Tribal Law & Government Center

Tribal Law

Effectively representing Indian nations and tribes requires an understanding of the laws, history and policies that affect them. The complexity of "Indian law," and the lack of specific programs designed to educate graduates about the unique legal and cultural needs of Indian people, has created a situation in which lawyers representing Indian tribes place too great an emphasis on state law and federal law when dealing with Indian nations. As a result, these lawyers may unconsciously be contributing to the weakening of unique tribal legal and governance traditions by recommending the adoption of tribal laws and policies founded upon the Anglo-American legal and political traditions rather than the unique traditions of their tribal clients.

Through its activities, the Tribal Law & Government Center at KU Law aims to equip students and legal professionals who will represent Indian nations with the skills necessary to appreciate and strengthen the unique nature of indigenous tribal legal systems.

Curriculum

Core Courses

  • Sovereignty, Self-Determination and the Indigenous Nations
  • Native American Natural Resources
  • Federal Indian Law
  • Comparative Law
  • Special Topics in American Indian Law (such as Indian Gaming and Economic Development in Indian Country)

Related Courses

  • Federal Courts and the Federal System
  • Legislation
  • Public International Law
  • International Law Seminar
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Business Associations I
  • Public Lands and Natural Resources
  • Water Law
  • Local Government Law
  • International Human Rights
  • Oil and Gas

Course descriptions

Tribal Lawyer Certificate

The Tribal Lawyer Certificate program is designed to ensure that law students aspiring to a career representing Indian nations have the skills necessary to appreciate and strengthen the unique nature of indigenous tribal legal systems.

JD/MA in Indigenous Studies

KU Law's joint degree program in law and indigenous studies allows students to graduate with both the J.D. and an M.A. in Indigenous Studies in seven semesters, including summer school. The program aspires to facilitate the protection and strengthening of indigenous sovereignty, self-determination, and self-sufficiency in indigenous nations throughout the Americas. The University of Kansas was the third institution of higher learning in the United States to offer a joint degree program relating to indigenous peoples.

Clinics

The Tribal Judicial Support Clinic gives second- and third-year students the opportunity to assist tribal court systems through a variety of projects. Although the Tribal Law & Government Center gives priority to the research requests of regional tribes (Kansas and Oklahoma), clinical students have worked on projects for tribal courts throughout the nation.

Students also may be interested in the Legislative Clinic, in which they intern for members of the Kansas Legislature and study advocacy in the legislative process.

Tribal Law & Government Conference

Each year, KU hosts the Tribal Law & Government Conference, which devotes significant scholarly attention to the study of organic tribal law, modern tribal governments and the evolution of tribal common law. The conference highlights how works of scholars and tribal jurists addressing the emerging and historical problems of indigenous law and governance are critical to strengthening tribal sovereignty.


20th Annual Tribal Law & Government Conference

"Examining and Reconsidering Indian Mascots in the 21st Century"
Friday, March 11, 2016 | Green Hall | University of Kansas | Lawrence, KS

Register for the 2016 Tribal Law & Government Conference
Examining and Reconsidering Indian Mascots in the 21st Century

The 2016 Tribal Law & Government Conference at the University of Kansas School of Law will discuss the legal issues surrounding the use of images of American Indians as sports mascots.

CLE Credit and Lunch
2.5 hours of CLE credit, including 1 hour of ethics, are approved for Kansas and Missouri. Attorneys who wish to receive CLE credit will be assessed a $25 fee. CLE materials will be posted electronically in the schedule below for review and printing. Materials will not be available the day of the program in a paper version. All materials must be accessed electronically.

Lunch will be provided.

Parking
Parking is available for $1.75 for the first hour and $1.50 for each additional hour in the Allen Fieldhouse Parking Garage, just southeast of Green Hall. Visitors who park in surface lots near the law school will be ticketed.

Program Accessibility
We accommodate persons with disabilities. Please submit your request no later than March 4 to cmai@ku.edu or 785-864-9208 TTY: 711.

Cancellation Policy
All cancellations received on or before March 4 will be refunded 100 percent. No refunds will be allowed after that time.

Questions?
Contact Professor Elizabeth Kronk Warner at 785-864-1139 or elizabeth.kronk@ku.edu.

