opposition from the Trump Administration, this Court made clear that treaties mean something – that they are the supreme law of the land,” in his article for ASU’s American Indian Policy Institute blog. Read blog more here.

“This opinion was not given without opposition, nor does it bar Congress from breaking the treaties in the future,” said rising 2L Taylor Norman (Muscogee Creek). “What it does mean, however, is that rather than kneel to lazy reasoning or racist objection, the Supreme Court of the United States did not break any treaties today.” Read Norman’s full piece here

Joe Keene (’12) (Osage) and Candace French (’17) (Wichita and Affiliated Tribes) recently published an article for Sacks Tierney P.A. summarizing the McGirt case. Read the article here.

The McGirt decision sparked many conversations across Indian Country and to help bring further awareness and understanding, the Indian Legal Program hosted a case overview. “The most significant Indian Law case of the century: McGirt v. Oklahoma” webinar was held on Thursday, July 23.

  • Professor Larry Roberts (Oneida) – Moderator, Executive Director of the Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance Program and Professor of Practice at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law 
  • Stacy Leeds (Cherokee) – Vice Chancellor for Economic Development, Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas 
  • Professor Robert Miller (Eastern Shawnee) – Faculty Director, Rosette LLP American Indian Economic Development Program and Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law 
  • Jonodev Chaudhuri (Muscogee Creek Nation) – Ambassador, Muscogee Creek Nation, Partner, Quarles & Brady 
  • Derrick Beetso (’10) (Navajo) – General Counsel, National Congress of American Indian

In November, 1L Ashleigh Fixico (Muscogee Creek Nation) presented on a panel “We Hold the Government to Its Word: A Conversation about McGirt v. Oklahoma.” 

Since the McGirt decision, ILP’s Federal Indian law experts Professor Leeds and Professor Miller have been called for consultation. 

Three weeks after the McGirt decision, Leeds was appointed a judge for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation—the tribe whose boundaries were affirmed in the decision—and continues to hear cases there throughout the year. She also published two articles about the McGirt decision, one dealing with Supreme Court trends and one dealing with Indian taxation.

Professor Miller who not only published his articles, also presented multiple times. Review the full list of his participation here.

This opinion was released during great strife due to the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing racial injustice, but it has brought renewed hope that in this modern era of self-determination for Indian Country the courts will continue to vindicate the rights our ancestors thoughtfully secured for us.  

____
Torey Dolan (’19)
Native Vote Fellow, Indian Legal Clinic, ASU Law

Danielle Williams
Program Coordinator Sr, Indian Legal Program, ASU Law

Nominated for The National Jurist magazine’s Law Student of the Year

David Streamer, JD Candidate 2022
Indian Legal Program, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University

David Streamer is a second-year law student from the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians in Southern California. David was elected to serve his tribe as a tribal council member in 2018 and re-elected in 2019.

Deeply rooted
Born in his home on the reservation, David continues to serve his tribe while attending ASU Law, with his sole focus on making a positive impact in his community. He ran for council because he thinks young people need to step up and help be a bridge for reservation families. Wanting to create something special in the community for everyone, David is diving into his ASU Law classes as part of the college’s nationally recognized Indian Legal Program. He says ASU Law’s faculty and courses are teaching him how to better serve his tribal government so that he can apply these skills immediately.

Forging ahead
With the past year particularly challenging for David’s community due to the pandemic and power outages, he worked together with the tribe to apply for grants and find resources to help families cover basic needs. Hoping to serve his tribe for many years, David wants to help create more tribally owned and operated businesses and help the youth with educational assistance. It is important to David that young people finish high school and go to college.

Community building
Recently in David’s personal capacity, he decided to go out and grade every family’s driveway in the community. When asked why he did that, he said because people needed it done, and he had time and wanted to help. His heart is on the reservation and in giving back to his tribal members so that they thrive as a community.

David was selected as ASU Law’s nominee for The National Jurist magazine’s 2021 Law Student of the Year recognition. David is a thoughtful tribal leader who has harnessed the power of good for his community. Attending law school is a significant commitment and David’s dedication to his law career and tribal community deserves to be celebrated.

