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SPEAKER PROFILES


Lee Bergen
Bergen Law Offices, LLC (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

Lee Bergen has practiced Federal Indian Law for 20 years, focusing on helping Indian tribes safeguard their sovereignty and develop their economies.

After graduating from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1986, Bergen stared his career in Indian Law at the Navajo Nation Department of Justice in Window Rock, Arizona, where he served his tribe as a staff attorney.  From 1989 to 2004, Bergen furthered his career in Indian Law, first as an associate and then as a partner at the Nordhaus Law Firm in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  In November of 2004, Bergen established his own Indian law firm.

Lee serves as general and special counsel to Indian tribes and their businesses, primarily in New Mexico, including a national inter-tribal government self-insurance risk pool.  He has experience with litigation, commercial transactions, corporations, administrative law, Indian tax, natural resources, water law, insurance, and gaming.  Some of Bergen’s noteworthy cases include:  Kosiba v. Pueblo of San Juan, 2006-NMCA-057; NLRB v. Pueblo of San Juan, 305 F. Supp. 2d 1229 (D. N.M. 2003); NLRB v. Pueblo of San Juan 276 F. 3d 1186 (10th Cir. 2002) (en banc); Gallegos v. Pueblo of San Juan, No. CIV 96-01127 LH/RLP (D. N.M. July 31, 1997); Hawl’Bay Ba:j Enterprises, Inc. v. Vaughn, 6 S.W. Intertribal Ct. App. 21 (Nov. 15, 1995); Hercules, Inc. v. Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians, 20 Indian L. Rep. 6025 (1993).


Bethany Berger
Professor of Law, University of Connecticut School of Law

Professor Berger graduated with honors from Wesleyan University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and from Yale Law School.  After law school, Professor Berger went to the Navajo and Hopi reservations to serve as the Director of the Native American Youth Law Project of DNA-People's Legal Services.  There, she conducted litigation challenging discrimination against Indian children, drafted and secured the passage of tribal laws affecting children, and helped to create a Navajo alternative to detention program.  She then became Managing Attorney of Advocates for Children of New York, where she worked on impact litigation and policy reform concerning the rights of children in public education.  Professor Berger is a judge with the Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals, and past chair of the Indian Nations and Indigenous People’s Section of the American Association of Law Schools. She is a Co-Author and member of the Editorial Board of Felix S. Cohen's Handbook of Federal Indian Law, the preeminent treatise in the field, and is a co-author of a casebook, American Indian Law: Cases and Commentary, with Robert Anderson, Philip Frickey, and Sarah Krakoff, and the author of a number of articles on federal Indian law and property, and co-author of the next edition of Joseph William Singer, Property Law: Rules, Policies and Practices (forthcoming Aspen 2014).  Professor Berger has also served as the Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School and as a Visiting Professor at University of Michigan Law School.


Curtis Berkey
Lecturer, UC Berkeley School of Law; Partner, Berkey Williams LLP

Mr. Berkey specializes in the areas of tribal environmental protection, land transactions, cultural resource protection, water rights and land claims. He has worked in the field of Indian law his entire legal career, from 1979 to the present. He was a staff attorney at the Indian Law Resource Center in Washington, D.C. from 1979 to 1990, where he litigated many significant Indian land claims cases. In 1990, Mr. Berkey became the Washington Director of the Indian Law Resource Center, a position he held for five years.

In 1995, Mr. Berkey joined the U.S. Justice Department as a senior trial lawyer in the Indian Resources Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division. In that capacity, he litigated a number of environmental cases and complex water cases for Indian tribes. In 1997, he received the Department of Justice's Meritorious Award for his efforts in litigating and settling a multi-million dollar groundwater contamination case on behalf of the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma.
In 1997, Mr. Berkey entered private practice with an exclusive focus on Indian law. He represented the Pueblo of Santa Clara in reacquiring a significant portion of its ancestral lands from private owners, which for the first time in 140 years gave the Pueblo complete control and ownership of its watershed and traditional use areas in the Baca Ranch. He represented the Yurok Tribe in several significant victories in federal court establishing their fishing and water rights in the Klamath River. He represented a consortium of Northern California tribes in securing the right to continue traditional harvesting and gathering within marine protected areas set up by California.