Schedule

8:30-9:00 Check-in and Continental Breakfast
9:00-9:15 Welcome

Dean Stephen Mazza, University of Kansas School of Law
Elizabeth Kronk Warner, Professor and Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, University of Kansas School of Law; Director, KU Tribal Law & Government Center; Affiliated Professor, Indigenous Studies
Ron Brave, Haskell Indian Nations University
9:15-10:15 Keynote Speaker
Suzan Shown Harjo, President, Morning Star Institute
10:15-10:30 Break
10:30-12 Panel | Considering Mascots from a Native Perspective

Cornel Pewewardy, Professor & Director of Indigenous Nations Studies, Portland State University
Rebecca Tsosie, Regents’ Professor, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and Vice Provost for Inclusion and Community Engagement at Arizona State University
Dan Wildcat, Director of the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Center and Dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences at Haskell Indian Nations University
12:00-1:00 Lunch, Commons Area, Green Hall
1:15-2:45
1.5 CLE credits pending
Panel | Intellectual Property and Sports Law Perspectives on Native Mascots
Moderator: Corey Adams, 3L and Secretary, KU Native American Law Students Association

Marc Edelman, Professor Law and Sports Business Scholar, Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College CUNY
Jasmine Abdel-Kahlik, Associate Professor of Law, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law
2:45-3:00 Break
3:00-3:50
1.0 CLE credits pending
Ethics Panel | Ethical Considerations when Representing Tribal Nations
Moderator: Jason Vigil, 3L and Treasurer, KU Native American Law Students Association

D. Michael McBride III, Director, Crowe & Dunlevy
3:50-4:00 Concluding Remarks
Elizabeth Kronk Warner

Speakers

Suzan Shown Harjo
President, Morning Star Institute

Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee) is an advocate for American Indian rights. She is a poet, writer, lecturer, curator, and policy advocate, who has helped Native peoples recover more than 1 million acres of tribal lands. After co-producing the first Indian news show in the nation for WBAI radio while living in New York City and producing other shows and theater, in 1974 she moved to Washington, D.C., to work on national policy issues. She served as Congressional Liaison for Indian Affairs during the Carter administration and later as president of the National Council of American Indians.

Harjo is president of the Morning Star Institute, a national Native American rights organization. Since the 1960s, she has worked on getting sports teams to drop names that promote negative stereotypes of Native Americans. In June 2014, the Patent and Trademark revoked the Washington Redskins trademark; the owner said he would appeal. By 2013 two-thirds of teams with American Indian mascots had changed them due to these public campaigns. On November 24, 2014, Harjo received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor

Cornel Pewewardy
Professor and Director, Indigenous Nations Studies, Portland State University

Dr. Cornel Pewewardy (Comanche-Kiowa) is professor and director of Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State University. His research explores Native American mascots in schools and media, recruiting/retention of Native students in higher education, Indigenous teaching praxis, Indigenous urban and reservation-based teacher education, culturally responsive tribal colleges, transformational Indigenous schools, Indigenous identity (de)construction, Indigenous community-based participatory research methods, and ethnomusicology (digitizing tribal music). Dr. Pewewardy was one the first musicians to win the highly coveted Musical Artist of the Year by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storyteller in 1997. Among other musical honors, Cornel has received the Phoenix Award by the Lawrence (KS) Arts Commission’s contribution to music and arts in 1998. He sings Southern Plains powwow songs, composes songs and plays the Native American flute. As a music composer, his songs reveal an interest in the evolution of Southern Plains powwow and gourd dance songs, and over time were shaped by the training of elder tribal singers. Cornel's music is recorded on Sound of America Records (SOAR), Music of the World, Shortwave Records, and Smithsonian Institute.

Rebecca Tsosie
Regents’ Professor, Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

Rebecca Tsosie is a Regents’ Professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the vice provost for inclusion and community engagement at Arizona State University. She is also a faculty affiliate for the American Indian Studies Program and the Mary Lou Fulton Teacher’s College. Professor Tsosie, who is of Yaqui descent, joined the ASU College of Law faculty in 1994 and served as the Executive Director of the law school’s Indian Legal Program from 1996-2011. She teaches in the areas of Federal Indian law, Constitutional law, Property, Cultural Resources law, Bioethics and Critical Race Theory. Professor Tsosie has written and published widely on doctrinal and theoretical issues related to tribal sovereignty, environmental policy, and cultural rights. Professor Tsosie’s current research deals with Native rights to genetic resources. She has worked extensively with tribal governments and organizations, and serves as an appellate judge for the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation’s Supreme Court and the San Carlos Apache Tribe’s Court of Appeals. Professor Tsosie received her B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, and is admitted to practice in Arizona and California. She is the co-author of a federal Indian law casebook titled "American Indian Law: Native Nations and the Federal System."