NABA-AZ Scholarship Winners

Ten ASU NALSA students received the NABA-AZ Scholarship for their academic achievement. Congratulations to all the recipients, especially our ILP students: Mariah Black Bird (3L), Brendan Clark (3L), Hilary Edwards (2L), Dallon Echo Hawk (2L), Brittany Habbart (1L), Michael LaValley (1L), Aspen Miller (3L), Taylor Norman (2L), McArthur Stant II (3L) and Ruben Zendejas (1L). 

Thank you to NABA-AZ for continuing to support Arizona law students, especially during the pandemic.

NABA-AZ will recognize all the scholarship winners on March 26 at Noon during a virtual event. Please join the event and celebrate our outstanding students.

2021 Pipeline to Law: Online Sessions

The Native American Pipeline to Law Pre-Law team will be hosting Online Sessions this summer. These sessions will help students successfully navigate the law school application process. It doesn’t matter which school you are coming from and which school you choose, we want to help you get there.

  • Develop an effective application, resume, and personal statement
  • Explore law school funding options
  • Receive test prep tips for the LSAT
  • Hear from former and current American Indian law students

Apply by May 3. Spots fill up fast!

Submit your application at: law.asu.edu/pipelinetolaw

ILC Reflections: Hearty Experiences

Student attorneys are instrumental in the progress and movement of the Indian Legal Clinic. While they work with real clients and real issues, they gain invaluable experience for their law career. 

This has been an interesting year for everyone. In their third and last year in law school, it looks very different from their first year at ASU Law. Dustin Rector (3L) and Blair Tarman (3L) open up about their time in the Indian Legal Clinic and shed light on how this experience has better prepared them.

In his words, Dustin Rector writes:

This year, Native Vote faced a unique challenge through the COVID-19 pandemic. I helped Native Vote navigate the difficulties the pandemic created for our volunteers and helped ensure that the virus remains contained during Election Day activities. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, a consistent issue I addressed on Election Day were voter registration and provisional ballot issues. Despite these challenges, the moment that stands out to me was having the chance to return to my community in the Fort Apache Reservation and serve other tribal members. 

The reason I chose to participate in the Indian Legal Clinic was because I wanted to apply the things I have been learning in my other classes. Before entering the Indian Legal Clinic, I had a loose understanding of what trial work looked like and I did not know how to use the things I learned in my classes in the real world. The Indian Legal Clinic has helped me learn about trial skills and has helped me become more confident and comfortable in using those skills.

If you want to understand what working in a law firm looks and feels like or if you want to work in a law firm that prioritizes Native issues, then I highly recommend enrolling in the Indian Legal Clinic. I also recommend prioritizing your time and being open to new learning experiences, no matter how challenging it is. Lastly, I would like to remind interested students that it is ok to make mistakes because the Clinic Director is there to guide you at all times. 

In her words, Blair Tarman writes:

This year, I participated as an Election Protection volunteer answering phone calls for the Native Vote Hotline. It is important to protect Native voting rights because the right to vote is a fundamental right guaranteed to every American, and the First People should not be denied their right to make their voices heard. 

I came across several inquiries regarding whether or not there were any transportation services being offered to and from the polls. This goes to show how difficult it can be for voters in tribal communities to travel to their designated polling locations due to lack of personal or public transportation options. Additionally, several callers wanted to know whether it was possible for them to vote online. 

I chose to participate in the Indian Legal Clinic because I wanted to gain practical experience working with real clients. This experience has taught me so much about working with tribal clients and serving tribal communities. I cannot overstate how much I have learned from participating in the Indian Legal Clinic. 

If I could offer any advice to someone considering enrolling in the ILC, it would be this: Do it. The ILC offers a unique opportunity for students to learn by doing. Being personally responsible for  cases and knowing that clients are depending upon you will only render you more motivated to give your best effort. 

____
Danielle Williams
Program Coordinator, Indian Legal Program, ASU Law

Arizona Native Vote Changemakers

The Indian Legal Clinic student attorneys, ILP affiliates and volunteers worked on the Arizona Native Vote Election Protection Project (AZNVEP) for months to prepare for the general election on Nov. 3. The number of this year’s Election Protection volunteers made for a great success despite the circumstances! We had 100 volunteers, which is more than in past years, who assisted Native voters at over 60 polling locations in Arizona on Election Day through the Arizona Native Vote Election Protection Project. The ILC team included Native Vote Fellow Torey Dolan (’19) as lead, Brendan Clark (3L), Aspen Miller (3L), Dustin Rector (3L), MacArthur Stant (3L),and Blair Tarman (3L) under the supervision of Professor Patty Ferguson-Bohnee. Student attorneys provided virtual training sessions for volunteers, ran the hotline and interacted with voters on-site.

