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Autumn Graphic

Lac Courte Oreilles
Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
Veterans Memorial

Ya’at’eeh/ Fall Season greetings NNABA members:

In September, I had the privilege of traveling to Sioux country in South Dakota (see story below). During this trip, I had the pleasure of meeting and working with several Native American attorneys practicing in South Dakota. I would like to applaud the work of the South Dakota Indian Country Bar Association and their member lawyers. They are committed to providing mentoring and professional development opportunities so others may grow and progress in the legal profession. They are doing their part to remove the barriers to legal education and barriers to the legal profession for Native American students and new attorneys. As we approach Veteran's Day, it is apropos to acknowledge that veterans were the first wave of Native attorneys, entering legal education on the GI Bill. These pioneers were most often the only Native students in their law schools. The pipeline to law school and the legal profession exists today because of the hard work of a few programs and these veteran pioneers, but it is still in the early phases. Although we are seeing the emergence of families with two generations of Native American attorneys, there are still many tribes which have celebrated their first tribal citizen graduating with a law degree.

I hope you are enjoying the NNABA newsletters. If you have any information or news you or our association would like to include in future newsletter, please let us know.

Linda Benally
Linda Benally (Diné)
NNABA President, 2015-2016

Advancing Justice for Native Americans.


The recruitment tour that included NNABA Foundation, the South Dakota State Bar and the South Dakota Indian Country Bar Association was a huge success on many fronts. Representatives from each of the entities visited tribal colleges and tribal high schools to provide information to Native American students about law school and law as a career. Overall, the presenters reached 650 students on the three-day tour and visited the communities of Pine Ridge, Rapid City, Spearfish and Rosebud, South Dakota on September 28 to October 1, 2015.

The representatives learned from past NNABA President Heather Dawn Thompson and Native American attorney Dani Daugherty about the challenges students and the communities in South Dakota face. South Dakota State Bar President-Elect Stephanie Pochop hosted a dinner in Gregory, South Dakota where we had a chance to meet tribal council members, local attorneys and judges. The Rosebud Tribal Court judges hosted the presenters for lunch, and the group toured museums and tribal facilities at both Pine Ridge and Rosebud.

Seth Pearman (President, South Dakota Indian Country Bar Association), and Dani Daugherty

Seth Pearman, Linda Benally (NNABA President), and Eric Schulte (President, The State Bar of South Dakota)

Seth Pearman, Dani Daugherty, Linda Benally, Tracey Zephier & Robin Zephier

Tate Means, Linda Benally and Lonnie Wright

Rosebud Sioux Tribal Court judges: Chief Justice Cheryl Three Stars Valandra and Judge Leroy Grieveswith with Presidents Benally and Schulte

Dani Daugherty, Seth Pearman, Stephanie Pochop (President-Elect, The State Bar of South Dakota Bo Bear Shield) and President Eric Schulte


National Native American Bar Association President Linda Benally and Minnesota American Indian Bar Association President Philip Brodeen have partnered to co-host the American Indian Bar Associations Presidents’ Roundtable. Presidents Benally and Brodeen hosted the teleconference on September 30, 2015. The Roundtable participants agreed to meet again in January 2016. The intent of the Presidents' Round Table is to provide voluntary American Indian Bar Association Presidents an operational network including:

  • identifying and collaborating on issues affecting Native Americans in the legal community;
  • sharing professional resources and information; and
  • supporting goals and objectives of each American Indian Bar Association.