Daniel R. Wildcat
Director, Haskell Environmental Research Studies Center and Dean, College of Natural and Social Sciences, Haskell Indian Nations University

Daniel R. Wildcat, Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, is the director of the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Center and dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. After serving two years in the U.S. Army, Wildcat attended KU where he received both his bachelor’s and master’s in sociology. He said it was during the first week of his undergraduate classes that he decided he wanted to become a professor. A staunch advocate of tribal colleges and universities, Wildcat said he believes Indian colleges and universities deserve broader recognition for their contributions to academia and society. Wildcat has authored a variety of books, including Power and Place: Indian Education in America, which he co-wrote with the late Vine Deloria Jr.

In his 25 years at Haskell Indian Nations University, Wildcat has been invited to guest lecture at Harvard Medical School and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Last April, he co-chaired the Rights of Mother Earth Symposium with Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network at Haskell. Wildcat intends to make the symposium an annual event.

Marc Edelman
Associate Professor of Law, Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, City University of New York

Marc Edelman specializes in sports law, antitrust, intellectual property, and gaming law. Professor Edelman is cited by the media on a wide range of sports law topics, including how the Sherman Act applies to professional sports leagues, how gaming laws apply to fantasy sports contests, and the legal issues pertaining to NCAA amateurism. His publications on sports law have been cited by three Supreme Court briefs, numerous textbooks, and more than 100 law review articles.

A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and a cum laude graduate of Michigan Law School, Edelman began his professional career by practicing antitrust and sports law with the law firms Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP and Dewey Ballantine LLP. He has also taught on the full-time faculty at the Barry University School of Law and at Rutgers School of Law-Camden. During the summers, Edelman teaches a course on Professional Sports and the Law at Fordham University School of Law. He also writes a column on sports law for Forbes SportsMoney, and provides legal consulting to clients in the areas of intellectual property, sports law and gaming law.

Jasmine Abdel-Khalik
Associate Professor of Law, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law

Jasmine Abdel-Khalik joined the UMKC School of Law in 2005. She teaches courses in the intellectual property, unfair competition, and commercial realms, including Contracts I and II, Business Torts & Unfair Competition, Intellectual Property Litigation, Advance Trademark, and Intellectual Property. In the context of her teaching, Abdel-Khalik has been honored to receive the Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award in 2010, a UMKC Student Government Association Apple Polisher Award in 2012, and the Outstanding Professor Award as voted by the graduating class in 2012 and 2014. Interested in how language within intellectual property interests affect broader social concerns, Abdel-Khalik’s research focuses on various aspects of trademark and copyright law as well as contract formation and interpretation issues. Most recently, she has been examining how intellectual property doctrine may re-entrench existing stereotypes and biases as well as the intersect of intellectual property laws and protection of speech. Her research was recognized by her colleagues in 2007 with the Daniel E. Brenner Faculty Publishing Award.

Prior to joining the faculty, Abdel-Khalik was a practicing attorney in Chicago, Illinois, initially with Baker & McKenzie and then with Freeborn & Peters. Her practice areas included trademark, advertising and marketing compliance, patent litigation, and general commercial litigation, including breach of contract and antitrust matters. A Florida native, Abdel-Khalik earned her B.A. from Cornell University in 1997 in history and sociology and her J.D. from the University of Michigan in 2000.

D. Michael McBride III
Director, Crowe & Dunlevy

D. Michael McBride III is a trial, appellate and business lawyer with Crowe & Dunlevy in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is a sought-after and trusted advisor with particular expertise in gaming, federal Indian law, litigation and complex transactions. McBride has tried more than 50 cases to conclusion in federal, tribal and state courts including numerous jury trials; as a judge and justice, he has adjudicated scores more and authored many published decisions. He excels in gaming regulatory matters, bet-the-tribe litigation, tribal government matters, economic development and regulatory matters. Corporations, investment funds and individuals have hired him as an expert consultant and as an expert witness in multiple federal state court cases to testify on Indian gaming matters. He chairs Crowe & Dunlevy’s Indian Law & Gaming practice group.