Through partnerships with the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA), the Native American Bar Association of Arizona (NABA-AZ), the Arizona Election Protection Coalition and volunteers, Native Vote served as an important resource for hundreds of Native voters during the 2020 election. Over 250 Native American voters called the Native Vote Election Protection hotline for assistance on Election Day, and many voters called prior to the election to check voter registration and polling locations, and answered questions regarding general election information.  

With the extraordinary commitment from volunteers—ILP students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends—an Election Protection volunteer was on-site and available at the following locations: Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe, Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community, Gila River Indian Community, Tohono O’odham Nation, White Mountain Apache, San Carlos Apache, Pascua Yaqui, Yavapai Apache, Yavapai Prescott, Quechan, Cocopah Indian Tribe, Colorado River Indian Tribes, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, and the Ak-Chin Indian Community. 

We thank our ASU community for the support, which released the ASU Now article on election day that highlighted the greater work of Native Vote as well as the innovative Polling Locator Tool created just this year with US Digital Response. Watch the video  to see how this tool was used by Native voters.

Two of our ILC students Miller and Stant who traveled to Hopi and Navajo Nation were highlighted in an Arizona Republic article

Ferguson-Bohnee was quoted in the Center for Public Integrity article and Arizona Republic articles here and here

On Nov. 11, Dolan was interviewed by Native America Calling to give a recap about Native Vote. She was also quoted in The State Press articles here and here

Find more coverage from Ferguson-Bohnee, Dolan and Brian Garcia (’20) in this VICE article, which included Arizona Native Vote assisting with extension hours to a polling site. 

We appreciate our partners and all who volunteered across Indian Country to ensure Arizona’s tribal communities and tribal members had access to the polls!

Pipeline to Law Online Sessions – First Ever

The Indian Legal Program (“ILP”) and our partner schools University of California, Berkeley School of Law’s Admissions Office, and Michigan State University College of Law’s Indigenous Law and Policy Center joined with the Pre-Law Summer Institute, and Testmasters to put on the 7th Annual Native American Pathway to law program.

The Native American Pathway to Law Initiative Pre-Law Workshops was created in response to the National Native American Bar Association’s 2015 survey, “The Pursuit of Inclusion: An In-Depth Exploration of the Experiences and Perspectives of Native American Attorneys in the Legal Profession.” The survey identified several obstacles Native students face when applying to law school and the Pathway program helps to try solve some of those problems through pre-law advising, testing assistance and mentorship. NNABA help us secure the original funding for the Pathway program and funds to support students with LSAT prep courses. 

The Pathway to Law program is very unique because the staff from three law schools work together, in a non-recruitment environment, to help students create stronger applications and select the best schools for them. The national team of admissions professionals lead the participants through sessions on the admissions timeline, personal statements, school selection, LSAT preparation, and financial aid. The students experienced a mock class taught by Professor Matthew Fletcher from MSU Law, and students were were provided the opportunity to interact with several law school deans. The team also facilitated a student panel and an attorney panel so pipeline participants could ask questions learn about different areas of the profession. 

This year’s program was held virtually over the course of 6 weeks via Zoom and supported by the Slack application. 37 students from 23 tribes and 17 states participated in our virtual program. These students’ age range from 21 to 59 and there were 29 women and 11 men. 

When asked why ASU ILP would help students get admitted to law schools other than ASU, Kate Rosier stated, “The ILP wants to support ALL Native students no matter where they decide to go to law school. The legal profession needs more Native American attorneys and the ILP wants to help make that happen. Some students may need to be close to home or have different dream schools. We are just happy to support them on their journey and hope they do great things for Indian Country.” 

If you would like to support this program, please consider a gift to the ILP c/o the Pipeline to Law program. Your gifts help purchase LSAT prep courses for students that range from $500 – $1,500 and allow us to put on more programs. Make your gift here.

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