Mr. Berkey is a frequent speaker at conferences on Indian law and has published widely in professional journals. He is co-author of the critically acclaimed book Exiled in the Land of the Free: Democracy, Indian Nations and the U.S. Constitution (1992).


Joseph Bryan
Assistant Professor of Geography, University of Colorado at Boulder

Joseph Bryan, Ph.D., University of California Berkeley, 2007, is Assistant Professor of Geography whose work focuses on indigenous politics in the Americas, human rights, and critical cartography. His most recent work addresses the role of community-based mapping in a 2001 ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The case concerned a land claim brought by the indigenous Mayangna community of Awas Tingni against the Republic of Nicaragua, and set an important legal precedent for recognizing indigenous land rights. He has also worked on issues related to indigenous land rights in Honduras, Chile, Ecuador, and the western United States. He is currently developing a new project that examines the legacy of the Contra War in Nicaragua and Honduras as it relates to contemporary concerns with security, development, and resource claims.


Ella Callow '01
NALSA Alum; Director of Legal Program, The National Center for Parents with Disabilities and their Families


Kristen A. Carpenter
Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Associate Professor of Law, University of Colorado Law School

Kristen Carpenter devotes her teaching and scholarship to Property and American Indian Law. Her research examines the real property interests of Indian nations, as well as issues of culture, religion, language, and interpretation. Professor Carpenter’s current works-in-progress include books on Cultural Property Law, Cherokee Treaties, and the Indian Civil Rights Act. Before entering academia, Professor Carpenter clerked for the Honorable John C. Porfilio on the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit and then practiced at Hill & Barlow, P.C., in Boston. She has also worked at the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation’s Office of Legal Counsel and private Indian law firms in Colorado and Alaska. Professor Carpenter’s previous academic appointments were at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law (2004-2009) and Suffolk University Law School (2002-2004). She recently served a four-year term on the Board of the Colorado Indian Bar Association and as chair of the Federal Bar Association’s Annual Indian Law Conference in 2010 and 2011. Professor Carpenter is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School. In 2010, the students of Colorado Law honored Professor Carpenter with the Outstanding New Faculty Member award.


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

Professor Deer is a Citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She focuses her legal work on violent crime on Indian reservations. She has co-authored two textbooks on tribal law and several academic articles on Native American women.  Professor Deer is a Board Member on the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence and a Board Member on the the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence. Her prior publications includes work on the Amnesty International’s “Maze of Injustice” report and the U.S. Department of Justice’s “Sexual Assault in Public Law 280 States” report.


John Dossett

General Counsel, National Congress of American Indians (invited)


Matthew L.M. Fletcher
Professor of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law & Policy Center, Michigan State University College of Law

Matthew L.M. Fletcher is Professor of Law at Michigan State University College of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center. He is the Chief Justice of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Supreme Court and also sits as an appellate judge for the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, the Hoopa Valley Tribe, and the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians. He is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, located in Peshawbestown, Michigan. In 2010, Professor Fletcher was elected to the American Law Institute.

Professor Fletcher recently published the sixth edition of Cases and Materials on Federal Indian Law (Thomson West 2011) with David Getches, Charles Wilkinson, and Robert Williams, and American Indian Tribal Law (Aspen 2011), the first casebook for law students on tribal law. His book, The Return of the Eagle: The Legal History of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, came out in late 2011 from Michigan State University Press. In recent years, he has published American Indian Education: Counternarratives in Racism, Struggle, and the Law (Routledge 2008), and co-edited Facing the Future: The Indian Child Welfare Act at 30 with Wenona T. Singel and Kathryn E. Fort (Michigan State University Press 2009). Professor Fletcher has published articles with Arizona Law Review, Harvard Journal on Legislation, Hastings Law Journal, University of Colorado Law Review, Houston Law Review, Tulane Law Review, and many others. Finally, Professor Fletcher is the primary editor and author of the leading law blog on American Indian law and policy, Turtle Talk.

Professor Fletcher graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1997 and the University of Michigan in 1994. He has worked as a staff attorney for four Indian Tribes – the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, the Hoopa Valley Tribe, the Suquamish Tribe, and the Grand Traverse Band, and he has been a consultant to the Seneca Nation of Indians Court of Appeals. He is married to Wenona Singel, a member of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, and they have two sons, Owen and Emmett.