The Presidents, their respective Associations and in year founded are:

  • National Native American Law Students Association (1970),Hunter Cox
  • National Native American Bar Association (1973), Linda Benally
  • Colorado Indian Bar Association (1986), Padraic McCoy
  • Oklahoma Indian Bar Association (1990), Arvo Mikkanen
  • Minnesota American Indian Bar Association (1990), Philip Brodeen
  • Native Hawaiian Bar Association (1992), Paul Lucas
  • Native American Bar Association – DC (1997), Corey Hinton
  • California Indian Law Association (2000), Adam Bailey
  • Native American Bar Association of Arizona (2007), Diandra Benally
  • South Dakota Indian Country Bar Association (2012), Seth Pearman
  • Northwest Indian Bar Association, Lee K. Shannon
  • New York Indian Bar Association, Shannon McLaughlin


NNABA President-Elect Jennnifer Weddle, Treasurer Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, and Heather Dawn Thompson (NNABA President 2007-2009) presented to the Jurisdiction and Tribal Government Subcommittee at NCAI’s Annual Convention, with Committee Chairman John Echohawk presiding. NNABA shared the "“The Pursuit of Inclusion: An In-Depth Exploration of the Experiences and Perspectives of Native American Attorneys in the Legal Profession” with a packed room of tribal leaders and discussed the findings and NNABA’s other initiatives and efforts, focusing on pipeline and talking about NNABA President Linda Benally and Heather Dawn Thompson’s recent South Dakota recruitment tour. Presenters also shared information about efforts at the American Bar Association, including NNABA Past-President Mary Smith’s positioning to be the first Native American ABA officer and Osage Congresswoman Shannon Edwards’ service on the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. Presenters also talked about scholarships and mentoring native law students, helping Native lawyers feel visible in the profession, and working on issues of importance to Indian Country.

See below for the information about recent presentations.


Date / Location Title/Host/Event Presenter(s)
October 16, 2015
Jackson Rancheria, CA
California Indian Law Association Conference Lauren van Schilfgaarde
October 17, 2015
Berkeley, CA
California Indian Conference 2015 - UC Berkeley “Strengthening the Advocate Pipeline: Early Education Strategies to Increase the Number of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians in the Legal Profession” Fatima Abbas
October 20, 2015
San Diego, CA
NCAI 72nd Annual Convention
Jurisdiction and Tribal Government Subcommittee
Jennifer Weddle
Patty Ferguson-Bohnee
Heather Dawn Thompson


Presidents Linda Benally, National Native American Bar Association, and Diandra Benally, Native American Bar Association-Arizona will meet with members of the Native American Law Students Associations at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law in Tucson and Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in Tempe. They will also meet with interested Native American law students at Arizona Summit Law School in Phoenix. NABA-AZ and NNABA hope that these conversations will bring attention to the unique needs of Native American law students and the important role of NALSA in law schools. During a lunch time gathering, NABA-AZ and NNABA will discuss ways that their organizations may offer support to students, as well as providing information about each organization. They will engage in conversation about NNABA’s recently completed study entitled, “The Pursuit of Inclusion: An In-Depth Exploration of the Experiences and Perspectives of Native American Attorneys in the Legal Profession.”


The American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession will honor Sarah Deer, Professor of Law at William Mitchell College of Law in Saint Paul, MN, with its 2016 Spirit of Excellence Award for her commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. The award will be presented during a ceremony on February 6, 2016, at the ABA Midyear Meeting in San Diego. NNABA nominated Deer for this honor. The Spirit of Excellence Award celebrates the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. Awards are presented to lawyers who excel in their professional settings, who personify excellence on the national, state, or local level, and who have demonstrated a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. NNABA extends a warm congratulations to Sarah Deer on this well-deserved honor!

Sarah Deer, Professor of Law, William Mitchell College of Law

Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, NNABA Treasurer, receives 2015 Arizona American Excellence in Leadership Award

Patty Ferguson-Bohnee (Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe) will be honored as the Woman of the Year at the 2015 Arizona American Excellence in Leadership Awards in Scottsdale, Arizona. The ceremony will be held on November 19, 2015, at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. Ferguson-Bohnee is the Faculty Director of the Indian Legal Program, Director of the Indian Legal Clinic and Clinical Professor of Law at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Each year, the Phoenix Indian Center recognizes outstanding individuals and business for their leadership in the American Indian Community. This year, Ferguson-Bohnee will be honored with the Woman of the Year Award for her demonstrated dedication, leadership and commitment to the advancement, promotion and development of the cultural, educational, social, economic, and political welfare of the American Indian Community.