McBride served as justice of the Pawnee Nation Supreme Court from 2003 until 2012. He is the former attorney general to the Seminole Nation and the Sac and Fox Nation. During his career, McBride has represented more than 20 Indian tribal governments or their entities, numerous corporations and individuals doing business with tribes. He is one of only two Oklahoma general members of the International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL) and serves as the exclusive organization’s treasurer.

McBride regularly speaks at conferences and symposia throughout the country and internationally and has authored more than fifty published articles. He has served as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Tulsa and adjunct settlement judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma. McBride has also held various leadership roles in the American Bar Association. He is a graduate of Trinity University (B.A. 1989) and the University of Oklahoma (J.D. 1993), where he received many awards and academic distinctions.


Past conferences

19th Annual Tribal Law & Government Conference

"The Future of Indian Education"
Friday, March 13, 2015 | Burge Union | University of Kansas | Lawrence, KS

The Future of Indian Education

The 2015 Tribal Law & Government Conference at the University of Kansas School of Law will discuss the status quo of Indian education and how it might change in the future based on President Obama’s recent commitment to reform.

CLE Credit and Lunch
2.5 hours of CLE credit, including 1 hour of ethics, are approved for Kansas and Missouri. Attorneys who wish to receive CLE credit will be assessed a $25 fee. CLE materials are available electronically in the schedule below for review and printing. Materials will not be available the day of the program in a paper version. All materials must be accessed electronically.

Lunch will be provided.

Parking
Parking is available for $1.75 for the first hour and $1.50 for each additional hour in the Visitor Parking Garage, just south of Green Hall. Visitors who park in surface lots near the law school will be ticketed.

Program Accessibility
We accommodate persons with disabilities. Please submit your request no later than March 6 to cmai@ku.edu or 785-864-9208 TTY: 711.

Cancellation Policy
All cancellations received on or before March 6 will be refunded 100 percent. No refunds will be allowed after that time.

Questions?
Contact Professor Elizabeth Kronk Warner at 785-864-1139 or elizabeth.kronk@ku.edu.

Schedule

8:30-9:00 Check-in and Continental Breakfast
9:00-9:15 Welcome Remarks

Dean Stephen Mazza, University of Kansas School of Law
Elizabeth Kronk Warner, Associate Professor, University of Kansas School of Law; Director, KU Tribal Law & Government Center; Affiliated Professor, Indigenous Studies
9:15-10:05 Morning Keynote Speaker
Surveying Indian Education and Legal Reform 
(PDF)

Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of Interior
Introduction: Jason Harmon, third-year KU Law student

This presentation will focus broadly on two issues. First, the presentation will begin with an overview of Indian education and the federal government’s role in Indian education. Second, the presentation will explore the wide variety of proposed Indian educational reform nationwide, focusing on legal developments.
10:05-10:15 Break
10:15-11:45 Panel | History of Indian Education and the Status Quo

President Venida Chenault, Haskell Indian Nations University
Mandy Smoker Broaddus, Director of Indian Education, Montana Office of Public Instruction
Connor Warner, Instructor for Urban Teacher Education, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Moderator: Amanda Angell, third-year KU Law student

This panel presentation will focus on the history of Indian education from both higher education and K-12 perspectives. The panel will begin with a discussion of Indian higher education, focusing on tribal colleges and universities. The panel will then move to a survey discussion of Indian education in K-12 institutions nationwide. The panel will conclude with a deeper discussion of how Indian education at the K-12 level is implemented in one state, Montana.
12:00-1:00 Lunch, Relays Room, Burge Union
1:15-2:45
1.5 CLE credits
Panel | Legal Reform of Indian Education

Dawn Baum (PDF), Senior Attorney and Indian Education Team Leader, U.S. Department of Interior, Office of the Solicitor, Bureau of Indian Education
Jill Eichner (PDF), Attorney, U.S. Department of Education, Office of the General Counsel
Melody McCoy (PDF), Staff Attorney, Native American Rights Fund
William Mendoza, Executive Director, White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education
Moderator: Annette McDonough, third-year KU Law student

This panel will focus on proposed legal reforms to Indian education. The panel will begin with a nationwide survey of proposed legal reforms to Indian education. Following this national survey, the panel will examine proposed federal reforms, specifically focusing on the White House Initiative, Bureau of Education within the Department of the Interior and Department of Education activities.
2:45-3:00 Break
3:00-3:55
1.0 CLE credits
Ethics | Ethical Considerations for Tribal Lawyers and Judges (PDF)