Katherine Florey '04
Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law

Katherine Florey’s scholarship focuses on federal courts, choice of law, and civil procedure. Within these fields, she is particularly interested in sovereign immunity, theories of jurisdiction, and the procedural rules applicable to tribal courts. Her current research considers the ways in which Native American tribes and tribal courts represent a sort of “third prong” of federalism, fitting partially but uneasily into the body of doctrine that governs the relationship between state and federal courts. Before joining the UC Davis faculty in 2007, Professor Florey served as a law clerk to the Honorable William Fletcher of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She received her J.D. from UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall), where she received the Thelen Marrin Award for graduating first in her class. Prior to law school, she worked for several years as an editor, travel writer, and theater critic. 


Madeline Greymountain
Vice-Chairman, Confederate Tribes of the Goshute Indian Reservation (Ibapah, Utah)

Vice-Chair Greymountain has served on the Goshute Tribal Council since 2009. During her tenure, the tribe has made great strides in developing collaborative partnerships, gathering the knowledge and resources to advance land and resource protection, and toward improving the quality of life for the Goshute people. The Council has applied great efforts to protect its most natural resource from the foreseeable devastating effect drawdown of the underground water would have on the tribes future and way of life.

Ms. Greymountain is employed by University Hospitals and Clinics, in Salt Lake City, UT in the Purchasing and Supply Chain Department. She also served on several philanthropic boards as a volunteer dedicated to issues which empower individuals and strengthen communities. Madeline holds an Associates degree in Business and Information Systems from Salt Lake Community College.

Ms. Greymountain is happily married, has one daughter, and is a very proud grandmother of two. She enjoys powwows, outdoor activities, spending quality time with family and friends, and time in the mountains watching nature at work.  Her philosophy is to take from and learn from yesterday, apply it to today, so that tomorrow will be more promising. She believes everything happens for a reason and when opportunities arise – to take them, as they may not come again for a while.


Joseph J. Heath, Esq.
Onondaga Nation General Counsel

Attorney Joe Heath has been General Counsel for the Onondaga Nation since 1982 and an attorney since 1975. For the Nation, his work centers on environmental protection, particularly under the Clean Water Act, focusing on Onondaga Lake and Onondaga Creek; archeologic site and unmarked burial site protection; NAGPRA repatriation and litigation; hunting and fishing rights; treaty rights; excise tax issues; and land rights.  In addition to these current areas of work, Joe has extensive experience in civil rights litigation, Constitutional and family law.  Heath is also and active member of Veterans for Peace.


Sid Hill
Tadadaho, Onondaga Nation (invited)


Nicole Horseherder
Co-Founder, Toh Nizhoni Ahni; Navajo grassroots activist and leader


Marshall Johnson
Co-Founder, To'Nizhoni Anhi; Navajo grassroots activist and leader


B.J. Jones
Director, Tribal Judicial Institute; University of North Dakota School of Law

B.J. Jones graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1981 with a B.A. in history, Phi Beta Kappa, and from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1984. Before becoming the Director of the Institute, he was Litigation Director for Dakota Plains Legal Services. Jones has devoted his law practice to serving indigent residents of South and North Dakota Indian reservations and adjoining counties. He has represented clients in federal, state, and tribal courts as well as in administrative hearings. His areas of expertise include federal entitlements, Indian law, domestic relations and health law. Jones is admitted to the state bars of Virginia, South Dakota and North Dakota; the federal bars of the US District Courts for North and South Dakota, the United States Court of Appeals for Eighth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court; and the Rosebud Sioux, Standing Rock Sioux, Oglala Sioux, Flandreau-Santee Sioux, Yankton Sioux, and Spirit Lake Nation tribal bars.

Jones is also the Chief Justice of the Turtle Mountain Tribal Court of Appeals, a Special Magistrate of the Non-Removable Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Tribal Court, and an alternate judge of the Three Affiliated Tribes Tribal Court. He is a member of the Diversity Committee at the School of Law and has acted as a clinical instructor for the Native American Law Program; he has also taught Indian Law. Jonesserves on the North Dakota Supreme Court Committee on Tribal-State Court Affairs, and the ABA Committee on the Unmet Needs of Children. He was an instructor at Sinte Gleska University and Sitting Bull College. Jones publishes and presents in the area of Indian law.