On behalf of NNABA, we extend congratulations to Patty Ferguson-Bohnee on this well-deserved recognition!

Ferguson-Bohnee has substantial experience in Indian law, election law and policy matters, voting rights, and status clarification of tribes. She has testified before the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the Louisiana State Legislature regarding tribal recognition, has represented tribal clients in administrative, state, federal, and tribal courts, as well as before state and local governing bodies and proposed revisions to the Real Estate Disclosure Reports to include tribal provisions. She has also assisted in complex voting rights litigation on behalf of tribes, and has drafted state legislative and congressional testimony on behalf of tribes with respect to voting rights’ issues. On behalf of NNABA, congratulation Patty Ferguson-Bohnee on this well-deserved recognition! For more information about the awards ceremony, go to

corporate partner: nbc universal

During 2015, NBCU has engaged in efforts supporting Native American students in their path to and through law. NBCUniversal contributed $2,500 to NNABA Foundation for a scholarship; NBCU attorneys reviewed personal statements submitted by students participating in ASU’s College of Law two-day prelaw session; and offered resume review for NNABA 2015 Foundation Scholarship recipients. NBCU plans to support NNALSA’s 2016 Moot Court and Writing Competition at Columbia Law School. They are also looking for opportunities to work with American Indian Bar Associations located in New York City and Los Angeles.

AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION Presidential Appointments

Each year, the ABA President-Elect makes approximately 600 appointments to standing and special committees, commissions and other entities and initiatives. This month, we highlight the appointments of Congresswoman Shannon L. Edwards (Osage Congress) and Robert Saunooke (NNABA, Board of Directors).

Shannon L. Edwards, Osage/Chickasaw from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has been appointed as the 10th Circuit representative to the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. Edwards said “It is a great honor to serve the profession through service on the Committee on the Federal Judiciary. I have already been introduced to many outstanding attorneys and future jurists. I am happy to bring my perspective as a Native American attorney and judge to a very thorough evaluation process.”

She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1983 with an A.B. in History. She received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. in 1986. Following graduation, she clerked for the Honorable Luther B. Eubanks, Chief District Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

From 1987-1989 Edwards was an attorney within the United States Department of Justice, Office of the United States Trustee. She joined Monnet, Hayes, Bullis, Thompson & Edwards law firm in Oklahoma City in 1990 and was a partner in the firm from 1995-2008. In 1994, Edwards was elected the Supreme Court Judge of the Osage Nation and served in that capacity for four years. In 2006 she was elected to the First Osage Nation Congress, reelected in 2012, and currently is a member of the Fourth Congress. Edwards has been on all the Congressional Committees and has chaired Budget and Finance, Appropriations, Commerce and Economic Development, Education and Rules and Ethics.

Since 2010, Edwards has been an Appeals Magistrate for United States Department of the Interior, Southern Plains Region. She is currently the Chief Magistrate of the Court. She also maintains a law practice in Edmond, Oklahoma and assists tribal courts throughout the Nation in assessing their processes and performance. She is a member of the American, Oklahoma and Oklahoma and Osage County Bar Associations. She is also admitted to practice in the Northern, Eastern and Western Districts of Oklahoma and before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and several tribal courts. Her areas of practice include trial and appellate practice, business litigation, Indian law, and insurance law. From 1994-1997 she served as Chairperson of the Oklahoma Bar Association Public Information Committee.

What is the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary?

The Standing Committee is comprised of 15 members – two members from the 9th Circuit, one member from each of the other federal judicial circuits, and the Chair of the committee. The President of the ABA appoints members for staggered three-year terms, and no member may serve more than two terms. Appointment to the committee is based on a lawyer’s possession of the highest professional stature and integrity, and members have varied professional experiences and backgrounds.

In 2009, the ABAs Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary resumed its long-standing practice of providing the White House with the committee’s evaluation of the professional qualifications of each prospective nominee to the lower federal courts in advance of the President’s making a nomination. Every President from 1953 through 2000 consulted with the committee regarding prospective federal judicial nominations. From 2001 through 2008, the committee conducted its evaluations after the President submitted the names of nominees to the U.S. Senate but prior to the confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Regardless of when its work is done, the committee has always evaluated only the professional competence, integrity and judicial temperament of each nominee. For more information, click here.

