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May Flower

Hello, NNABA members:

We hope you are enjoying these e-newsletters. If you have comments or suggestions, we would very much like to hear from you. Please feel free to contact us at [email protected].

Mary Smith
Mary Smith
NNABA President, 2013-2015


NNABA is co-sponsoring two resolutions that will be considered before the ABA House of Delegates on August 11-12 at the ABA Annual Meeting in Boston. The two resolutions are (1) a change to the ABA Constitution to permit tribal court practitioners to be lawyer members of the ABA and (2) the Legal Access Job Corps Resolution.

1. Constitutional Amendment 11-4: Co-sponsor of Constitution and Bylaw change to amend §3.1 to include individuals in good standing with federally recognized tribal courts and amend §3.3 to remove from membership any individual not in good standing in any jurisdiction.

The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Membership has filed a Constitution and Bylaw change to amend §3.1 to include individuals in good standing with federally recognized tribal courts and amend §3.3 to remove from membership any individual not in good standing in any jurisdiction.

The ABA has made significant strides towards inclusion but there is a glaring injustice that needs to be corrected to fully embrace Goal III – full membership for American citizens who happen to be licensed through a tribal court as opposed to a state, federal or territorial bar. Under the ABA Constitution and bylaws as currently drafted, anyone licensed in a state, federal or territorial jurisdiction within the United States may join the Association as a full member with all rights and responsibilities. That policy does not extend to those who are licensed through a tribal court of a federally recognized tribe. Thus, there is a class of American citizens, most of whom attended an ABA accredited law school, who are denied the opportunity for full membership in our Association because they practice solely in a tribal court. As a policy decision, the ABA extends the opportunity for full membership to lawyers who practice in Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The same inclusive policy should apply to individuals practicing before tribal courts within the United States. These American citizens deserve an opportunity for full participation in our Association.

In recognition of the three sovereign court systems in the United States (federal, state and tribal) and the justice served by these court systems, this resolution seeks to permit tribal court practitioners – who are not currently eligible to be ABA members – to become full members of the ABA. This resolution will – at long last – put tribal court bar admissions on equal footing with the bars of states, territories and possessions of the United States.

2. Resolution 108: Legal Access Job Corp Resolution

The ABA Legal Access Job Corps is a Presidential Initiative that was formed to advance models to better deliver legal services through the resources of newly-admitted lawyers. Details about the Task Force and its work are at

As part of its mission, the Task Force has filed a resolution with the House of Delegates to be considered at the ABA Annual Meeting, encouraging stakeholders in all settings to advance the creation of models that marshal the resources of newly-admitted lawyers to better serve under-served populations.


CBAC Advocacy Day

On July 15 and 16, 2014, Immediate Past President Patty Ferguson-Bohnee attended the annual Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC) annual meeting, along with representatives of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Hispanic National Bar Association, and the National Bar Association. Among other issues, NNABA, along with the other bar associations, advocated for strengthening the Voting Rights Act as well as advancing the Paycheck Fairness Act. To view NNABA’s resolutions, click here.


On May 28, 2014, NNABA joined as a signatory to the letter that was sent by more than seventy Indian tribes and civil rights organizations to NFL players, urging that the NFL team in Washington, DC, change its name and mascot. To view the letter, click here On May 21, 2014, a related letter was sent by fifty U.S. Senators to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. To view that letter, click here.


On June 3, 2014, the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA) applauded the historic confirmation of Keith Harper as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Harper is the first Native American and the first enrolled tribal member to serve as an Ambassador for the United States. Harper was confirmed by a vote of 52 to 42.

An enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, Harper is one of the leading lawyers in the country. During his legal career, Harper has advocated for the civil rights and human rights of Native Americans in the U.S. and indigenous peoples around the globe.

To read NNABA’s press release, click here.


Thank so much to everyone who completed NNABA’s groundbreaking survey on Native American attorneys and participated in the one-on-one interviews. NNABA met is goal for the survey with the final tally of 527 persons participating in the survey which surpassed our goal of 500 respondents. This is incredible news!

NNABA intends to release the study in the spring of 2015. Be on the lookout for the historic report.