Heather Kendall-Miller
Staff Attorney - Alaska Office, Native American Rights Fund (NARF)

Heather Kendall-Miller is a senior staff attorney in the Anchorage, Alaska office. A lawyer, teacher, and mentor, her legal experience includes cases involving subsistence, tribal sovereignty, human rights, and taxation. In 2001, Kendall-Miller was instrumental in winning the Katie John subsistence hunting and fishing rights case. She has worked with other Alaska Native communities like the Native Village of Venetie, the Native Village of Kluti Kaah, the Native Village of Barrow, and the Nome Eskimo community. Prior to joining NARF, Kendall-Miller worked with Sonosky, Chambers, Sasche & Miller in Anchorage, Alaska and Washington, D.C. doing legislative research and writing memoranda for litigation. From 1992 to 1994, she was a Skadden Fellow where she worked as a staff attorney for the Alaska Legal Services Corporation representing indigent clients in court and in administrative hearings. During the second year of her fellowship she worked for NARF as a research attorney assisting in trial preparation for tribal status, among other cases. At the completion of her Skadden Fellowship, she was hired by NARF. Her civic activities include serving on the Honoring Nations Advisory Board of the Ford Foundation and a board member of the Alaska Conservation Foundation. She is former chair of the Indian Law Section of the Alaska Bar Association (1996-1997) and she also served on the Alaska Supreme Court Committee on Fairness and Access to the Judicial System (1997). Kendall-Miller is Athabascan. She received a history degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska (1988). She received her M.A. J.D. from Harvard University Law School (1991).


Sarah Krakoff ‘91
Professor of Law, University of Colorado Law School

Professor Krakoff teaches and is widely published in the areas of American Indian law and natural resources law. Her article examining the effects of federal law on the Navajo Nation’s exercise of sovereignty, A Narrative of Sovereignty: Illuminating the Paradox of the Domestic Dependent Nation, received the Jules Millstein Faculty Writing Award at the University of Colorado Law School in 2006 and has been cited in several federal district court opinions. Professor Krakoff has also written about environmental ethics, public lands, and global warming. Her current projects include a new American Indian law casebook (co-authored by Bob Anderson, Bethany Berger and Phil Frickey) and a book (currently titled “Parenting the Planet,”) about the different stages of the human relationship to nature. When Professor Krakoff first came to the Law School, she was the Director of the American Indian Law Clinic, supervising students in a range of federal Indian and tribal law matters. She succeeded in securing permanent University funding for the Clinic before moving to non-clinical teaching in 1999. Before coming to Colorado, Professor Krakoff was awarded an Equal Justice Works Fellowship to work on the Navajo Nation as Director of the Youth Law Project for DNA-People’s Legal Services. Professor Krakoff clerked on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for Judge Warren J. Ferguson from 1992-93, and received her J.D. from Boalt Hall, U.C. Berkeley, in 1991 and her B.A. from Yale University in 1986. She lives in Boulder with her husband John Carlson and their daughter Lucy.


Rovianne Leigh '05
NALSA Alum; Attorney-at-Law, Berkey Williams LLP

Ms. Leigh is currently an Associate at Berkey Williams LLP, where she was awarded the first Public Interest Indian Law Fellowship. She serves Tribal clients in many areas of the law, including environmental and cultural resources protection, health, employment, Indian child welfare, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), general litigation, and Tribal law. Ms. Leigh appears regularly in federal, state, and Tribal courts on a number of issues affecting Tribal rights and sovereignty. She also advocates on behalf of Tribal environmental and sovereignty interests in administrative law proceedings, including before the Administrative Law Panel of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She has drafted numerous Tribal statutes, such as a Tribal Children's Code and Tribal Environmental Protection Code. Ms. Leigh also successfully negotiated one of the first Memoranda of Understanding regarding Indian child welfare issues between an Indian Tribe and a County Child Welfare Services Department in California. She is currently a Board Member of the California Indian Law Association.