CBAC Leadership with members of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary after meeting with committee at ABA Annual Meeting in July 2015.


The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court has a trial-level bench with three judges. Created in 1992, the Tribal Court hears a variety of cases, including civil, criminal, family and probate matters, and administrative appeals of decisions from tribal government agencies. Any decision rendered by the trial court can be appealed to the Mashantucket Pequot Court of Appeals, to which Thomas Weathers was appointed. Judge Weathers was appointed by the Tribal Council and will serve a three-year term. Weathers is an Aleut and an enrolled member of the Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska.

Weathers practices with the law office of Thomas Eagle Weathers in San Rafael, California. He has devoted much of his legal career to Indian Law, advising both native and non-native clients in complex business and litigation matters. He has been both a trial and appellate judge for tribal courts and a judge pro tem for small claims in state court.


The NNABA Young Lawyers Committee conducted its bimonthly meeting on October 9, 2015. This committee is open to new members, so please join. The committee will discuss happenings in the last two months; reports from subcommittees on Membership, Indian Country Policy, and Outreach; and plans for the future.


Minnesota American Indian Bar Association

Reception: Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 4:30-7:00 pm
U.S. Courthouse, Minneapolis
300 South Fourth St.
Minneapolis, MN 55415

MAIBA will be co-hosting an extraordinary outreach event with the United States District Court, District of Minnesota and FBA-MN focusing on Indian treaty rights. As part of the event, the Why Treaties Matter Exhibit will be on display at the U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis for two weeks in November. MAIBA will be co-hosting a kickoff reception on November 3, 2015 in the atrium of the U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis for the outreach event. The Honorable Diane Humetewa (Hopi), the first Native American women appointed to an Article III Judgeship and the first enrolled tribal member to serve as a United States District Court Judge will give the keynote address at the reception.

Broward County Women Lawyers' Association

Tuesday, November 17, 2015, 11:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Annual Native American Heritage Month Program
301 East Broward Blvd, 2nd Floor, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Discussion and information regarding the recent creation of the Seminole Tribe of Florida Tribal Court and its jurisdictional issues, creation, background and procedures for practicing before the Tribal Court.

Presenter/Moderator: Robert O. Saunooke, Florida Attorney, enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, NNABA Board of Directors

Panel Members: Stan Wolfe, Director Seminole Tribal Court, enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Chief Justice Willie Johns, Seminole Appellate Court


7th Annual Seven Generation Dinner & Silent Auction

On September 26, 2015, NABA-AZ held its 7th Annual Seven Generations Dinner and Silent Auction at the Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino, Gila River Indian Community, Chandler, Arizona. The event was dedicated to celebrating the achievements of three distinguished and extraordinary individuals of the Arizona Native American legal community.

  • Lifetime Achievement: Eric N. Dahlstrom, Partner, Rothstein, Donatelli Hughes, Dahlstrom, Schoenburg & Bienvenu, LLP
  • Community Leadership: James Anaya, Regents Professor & the James J. Lenoir Professor of Human Rights Law and Policy, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
  • Member of the Year: Denten D. Robinson, Partner, Rothstein, Donatelli, Hughes, Dahlstrom, Schoenburg & Bienvenu, LLP

The event also marked NABA-AZ’s eight years of work since its inception in advancing and improving the practice of Native American and Federal Indian law, as well as promoting the professional growth of its membership.

2015 NABA-AZ Seven Generations Scholarship Recipients

Through the generosity of NABA-AZ’s members, supporters and friends, NABA-AZ has awarded more than $45,000 in scholarships to Native American students attending law schools in Arizona. NABA-AZ recognizes and congratulates this year’s Seven Generation Scholarship recipients representing all three law schools in Arizona.