NNABA is seeking sponsors of its groundbreaking research on Native American attorneys.

Contribute Here
We seek your support on this groundbreaking study. For more information on the study, click here

For information on how to contribute, CLICK HERE. The net proceeds will be used to fund the Research Initiative. We plan to energize the business and legal communities to further improve the status of Native Americans in the legal profession because it is in the best interest of the profession to do so. We hope you will join us in these efforts with your support.


The second annual Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy (CBLA) was held in Minneapolis, MN, on June 26-28, 2014. The CBLA is a collaborative effort among the American Bar Association, Hispanic National Bar Association, National Bar Association, National Native American Bar Association (NNABA), and National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. The CBLA strengthens the pipeline of diverse bar association leaders through leadership training and professional development programs. President Mary Smith and President-Elect Linda Benally were both members of the CBLA Steering Committee and presenters at the CBLA.

NNABA had three participants in the class of 2014:
Matthew Archer-Beck
Bernice Delorme
Meshach Rhoades

NNABA had one alumni participant:
Leah Sixkiller

MEMBER PROFILE: Makalika Destarte Naholowaa

Makalika Nahalowaa

Meet Makalika Nahalowaa, NNABA’s new ABA Young Lawyer Division (YLD) Representative.

Makalika Destarte Naholowaa (Kanaka Maoli/Native Hawaiian) is a Trademark Attorney for Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, Washington. Her work includes strategic trademark counseling, rights procurement, portfolio management, and management of enforcement matters in the U.S. and internationally. Before joining Microsoft, Makalika was an Associate in the Trademark and Copyright Group of Perkins Coie LLP, sitting in the firm’s Seattle office.

She serves on the Boards for the National Native American Bar Association and Washington Lawyers for the Arts, and on the U.S. Subcommittee of the International Trademark Association’s Amicus Committee. For part of the year, Makalika also teaches intellectual property to Masters students as an adjunct professor at Seattle University.

Makalika is admitted to practice law in the State of Washington. She holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School. At Columbia she was a Stone Scholar and an editor for the Science and Technology Law Review. Makalika also holds a B.S. in Mathematics with a Concentration in Computer Science from Arizona State University.

Makalika has a five-year old daughter, a three-year old Maine Coon, and a one-year old brindle American Pit Bull Terrier. They destroy her house; when she’s not working, she is sweeping up their messes. Nevertheless, she likes spending time with them and her husband Alex. Her extended family is vast, noisy, and lives mostly in Hawaii. She likes to spend time with them too.

To read more, click here.


NNABA is announcing an exciting new project, and we need you! We are beginning to collect some short YouTube videos of Native American attorneys. If you would like to highlight your career or some topic applicable to the legal profession, please record a short (no more than two minutes) video of yourself and send it to us. We will begin posting some of these videos on our website. The purpose of this project is to highlight the incredible Native American attorneys around the country.

To obtain the template for the member profile, click here.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Videos should be no more than two minutes.

  • The following one or more topics can be addressed: (1) why you went to law school; (2) describe your career and your practice; (3) describe one legal matter that you are most proud of or that was memorable; and (4) advice you would give to young Native American attorneys or advice you would give to young Native Americans considering whether to go to law school.

  • Alternatively, you can address an important legal issue facing Indian Country, e.g., ICWA, domestic violence, land into trust, voting rights.

  • If you have any questions, please e-mail [email protected].

  • Send the final videos to [email protected].


Our Attorney Membership Form and Student Membership Form can be completed online, and are available to download as PDF files for those who prefer to mail in their forms. Benefits of being a NNABA member include weekly access to a variety of new, nationwide job announcements by email and on this site. To join, click here.

The membership year runs from April to April and dues are $75 per year.

NEW! In addition to checks and money orders, NNABA is now able to accept credit card payment for payment of dues.

If you have any questions about membership or experience any difficulty with downloading, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].