Ms. Leigh has worked exclusively in the field of Indian law since graduating from the U.C. Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) in 2005. While in law school, Ms. Leigh clerked for California Indian Legal Services. She also served as Co-President of the Native American Law Student's Association and Boalt Hall Student's Association. She was a member of the Ecology Law Quarterly. Ms. Leigh studied Indian Law with Professor Philip Frickey, participating in his Advanced Topics in Indian Law seminar. Her paper for that seminar, "Renegotiating Law and History: Australian and American Approaches to Native Land Claims," was published in the U.C.L.A. School of Law's Indigenous Peoples' Journal of Law, Culture and Resistance.

Ms. Leigh specializes in serving Tribal clients in the areas of Indian child welfare, Tribal TANF, Indian health, employment, and environmental and cultural resources protection. She speaks regularly on a wide variety of issues affecting Indian country. 


Marshall McKay
Chairman, Tribal Council of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation

Chairman Marshall McKay leads the elected Tribal Council of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. He began his career in tribal government in 1984 and in January 2012 was re-elected to his third term as Chairman. Chairman McKay oversees the day-to-day operations of the tribal government, the Tribe’s Cache Creek Casino Resort and its other business endeavors. He also serves as chair of the Community Fund Board and Cache Creek Casino Resort Board, and is a member of the Fire Commission, Cultural Resources Committee, Property, Farm and Ranch Committee, Maintenance and Operations Committee, the Health and Wellness Committee, and Yocha Dehe Wintun Academy Board. Prior to being elected Chairman, he served as Tribal Treasurer and Tribal Secretary.

Born in Colusa, California, the Chairman grew up in Brooks near his present-day home in the Yocha Dehe tribal community. A cornerstone of his leadership is his commitment to cultural renewal and preservation, a focus he extends into education programs and sustainable land-use practices.

Chairman McKay is a board member of the UC Davis Foundation, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and the Native American Rights Fund. He is also chairman of the board of the Autry National Center in Los Angeles.  He is a founding member and chair of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, and a gubernatorial appointee to the Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC). Chairman McKay’s mother—doctor and basket weaver Mabel McKay—was one of the NAHC’s founding commissioners.

Chairman McKay is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Native arts and culture, the affirmation of sovereign tribal governance, and the international effort to protect the rights of all indigenous people. He travels extensively to participate in conferences, summits and fundraisers that support initiatives important to the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.
 

Ed Naranjo
Chairman, Confederate Tribes of the Goshute Indian Reservation (Ibapah, Utah)


Daniel Olmos '04

Senior Policy Advisor & Special Assistant to The President, White House Domestic Policy Council (invited)


M. Alexander Pearl '07
NALSA Alum; Assistant Professor, Florida International University College of Law

M. Alexander Pearl joined the Florida International University College of Law faculty in 2012. He graduated from the University of California-Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) where he was on Law Review. He was also a research assistant for Professor Frickey while in school.  Following law school, he clerked for the Honorable William J. Holloway, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Upon completing his clerkship, he worked as a litigation associate with Kilpatrick Townsend in Washington, D.C. where he exclusively represented individual Indians and Indian tribes. At the FIU College of Law, he teaches Property Law and Indian Law. His research focuses on Indian issues, the law of restitution, and legislative process. Professor Pearl is an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. 


Lindsay Robertson
Judge Haskell A. Holloman Professor of Law, The University of Oklahoma College of Law (OU); Faculty Director, American Indian Law and Policy Center, The University of Oklahoma College of Law; Associate Director, Inter-American Center for Law and Culture, The University of Oklahoma College of Law

Professor Lindsay G. Robertson joined the law faculty in 1998 after serving as a visiting professor in 1997. He teaches courses in Federal Indian Law, Comparative Indigenous Peoples Law, Constitutional Law and Legal History and serves as Faculty Director of the OU Center for the Study of American Indian Law and Policy. Prior to coming to OU, Robertson taught Federal Indian Law at the University of Virginia School of Law and the George Washington University National Law Center. He was a Research and Visiting Fellow at the Philadelphia Center for Early American Studies from 1992 to 1994. He worked in private practice in Washington, DC, and Charlottesville, Virginia, and as a judicial clerk at the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. He currently serves as Special Justice on the Supreme Court of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes. Robertson is the author of Conquest by Law (Oxford University Press 2005).