Elizabeth Kronk Warner, Associate Professor, University of Kansas School of Law; Director, KU Tribal Law & Government Center; Affiliated Professor, Indigenous Studies

This presentation will examine ethical quandaries that typically face tribal lawyers and judges. Specifically, the presentation will address appearances of impropriety, ex parte communications, the duty of competence, confidentiality, disqualification and tribal codes of ethics.
3:55-4:00 Concluding Remarks
Elizabeth Kronk Warner

Speakers

Kevin Washburn
Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior (tentatively confirmed)

An enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma, Kevin Washburn was confirmed by the United States Senate as the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs for the U.S. Department of the Interior on September 21, 2012, and was sworn into office by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on October 9, 2012. Washburn came to the Department of the Interior from the University of New Mexico School of Law, where he served as dean. Prior to that, he served as the Rosentiel Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, and as an associate professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School. Washburn is a well-known scholar of federal Indian law. Among his other books and articles, he is a co-author and editor of the leading legal treatise in the field of Indian law, Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian Law (2012 edition). Washburn was raised in Oklahoma and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics with honors from the University of Oklahoma (1989). He also received a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School (1993), where he was editor-in-chief of the Yale Journal on Regulation.

Dr. Venida S. Chenault
President, Haskell Indian Nations University

A member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Kansas, Venida S. Chenault is an experienced educator and administrator in higher education. She is the author of the book, "Weaving Strength Weaving Power: Violence and Abuse Against Indigenous Women" (Carolina Academic Press, 2011), which focuses on the phenomenon of violence against First Nations women. She is a recognized public speaker on her work related to violence and abuse. Chenault has successful authored a wide range of grants benefiting Haskell Indian Nations University and numerous articles on empowerment and First Nations People during her career. She has provided leadership at Haskell in numerous capacities since 1991. She was even a student at Haskell in the fall of 1975 and spring of 1984 and later attended the University of Kansas, where she earned a bachelor’s in social work in 1986, a master’s in social work in 1990 and a Ph.D. in philosophy in 2004. She has received several awards, including Haskell Outstanding Alumni of the Year (Spring 2009) and the Crystal Eagle Indigenous Leadership Award, Center for Indigenous Studies, University of Kansas (Spring 2005).

Mandy Smoker Broaddus
Director of Indian Education, Montana Office of Public Instruction

Mandy Smoker Broaddus graduated from Seaver College, Pepperdine University and has served since 2009 as the director of Indian Education for the state of Montana. Broaddus is a member of the Fort Peck Sioux and Assiniboine tribes from northeastern Montana.

Connor Warner
Instructor for Urban Teacher Education, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Connor K. Warner joined the UMKC School of Education faculty in August 2014 as an Instructor of Urban Teacher Education. He is also a doctoral candidate in the KU Department of Curriculum & Teaching, where he is scheduled to defend his dissertation, “Formative Impacts of High-Stakes Portfolio Assessment on Pre-service English Teachers: A Qualitative Study of KPTP Construction and Submission,” in June 2015. Prior to arriving at UMKC, Warner served as the English Department Chair at Stevensville High School, Stevensville, Montana, where he helped revise the school’s curriculum to integrate Montana’s Indian Education for All initiative. His research interests include educational content standards, pre-service teacher education and Indian education, and his work has been published in both national and international education journals. His most recent scholarship focuses on representations of contemporary American Indians within state social studies content standards. In addition to his work at UMKC, Warner also serves as an assistant examiner for the International Baccalaureate, a reader for the Advanced Placement World History Exam, and a volunteer adjunct instructor at Haskell Indian Nations University. He grew up in and around the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Eastern Montana, and received his B.S.Ed. from Montana State University-Billings and his M.Ed. from Texas Tech University.

