Resolution No. 2012-1 – Representation in Federal Judiciary
NNABA Resolution 2012-2 – VAWA
NNABA Resolution No. 2012-3 – Increased Funding for Tribal Justice Systems
NNABA Resolution 2011-2 – Deepwater Horizon Spill Response
NNABA Resolution 2011-3 – Inclusion of Tribes in Climate Change Discussions
NNABA Resolution 2011-4 – Sharia Law
Stop Academic Ethicit Fraud/”Box-Checking”
Many of the concerns NNABA has we share with other minority groups such as increasing the number of minority lawyers and judges, and general sensitivity to minority issues. There is a one large systemic problem, however, that seems to be unique to the Indian community: Lying about being Native American on law school applications.
While few people would indicate they were Asian-American or African-American on a law school application unless it was a part of their identity, for some reason there is a wide level of comfort about self-identifying as Native American simply because one was “born in America.” This is particularly disconcerting considering being Native American is not just an ethnic identity, but is an actual citizenship which carries with it a formal Tribal enrollment number, not unlike a social security number.
Despite numerous attempts by NNABA to encourage law schools to address this issue, they are quietly complicit. Their silence helps pad their minority numbers. To highlight this issue, one only need look at the census data. From 1990-2000 ABA accredited law schools reported graduating nearly 2,500 Native Americans. During the same time period, the U.S. Census only reported an increase of just over 300 Native American attorneys.
CBAC/NNABA Resolution: on Academic Ethnicity Fraud
“One-Pager”/Backgrounder on Native American Tribal Citizenship
NNABA Resolution: Specific Language Recommended by NNABA for all university and law school applications
Include Indian Law on State Bar Exams
Thirty-Five states have federally recognized Tribal governments within their boundaries. In some years, nearly a third of U.S. Supreme Court cases are Indian law cases. State courts and Federal courts make decisions about Tribes and Native Americans every day with little to no knowledge of the unique area of Indian law. Currently only Washington , Arizona , and South Dakota have Indian law on their State bar exam.
NNABA’s goal is to ensure that every state with federally recognized Tribes within their boundaries includes Indian law on their bar exam.
Include Federal Indian Law in Law School Curriculum – “Indian Law Modules”
Despite the fact that Tribes are located in at least 35 states, Indian law is not integrated into the majority of law schools in America. Most Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure classes do not even mention that there are in fact three (not two) distinct sovereigns, legal systems, and courts in the Unites States.
Law schools need to integrate Indian law into pre-existing curriculums, and (especially those with Tribes within their state) offer a full stand alone course in the specialty of federal Indian law. NNABA is working with a number of law school professors to create and maintain “Indian Law Modules” that can be inserted into pre-existing curriculum in a variety of different subjects.
Increase Natives and Tribal Court Judges in the Judiciary
Just as Natives are underrepresented in the legal profession in general, they are grossly underrepresented on the Judiciary. In fact, there is not a single enrolled Native American on the Federal bench. This is particularly disconcerting considering Tribes governmental status and Native American’ political status puts them in Federal court more than any other group of people in the United States.
NNABA will continue to work with Native attorneys and Tribal Court judges, and with the Senate and the White House to promote viable candidates.
The Tribal Partnership Program: Matching Pro Bono Law Firms with Tribes
The goal of the Tribal Partnership Program is to provide much needed legal pro bono support to Indian Country. The program is designed to bring in large non-Indian-law law firms and encourage them to provide pro bono assistance in their pre-existing areas of expertise to Tribal governments and Tribal organizations.
Some examples of past projects include assistance with the incorporation of an organization for the descendants of the survivors of Wounded Knee, general counsel support to the Sisseton-Wahpeton Tribe in South Dakota.
Increase the Number of Native American Law Students
Native Americans have one of the smallest bars in the nation, disproportionately small compared to their percentage of the population. NNABA is committed to increasing the number of Native students who attend college and go on to attend law school.