  • University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
    • Anna Hohag (Bishop Paiute), 2L
    • Francisco Olea (Pascua Yaqui), 1L
    • Jacob Metoxen (Oneida), 1L
    • Lisa Wrazidlo (Bad River Band of Superior Chippewa), 2L
  • Arizona Summit Law School
    • Audrey L. Green (San Carlos Apache), 1L
  • Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University
    • Glennas’ba Augborne (Navajo), 3L
    • Rani Williams (Walker River Paiute), 1L
    • Stephanie Sfiridis (Mashpee Wampanoag), 2L
    • Tyler Brown (Hidatsa), 3L
    • Tyson Yazzie (Navajo), 1L

To learn more about NABA-AZ, please visit or email

California Indian Law Association

The California Indian Law Association held its 15th annual conference at the Jackson Rancheria on October 16, 2015. NNABA director Lauren van Schilfgaarde presented on the NNABA Pursuit to Inclusion Native attorney report. Panels at the conference included "California Water Rights, Ground Water, and the Drought," "Tribes and the Marijuana Industry," "P.L. 280: A Path to Retrocession," "Fee to Trust: Strategies and Practice in Indian Country," and "Update on California Litigation and Legislation." The Outstanding Achievement in Indian Law Award was awarded to the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee. Materials and further information are available at

Nebraska State Bar Association Establishes Indian Law Section

Submitted by Lucas LaRose

On October 8, 2015, the House of Delegates of the Nebraska State Bar Association approved the petition to create an Indian Law Section. One of the Section's purpose's is "to advance the understanding, study, adoption, application, interpretation, and improvement of the federal laws, tribal laws and, to the extent applicable, state laws, rules, and regulations which pertain to Indians, to Indian tribes, or to Indian country . . ." The founders of the Section are attorneys from the Indian Law firm Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP, Jennifer Bear Eagle, Lucas LaRose, and Lindsey Schuler. The founders are excited about the number of attorneys who gave their support for the creation of the Section. For more information, contact Lucas LaRose at


Ms. Lamarre (Mohawk) is an associate at Phillips Lytle LLP in Buffalo, New York, where she concentrates her practice in corporate law, particularly tax planning, executive compensation and employee benefits (ERISA). She counsels a broad spectrum of employers regarding the design, documentation, legal compliance, and administration of qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, health and welfare plans, and executive compensation plans. She regularly advises clients on the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate and reporting requirements. She is admitted to practice law in New York and California and is well versed in all aspects of federal and New York State tax and tax-related matters, including corporate tax compliance and planning with respect to standard business operations, mergers, and acquisitions. Lamarre’s experience includes representation on general matters involving Native American tribes and business entities.

Lamarre received her J.D. from Cornell Law School and an L.LM. in Taxation from New York University School of Law. She is an American Bar Association (ABA) Equal Opportunity Scholar, and was President of the Cornell Chapter of the Native American Law Students Association. While in law school, Lamarre clerked at the Native American Rights Fund (NARF). Ms. Lamarre was a Bench Editor of the Cornell Law School Moot Court Board where she wrote and judged moot court competitions. As a member of the Cornell Law School Land Use Clinic, she published a note in the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, Owning the Center of the Earth: Hydraulic Fracturing and Subsurface Trespass in the Marcellus Shale Region. Lamarre holds an Government and Middle Eastern Studies from Dartmouth College.

Lamarre is a member of the ABA and the New York State Bar Association, Tax Law Section and Young Lawyers Division. She currently serves as the NNABA representative to the ABA Young Lawyers Division Council. She is Treasurer of the Western New York Chapter of the Women’s Bar Association of State of New York. Lamarre also serves on the Board of Directors of Western New York United Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Inc., a community based prevention agency designed to increase awareness and educate individuals to prevent substance abuse.


NNABA has established the following committees to carry out its work for this bar year. If you are interested in joining on a committee, please contact for more information.

  • CLE Committee
  • Diversity Committee
  • Membership Committee
  • Legislative Day Committee
  • Fundraising Committee
  • Young Lawyers Committee


Our Attorney Membership Form and Student Membership Form are available to download as PDF files. Benefits of being a NNABA member include 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. 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