Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Five law students and 1 alumnus go on a voyage

For the first time in more than three decades, the Federal Bar Association (“FBA”) held its annual Indian law conference on an Indian reservation this year at the Buffalo Thunder on the Pojoaque Pueblo Reservation in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Concurrent with this conference was the National Native American Law Students Association’s annual meeting. Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law made it possible for five William S. Richardson School of Law students to attend the conference and meeting. You can read an on the spot blog of the conference by CLICKING HERE.

The five law students are: Ann Otteman (3L), Chris Santos (3L), Chasid Sapolu (2L), Jesse Smith (2L), and Ka’upenaikaika Soon (2L). These students are members of the 2008-09 WSRSL Native American Moot Court team and were accompanied by, Ka Huli Ao Post-JD Fellow and 2008 WSRSL alumnus, Derek Kauanoe.

From L to R, Ann Otteman, Chris Santos, Chasid Sapolu, Jesse Smith, and Ka‘upenaikaika Soon, and Derek Kauanoe pose here for a photo during the Thursday luncheon between conference sessions

The conference and meeting proved to be both an informative event covering issues in “Indian country” as well as an outstanding networking opportunity. The five students were introduced to a number of key people who also recognized their strong and impressive advocacy skills through moot court. A few of the people they met include:

Our Richardson students also met a number of other students from law schools across the United States. Some of these other law students include:
  • Naomi Bebo from the University of California Law Angeles School of Law,

  • Burton Warrington from the University of Kansas

  • Joshua Clause, incoming National Native American Law Students Association President, from the University of Michigan school of law

  • Marilyn Phelps, from UCLA,

  • Nicole Sieminski from UCLA,

  • Aurora Lehr a 3L from the University of Washington,

  • Nikki Borchardt a 3L from ASU,

  • Jeremiah Swett from Cornell University,

  • Jody Tallbear from Hamline University

The conference provided eight plenary sessions that covered: environmentalism on the reservation, tribal gaming, Supreme Court cases affecting Indian law, tribal economic development, renewable energy, genetically modified organism and food supplies. Hawaii issues and cases were briefly mentioned that included GMO kalo, Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and Rice v. Cayetano.

Next year’s Federal Bar Association’s Indian Law Conference will be held April 7 - 9, 2010, at Buffalo Thunder. To find out what second year law students Chasid Sapolu and Ka‘upena Soon think about their time at the conference, go to http://tr.im/chaskau

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