ABA Annual Meeting – Program on Sovereignty and Economic Development in Indian Country

NNABA is pleased to co-sponsor Sovereignty, Economic Development, and Poverty Reduction in Indian Country: Legal Issues Related to Proven Strategies and Untapped Opportunities. The program will consist of a panel of speakers who will discuss experiences of tribes that have developed successful economic diversification development strategies, as well as the key legal issues that they have overcome in the process. The panel will also highlight opportunities for the reduction of poverty and increasing human security in Native American communities.

This program will take place on Thursday, August 7, 2014 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Holland & Knight, 10 St. James Avenue, 11th Floor, Terrace Conference Room, Boston, MA 02116.

ABA Annual Meeting – Program on Unconscious Bias

NNABA is pleased to co-sponsor at the upcoming ABA Annual Meeting in Boston on Saturday, August 9 from 10:30 a.m. to Noon, the ABA Judicial Division's Task Force on Perceptions of Justice presentation of a "Magnitude 360* CLE Showcase Program" entitled "' . . . and Justice for Some': Unconscious Bias and The Law."

"'. . . and Justice for Some': Unconscious Bias and The Law", a "Magnitude 360* CLE Showcase Program," will explore the new and growing body of empirical data documenting the profound unconscious biases that taint the judgment of everyone involved in the justice system – including judges, lawyers, and jurors, as well as law enforcement and corrections officers – at all stages of the process, in both civil and criminal cases. Renowned Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree will moderate the fast-paced, provocative round-table dialogue, which will be conducted in a unique format modeled on the Emmy award-winning PBS series, the "Fred Friendly Seminars." Audience members will participate in the engaging, highly-interactive, and provocative multi-media presentation, using hand-held technology to signal their responses to various "real life" scenarios highlighting the phenomenon and the wide-ranging impact of "implicit bias" based on race/ethnicity (as well as other personal traits). Expert commentary will be provided by a star-studded panel, including: Sherilynn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund; Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor at Slate Magazine; Professor Gregory S. Parks, one of the nation’s preeminent scholars and researchers on the impact of implicit racial bias and the justice system; and GW Law Professor Jonathan Turley, an award-winning blogger, a columnist for USA Today and an on-air legal commentator for NBC News and CBS News.



National Voter Registration Day is a celebration of the right to vote and of the importance of being registered. It is a non-partisan, collaborative effort to make information about registering to vote inescapable for one day. NVRD will create opportunities to reach thousands who could not be reached otherwise and educate more Americans than ever before, bringing new voters into the fold. This year we’re celebrating NVRD on September 23rd.

NNABA will be joining other organizations, businesses, elected officials, and celebrities across the nation who will be promoting voter registration and helping educate the millions of Americans who aren't familiar with voter registration procedures or deadlines.

Visit to find ways to get involved, to register to vote, and help #CelebrateNVRD


The ABA Section of International Law invites you to attend our 2014 Fall Meeting in the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, Argentina from October 21-25, 2014. The 2014 Fall Meeting will bring together over 1,000 leading attorneys, corporate counsel, government officials, academics and NGO lawyers for a conference unlike any other. World-class speakers and international legal experts will lead over 70 continuing legal education sessions on international legal and ethics issues including sessions on Business / Regulation / Compliance; Dispute Resolution / Litigation; Environmental / Energy; Human Rights; Legal Practice / Ethics; M&A / Finance / Tax; and Public International Law / Rule of Law.

2014 Fall Meeting attendees will have limitless opportunities to network with colleagues, decision makers, and potential clients from around the world and will also have ample time to experience the sights and sounds of Buenos Aires at planned social events, receptions and outings. All registrants will take home a free bottle of Malbec wine and leather iPad holder and will have the opportunity to sign up for a several activities around Buenos Aires including free tango lessons and a home hospitality night. There will also be planned entertainment for registered guests, spouses and significant others.

NNABA is a Cooperating Entity on this event and members can register for the conference at the discounted ABA Section of International Law Member Rates by using the hardcopy registration form.

Register before September 8th to save on your registration with Early Bird Rates. Registration rates are further discounted for young lawyers (35 years and under), full time government and NGO employees, academics, law students, corporate counsel, solo / small practice and retired attorneys.

Click here for more information on programming, hotel accommodations and the latest updates on the 2014 Fall Meeting.