On Wednesday, April 20, Columbia Law School’s NALSA chapter hosted Professor Barbara Creel and Professor John LaVelle from the University of New Mexico School of Law. Professors Creel and LaVelle filed briefs as amici curiae in the case of U.S. v. Bryant, heard by the Supreme Court on April 19, 2016. This case involves Native American Rights within the criminal justice system and will determine whether the use of valid uncounseled tribal-court misdemeanor convictions in a domestic violence case violates the Constitution.
The event was co-sponsored by The Domestic Violence Project, American Constitution Society, and the Columbia Law ACLU.
Our NALSA Chapter sent a cohort of students to attend the 40th Annual Federal Indian Law Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. The students attended a number of great panels on Native American legal topics, and also had the opportunity to meet many legal practitioners and other students in this field.
We would like to extend our congratulations to the new 2016-2017 National Native American Law Students Association Board (NNALSA)! We are proud to announce that we have three Columbia students serving on the 2016-2017 NNALSA Board:
Ray Martin – Public Relations Director
Vanessa Racehorse – Area 2 Representative
Dale Williams – Area 6 Representative
Additionally, we would like to extend our congratulations to two of our NALSA members who placed in the 15th Annual NNALSA Writing Competition:
Second Place: Trevor Reed ‘17, Who Owns Our Ancestors’ Voices? Tribal Claims to Pre-1972 Sound Recordings
Third Place: Jacob Grubman ‘16, State Attorneys General and Indian Tribes: Values and Obligations of Cooperation
We are also excited to announce that Columbia has been selected to host the Annual NNALSA Writing Competition for the second year in a row!
Overall, it was a great trip for our students and our NALSA members are grateful for the opportunity to participate in the work of NNALSA.
Columbia NALSA sent three caravans to Indian Country over spring break to provide legal services. This year we sent groups to DNA People’s Legal Services on Navajo Nation, Wisconsin Judicare, and Anishinabe Legal Services (ALS).
Four Columbia NALSA students traveled to Window Rock, AZ to work withDNA People’s Legal Services. DNA is a non-profit that seeks to provide legal services to low income individuals who could not otherwise afford representation. Columbia students worked on a variety of legal issues facing tribal members including guardianship hearings, state property law claims, contract law claims, and consumer fraud. The team also observed proceedings in Tribal Court.
Additionally, five students from Columbia Law School traveled to Minnesota to work with Anishinabe Legal Services (ALS). ALS is a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income individuals living on or near the Leech Lake, Red Lake, and White Earth Reservations in Northwestern Minnesota. Students worked with ALS attorneys to hold open clinics and provide direct legal services to clients with regards to their civil legal needs, with a strong emphasis on assisting victims of domestic violence. The students also completed research projects that will be utilized to serve the reservation communities. This included research on tribal, state, and federal law related to specific topics such as health care and estate planning.
Congratulations to all of the competitors at the 2016 National NALSA Moot Court Competition hosted by the Michigan State University College of Law!
This past weekend Columbia’s NALSA sent nine teams to the competition:
Thomas Enering ’18 & Ray Martin ’18
Rebecca Nocharli ’18 & Komal Patel ’18
Dale Williams ’18 & Laura Pond ’18
Hannah Lutz ’18 & John Christian ’18
Maia Hutt ’18 & Grant Johnson ’18
Samuel Nadler ’18 & Alena Perszyk ’18
Max Schecter ’18 & Theodore Witt ’18
Jacob Grubman ’16 & Nelson Hua ’16
Cady Nicol ’16 & Simon Wechsler ’16
The team was incredibly successful this year. Rebecca Nocharli ’18 & Komal Patel ’18, Jacob Grumman ’16 & Nelson Hua ’16, Cady Nicol ’16 & Simon Wechsler ’16, and Samuel Nadler ’18 & Alena Perszyk ’18 all advanced to the elimination round of sixteen.
Rebecca Nocharli ’18 & Komal Patel ’18 advanced further into the top eight at the competition.
Cady Nicol ’16 took home one of the competitions top prizes as best spoken advocate beating out 103 other competitors.
The team was coached by Rori Collins ’17, Dhrumit Joshi ’17, Morgan Saunders ’17,Todd Densen ’17, and Saagar Kaul ’17. The team would also like to give a special thanks to their faculty advisor Christine Swanick, Professor Steven McSloy, Professor Shawn Watts, and all of the guest judges who helped make this possible.
The Moot Court Program at Columbia Law School is made possible by the generous support of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.
In honor of Native American Heritage Month, NALSA, the ACLU, and the American Constitution Society present: Native Americans and Voting: The Discrimination Continues.
Dale Ho, Director of the ACLU Voting Rights Project joins NALSA to speak about current issues facing Native American Voters, recent efforts to combat discrimination, and exciting litigation that will take place in the lead up to the 2016 Presidential Election.
“Across the Creek explores both the unbridled dreams and the painful reality of Lakota people from South Dakota.” This is a great way to learn about a community that NALSA travels to and works with every other year. It is also a community that has been deeply affected by the federal court system and Indian Child Welfare Act Policy.
“It’s still here. What was 200 to 300 years ago is still here. The language … the spirituality … is still here. The songs are still here. All we have to do is go back … and take it.”
This weekend (March 6-7), Columbia’s Paul Weiss NALSA Moot Court Program will join a field of over 70 teams at this year’s moot court competition, hosted by the James E. Rogers Law School at the University of Arizona. This year’s problem deals with the boundaries of tribal adjudicatory and regulatory jurisdiction over individuals who are not quite members of the tribe and land that may not quite be tribal. We are very excited about the competition and proud of the hard work that our teams have undertaken in a busy 1L Spring semester.
Additionally, this spring break, NALSA is organizing and participating in three separate spring break caravans:
– Anishinabe Legal Services – Cass Lake, MN: Students will work with ALS attorneys to provide direct services to clients with regard to their civil legal needs, with a strong emphasis on assisting victims of domestic violence.
– Wisconsin Judicare – WI: Judicare staff and students from Columbia Law School will provide pro bono assistance in drafting wills and other estate-planning documents in various tribal communities around the state.
– DNA People’s Legal Services – Monument Valley, AZ: Students will engage in work with low-income communities in the area, including direct services, legal training for community members, and issue-specific clinics for low-income families.
We would like to thank alumni and firm contributors for making programs such as our Moot Court and Spring Break Caravans possible. If you are interested in contributing to such programs now and in the future, please contact us at email@example.com.
Several NALSA members, along with other CLS students, accompanied Professor Shawn Watts to South Dakota this past weekend to assist in ensuring the free exercise of voting rights at the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian reservations. Thanks to Professor Watts for organizing this amazing experience!
Photos provided by Vanessa Racehorse and Morgan Saunders.
Columbia's Native American Law Student Association