Hawk Rosales
Executive Director, InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council (Ukiah, California)

Hawk Rosales, Executive Director of the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, began working for the Sinkyone Council in 1990.  A non-profit Tribal conservation organization comprised of ten federally recognized North Coast Tribes, the Council was formed in 1986 to reestablish Tribal stewardship through cultural land conservation, restoration and management of traditional resources, education, and advocacy.  In 1997, the Sinkyone Council established the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness on 3,845 acres of ancestral land acquired from The Trust for Public Land.  Earlier this year, the Council added to its wilderness lands with the gift of 164 acres from Save the Redwoods League.  Since 2009, Rosales has spearheaded the Council’s involvement with the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative, in which the Council took a lead role advocating for State recognition and protection of the traditional gathering, harvesting and fishing rights of North Coast Tribes affected by the MLPA.  The Council—together with its counsel Berkey Williams LLP—provided legal arguments, helped advance new policies and negotiated a regulatory solution adopted in June by the Fish and Game Commission that will ensure binding protections for North Coast Tribes’ aboriginal rights and continued cultural useage in Marine Protected Areas authorized by the MLPA.


Pat Sekaquaptewa '95
Executive Director, The Nakwatsvewat Institute, Inc.

Pat Sekaquaptewa is the Executive Director of the Nakwatsvewat Institute, a nonprofit organization that works with Native communities to develop and enhance their governance, justice and educational institutions.  She presently serves as a tribal judge and arbitrator in a number of tribal courts and is a trained mediator (presently an appellate justice for the Hopi Tribe).  She was the Director of the UCLA Native Nations Law and Policy Center and its Tribal Legal Development Clinic.  At UCLA, she provided instruction in constitution and statutory drafting, and in tribal court development, and she continues to train and supervise UCLA law student clerks for the Hopi and Hualapai Appellate Courts.  She taught "Nation Building" in UCLA's American Indian Studies Program.  In addition, she is the co-founder and a member of the Board of the Directors of the Tribal Law & Policy Institute in West Hollywood, CA.  Previously, she worked for the law firm of Alexander & Karshmer, which represented American Indian tribes, Alaska Native villages, and inter-tribal organizations.


Dinah Shelton ‘70
Commissioner, Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR); Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law, George Washington University Law School

Commissioner Dinah Shelton began her term at the IACHR in January 2010. She was designated Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the plenary of the Commission during a working meeting held on January 28-29, 2010. Commissioner Shelton is the Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law at the George Washington University Law School. Previously, she was Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame. She has also been a Visiting Professor at various law schools in the United States and France. Commissioner Shelton also directed the Office of Staff Attorneys at the United States Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit and was Director of Studies at the International Institute of Human Rights. She studied law at the University of California, Berkeley, and at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She has been an international law consultant for the World Health Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the UN Institute for Training and Research, among other organizations. She has written, co-written, or edited 19 books and authored dozens of articles and book chapters on human rights and international law.


Alfred Urbina
Tribal Prosecutor, Pascua Yaqui Tribe


Kevin Washburn
Dean and Professor of Law, University of New Mexico School of Law  (UNM School of Law)

Kevin Washburn joined the UNM School of Law as dean in June 2009. He brings a strong background in Indian law, criminal law and gambling law, including a prolific portfolio of books, book chapters, articles and congressional testimony. Through his writings and testimony, he has influenced public policy in both criminal law in Indian country and gaming.

Washburn, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, came to the UNM School of Law from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, where he was the Rosenstiel Distinguished Professor of Law. He was on the faculty of the University of Minnesota Law School from 2002-2008, during which he spent a year as the Visiting Oneida Nation Professor at Harvard Law School, during the 2007-2008 academic year. Prior to entering academia, he was a federal prosecutor in New Mexico, serving in the Violent Crimes Section of the U.S. Attorney's Office. He was a trial attorney with the U.S. Justice Department and later served as general counsel of the National Indian Gaming Commission, an independent federal regulatory agency in Washington, D.C.