Dawn Baum
Senior Attorney and Indian Education Team Leader, U.S. Department of Interior, Office of the Solicitor, Bureau of Indian Education

Dawn Sturdevant Baum is a senior attorney and Indian Education Team leader in the D.C. office of the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Solicitor. She counsels the Bureau of Indian Education at DOI, which operates federal schools for Indians and provides grants and other funding to tribal schools. She transferred to this position in 2012 from the National Indian Gaming Commission’s Office of General Counsel, where she served as the Tulsa Regional Attorney handling matters such as approval of tribal gaming codes, review of financial agreements, investigation and enforcement of gaming violations, Indian land opinions, and regulatory review. Previously, Baum was an attorney with the Native American Rights Fund’s Washington, D.C., office, working on tribal codes and constitutions, education, federal recognition, and state and federal litigation. Baum graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2001. She also holds an LL.M. in American Indian Law from the University of Tulsa and a B.A. in Religious Studies from Beloit College. Baum is a past president and active member of the Native American Bar Association of D.C. and was also a contributing editor to the Federal Bar Association’s Indian Law Section newsletter. She is finishing up three years of service on the ABA’s Council for Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline. Baum is an enrolled member of the Mole Lake Band of Chippewa Indians in Wisconsin and is also Menominee. She is licensed to practice in Wisconsin, New Mexico, the District of Columbia, the Court of Federal Claims, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation tribal courts.

Jill Eichner
Attorney, U.S. Department of Education, Office of the General Counsel

Jill Eichner is an attorney at the U.S. Department of Education, Office of the General Counsel. She specializes in three program areas: English Language Learners (Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)), Indian Education (Title VII of the ESEA) and Impact Aid (Title VIII of the ESEA). She previously worked as a teacher of English Language Learners in Arlington, Virginia, and also held several nonprofit positions in the fields of early childhood and adult education. Eichner is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Michigan Law School.

Melody McCoy
Staff Attorney, Native American Rights Fund

Melody McCoy joined the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) as a staff attorney in 1986. At NARF, McCoy has worked primarily in the areas of jurisdiction in Indian country, tribal rights in education, tribal intellectual property rights, and tribal trust funds. McCoy is a past co-chair of the Federal Bar Association's Indian Law Conference, 1990-1992. She served as president of the Colorado Indian Bar Association from 1990-1992, and a board member of the American Indian Bar Association (now the National Native American Bar Association) from 1990-1991. She was a member of NARF's Litigation Management Committee from 1992-1995, and since May 2007 she again has been serving on the committee. McCoy received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University (1981) and law degree from the University of Michigan (1986). She is admitted to practice law in Colorado and Massachusetts. She has practiced before all levels of tribal and federal courts, including arguing a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. McCoy is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

William Mendoza
Executive Director, White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education

William (Bill) Mendoza was appointed executive director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education in December 2011. Mendoza (Oglala-Sicangu Lakota) grew up on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Sioux reservations in South Dakota. He has experienced, firsthand, through his professional and life experiences, the multitude of challenges facing American Indian students, educators and tribes. In addition to being a teacher and principal, Mendoza has worked at the school, professional and community level to help foster leadership development and civic engagement among American Indians. Integral to his professional and academic capacity has been his experiences as a tribal college student at Haskell Indian Nations University, Sinte Gleska University and Oglala Lakota College. He previously served as deputy director and executive director for the White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges. Since his appointment in 2011, Mendoza has provided leadership to key administration initiatives, including Executive Order 13592, Tribal Leaders Speak – The State of Indian Education 2010 Report; State-Tribal Education Partnership Pilot; and 2012 ED-DOI Memorandum of Understanding. Before coming to Washington, D.C., Mendoza was working toward a doctorate in education leadership at Montana State University (MSU). He earned his Bachelor of Arts in humanities from Fort Lewis College in 2005 and a Master of Education from MSU in 2010.

Elizabeth Kronk Warner
Associate Professor of Law; Director, KU Tribal Law & Government Center; Affiliated Professor, University of Kansas School of Law

Elizabeth Kronk Warner joined the KU Law faculty in June 2012, having previously served on the law faculties at Texas Tech University and the University of Montana. In 2010, Warner was selected to serve as an Environmental Justice Young Fellow through the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law at Vermont Law School. She has also served as a visiting professor at Xiamen University in Xiamen, China, and Bahcesehir University in Istanbul, Turkey. Her scholarship, which focuses primarily on the intersection of Indian law and environmental law, is published in several prominent journals. She is also co-author of the casebook, Native American Natural Resources. In addition to teaching, Warner serves as an appellate judge for the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Court of Appeals in Michigan. Before entering academia, Warner practiced environmental, Indian and energy law as an associate in the Washington, D.C., offices of Latham & Watkins LLP and Troutman Sanders LLP. Warner previously served as chair of the Federal Bar Association Indian Law Section and was elected to the Association’s national board of directors in 2011. She currently serves as chairwoman of the Kansas Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. She received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and a B.S. from Cornell University. Warner is a citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.


18th Annual Tribal Law & Government Conference

"The Indian Child Welfare Act: Past, Present and Future"
Friday, March 7, 2014 | Burge Union | University of Kansas

Poster for "The Indian Child Welfare Act: Past, Present and Future"

This year’s conference focuses on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), one of the most sweeping statutes in the field of federal Indian law. As Barbara Ann Atwood explained, “ICWA was designed to remedy a unique and longstanding record of child welfare abuses by federal and state officials, state court judges, and private adoption agencies that led to widespread removal of Indian children from their homes and communities.” Intense interest in ICWA was recently sparked by the U.S. Supreme Court’s consideration of and decision in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl in June 2013.

The conference will explore: 1) the historical origins of ICWA, 2) the Court’s decision in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 3) the potential future of ICWA, and 4) ethical considerations related to ICWA.

KU Law's annual Diversity in Law Banquet will follow the conference. Conference attendees are invited to attend the banquet.

CLE Credit and Lunch
6 hours of CLE credit, including 1 hours of ethics, are approved in Kansas and Missouri. Attorneys who wish to receive CLE credit will be assessed a $25 fee. Lunch will be provided.

Parking
Parking is available for $1.50 an hour in the Visitor Parking Garage, just south of Green Hall. Visitors who park in surface lots near the law school will be ticketed.

Cancellation Policy
All cancellations received on or before February 28 will be refunded 100 percent. No refunds will be allowed after that time.

Questions?
Contact Professor Elizabeth Kronk Warner at 785-864-1139 or elizabeth.kronk@ku.edu.

Schedule

8:30 Continental Breakfast
9:00-9:15 Welcome Remarks
Dean Stephen Mazza, KU Law
Professor Elizabeth Kronk Warner, Director, KU Tribal Law & Government Center
9:15-10:15 Indian Child Welfare Act: Its Origins and Application (PDF)
Dean Stacy Leeds, University of Arkansas School of Law
Moderator: Burton Warrington, President and CEO of Prairie Band LLC
10:15-10:30 Break
10:30-12:00 Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl: The Arguments, The Decision and Potential Implications
Mark Fiddler, Mark Fiddler Law Office (PDF)
Chrissi Nimmo, Assistant Attorney General of the Cherokee Nation (PDF)
Moderator: Professor Elizabeth Kronk Warner, Director, KU Tribal Law & Government Center
12:15-1:15 Lunch, Gridiron Room, Burge Union
1:30-3:00 The Future of ICWA
Russ Brien, Brien Law LLC (PDF)
Vivien Olsen, Attorney with the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation (PDF)
Professor Colette Routel, William Mitchell College of Law
3:00-3:15 Break
3:15-4:15 Ethical Considerations Related to ICWA
Professor Kate Fort, Michigan State University College of Law (PDF)
Moderator: Rebecca Howlett, KU Law Student and KU NALSA Member
4:15 Closing Remarks

Other Opportunities

KU's Native American Law Students Association is an organization of dynamic students, both Indian and non-Indian, who organize annual service projects and social events. NALSA members attend National NALSA conferences and participate in the National NALSA Moot Court Competition. On two occasions, the KU team has won first place in the competition. NALSA members also routinely attend the annual Federal Bar Association's Indian Law Conference in Albuquerque, N.M. Group members also provide mentoring and study materials.

 

 

 

Questions?

Elizabeth A. Kronk Warner
Director, Tribal Law & Government Center
Associate Professor of Law
785-864-1139
elizabeth.kronk@ku.edu

Tribal Law Conference
Submit a Request for Assistance

Interested in obtaining assistance from the Tribal Judicial Support Clinic? Use this form to submit a work request.

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  • KU’s Project for Innocence: 34 conviction reversals since 2009
  • 7,600+ alumni in all 50 states, D.C., and 21 foreign countries
  • #18 “best value” law school in the nation — National Jurist Magazine
  • 12 interdisciplinary joint degrees
  • 20th nationwide for lowest debt at graduation. — U.S. News & World Report
  • 80 percent of upper-level law classes have 25 or fewer students
  • More than 600 employment interviews at law school, 2014-15
  • 92 percent overall employment rate for Class of 2014 – top 20 percent nationally
  • 23rd: for number of law alumni promoted to partner at nation’s largest law firms
  • #1 in Kansas and Missouri for July 2015 bar exam performance