At Yale Law School, he served as editor-in-chief of the Yale Journal on Regulation. Following law school, he clerked for Judge William C. Canby Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He then joined the Honors Program at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He has been a member of the New Mexico bar since 1994. Washburn began his legal education at UNM as a student at the American Indian Law Center’s Pre-law Summer Institute and later he taught at UNM as an adjunct professor, during his time as a federal prosecutor.


Ron Whitener
Director of Tribal Court Criminal Defense Clinic, Executive Director of Native American Law Center, Senior Law Lecturer, University of Washington School of Law

Professor Whitener is the Executive Director of the Native American Law Center and Director of the Tribal Court Public Defense Clinic. He is also a Senior Law Lecturer at the UW School of Law.

A 1994 graduate of the UW School of Law, Professor Whitener worked as a tribal attorney for the Squaxin Island Tribe (of which he is a member) where he represented the tribal government in treaty rights defense, gaming and enterprises, and infrastructure development. He later worked at the Northwest Justice Project's (NJP) Native American Unit in Seattle, and headed the Indian Law Clinic, a joint project between the NJP and the UW School of Law. In 2002, Professor Whitener left the NJP to become the director of the Tribal Court Criminal Defense Clinic.

Professor Whitener's research interests are focused on the intersection of law and health issues for Native Americans. In 2006-2007 he was a Fellow of the University of Colorado, Health Sciences Center, Native Elder Research Center. He is co-investigator on several grants with the University of Washington Medical School. In 2008 he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Models for Change grant to identify strong programs and areas of need for Washington State tribal juvenile justice programs.

Prof. Whitener is an Associate Justice of the Northwest Intertribal Court of Appeals, a Judgeof the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, and Of Counsel with Foster Pepper PLLC. In 2009 he received the American Association of Law Schools Section on Clinical Education's Shanara Gilbert Emerging Clinician Award, recognizing a clinician with ten or fewer years of teaching.


Scott Williams
Lecturer, UC Berkeley School of Law; Partner, Berkey Williams LLP

Mr. Williams has devoted his entire legal career to the goal of achieving social and economic justice through the law. Immediately after graduation from Stanford University, he worked as a paralegal with a legal services organization serving poor persons in East Palo Alto. His choice of Boston College for law school was made primarily because it offered both courses, and work opportunities for students interested in public interest careers. During law school, he was continuously employed providing legal representation to low income persons in South Boston. Upon graduation from law school in 1974, he was awarded a Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellowship, the aim of which was to encourage attorneys to provide assistance to those traditionally without access to lawyers. The Fellowship sent him to Charlottesville, Virginia, where he was admitted to the bar in 1974. His work there focused on civil rights, access to affordable housing, public utility rate reform, and complex litigation.

In 1981, Mr. Williams returned to California and became the Director of Litigation of a legal services program in Fresno. He litigated cases involving farm worker access to health care, equal access to public services by racial and ethnic minorities, employment, and economic development projects for low income persons. He subsequently established his own law firm emphasizing employment and civil rights cases. He was active in community groups, including long service as chair of the board of directors of a non-profit child abuse prevention and treatment group. Mr. Williams began an affiliation with his current partners in 1997, working on select Indian law employment and litigation matters.

Mr. Williams has an extensive background in complex litigation. In addition to representing Indian tribes and tribal organizations in litigation, he also provides ongoing advice and consultation on water rights and natural resources, cultural site protection, employment and personnel issues, and governmental and corporate affairs. Illustrative work includes representation of a Tribe in negotiating agreements to remove dams and restore the Klamath River in California and Oregon, protection of Tribal access to significant off-reservation cultural sites, employment disputes throughout the country, Indian health programs in all aspects of health care delivery, protection of tribal land and cultural sites from environmental degradation in New Mexico, and defense of tribal sovereign immunity in tribal, state and federal courts. He is actively engaged in litigation in California, Nevada and New Mexico to protect tribal water rights.

Along with his partner, Curtis Berkey, Mr. Williams teaches the Advanced Indian Law seminar at Boalt Hall School of Law, at the University of California, Berkeley (a course previously taught with Professor Philip Frickey until his untimely death in 2010). 


Jackie Wisespirit
President of Board of Directors, Riverside San Bernardino County Indian Health