University of Kansas School of Law
2018-19 Newsletter
Message from the director 

Aaiin! Greetings!
I hope this newsletter finds you well. It has been another successful year for the KU Tribal Law & Government Center (KU TLGC) and it is my pleasure to update you on our accomplishments.    

Once again, 2018 was a busy year! We continued to offer several courses specifically focusing on Indian law, including Federal Indian Law and Native American Natural Resources, as well as the Tribal Judicial Support Clinic. Students in the clinic had the opportunity to work with the Prairie Band Potawatomi, assisting with important legal research and code development. Many students continue to take advantage of our Tribal Lawyer Certificate, and we anticipate that some students in the Class of 2019 will complete the certificate requirements.  

KU's National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition teams did very well this year, as you'll read below. We plan to to send multiple teams to the 2019 NNALSA competition, which is being hosted by the University of Arizona in Tucson. If you find yourself in the area on March 1, we would love to have you come support the teams.

The KU TLGC continues to maintain a strong connection with both the KU Indigenous Studies Program and Haskell Indian Nations University. All of the Indian Law courses at KU Law are crossed listed with the KU Indigenous Studies Program, and Indigenous Studies Program students are encouraged to participate in law school classes and activities (and vice versa). Last spring, Michelle LeFlore from KU Law's Office of Admissions and I met with Haskell students interested in attending law school to talk about law school in general and KU Law specifically. Many students attended the session, and we are hopeful that some of these students will eventually join us in Green Hall.

Further, we were happy to participate in the "Side by Side" exhibit hosted by KU Libraries this past spring. "Side by Side" showcases the rich and long-held partnership between Haskell Indian Nations University and the University of Kansas. The transdisciplinary exhibition highlighted programs, initiatives and scholarship that detail and celebrate the spirit of cooperation shared between these two institutions. For example, the Center's annual tribal law conference, which regularly features Haskell faculty and staff, was highlighted as part of the exhibit.

Our KU TLGC alumni continue in the proud tradition of helping Indian country. Regularly, we receive notes updating us on the amazing work our alumni are doing, and we are very proud. If you have news that you would like to share with us, we would love to hear from you. Some of our alumni are highlighted below.

I remain proud of our program and excited for future opportunities. I am especially delighted to have Professors Sarah Deer and Shawn Watts join us at KU. If ever you would like to participate in Center activities, please feel free to contact me at any time. I promise you a very warm welcome in Green Hall.  

Rock chalk! Chi Miigwetch (Thank you)!

Elizabeth Kronk Warner
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs,
Professor of Law and Director,
Tribal Law & Government Center
785-864-1139 |

September 28-29, 2018
KU Law Reunion & Homecoming Weekend
October 8, 2018
Indigenous Peoples' Day
October 8, 2018
Restoration Over Retribution: Peacemaking as a Path Forward 
Presentation by  Shawn Watts
November 2018
Native American Heritage Month
March 1, 2019
Annual NNALSA Moot Court Competition
March 8, 2019
23rd Annual Tribal Law & Government Conference
Two new Native faculty members join KU Law

One of the most exciting recent developments this past year is that two new Native faculty, Professors Sarah Deer and Shawn Watts, joined KU Law.

Sarah Deer (L'99), a 2014 MacArthur Fellow and a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, is a national leader, scholar and activist who, throughout her career, has centered the self-determination and dignity of survivors of violence with a focus on Native women. Her efforts were instrumental in the passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 and the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Deer focuses her legal work on violent crime on tribal lands and has worked to end violence against women for more than 20 years. In 1995, she graduated with a B.A. in women's studies and philosophy from the University of Kansas. While attending KU, she began as a volunteer in the Lawrence Rape Victim Survivor Services (now Sexual Trauma and Abuse Care Center). In 1999, she received her Juris Doctor with a Tribal Lawyer Certificate from the KU School of Law.

In the fall of 2017, Deer returned to KU, joining the Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies and the School of Public Affairs & Administration in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences as a professor. She also has a courtesy appointment at KU Law, where she taught Feminist Jurisprudence in Spring 2018. She previously taught at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, UCLA School of Law, the University of Minnesota School of Law, and Lewis & Clark Law School.

Deer's contributions are widespread and numerous, including her work with the U.S. Department of Justice in the Office of Violence Against Women, the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, Amnesty International USA, and advisory boards for several anti-violence organizations and projects, including the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence. She is the coauthor of three textbooks on tribal law, the author of the groundbreaking Amnesty International report "Maze of Injustice " and co-editor of "Sharing Our Stories of Survival: Native Women Surviving Violence." In 2015, she published "The Beginning and End of Rape: Controlling Sexual Violence in Native America" and has received critical acclaim in academia and the field alike. 

Shawn Watts is a new member of the KU Law lawyering faculty. He comes to KU Law from Columbia Law School in New York City, where he was the associate director of the Mediation Program. He taught an Advanced Mediation Clinic and a Native American Peacemaking Clinic. He has been a visiting professor at both Yale Law School and National Taiwan University Law School in Taipei, Taiwan. 

A citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Watts graduated from Columbia Law School, where he won the Jane Marks Murphy Prize for clinical advocacy, was a Strine Fellow, a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and managing editor of Columbia Law's Journal of Law and Social Problems. While in law school, he served as the president of the National Native American Law Students Association. 

Before he began teaching, Watts was an associate in the finance and bankruptcy practice group at the New York office of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, where - in addition to representing both creditors and debtors in multimillion-dollar bankruptcies - he specialized in federal Indian law and tribal finance.

Please join us in welcoming Professors Deer and Watts. We are excited to see all they will accomplish.

KU NNALSA moot court teams continue tradition of excellence

Lindsie Ford and Alisha Peters
Charles Bogren and
 Ben Stringer
Sarah McMillin-Beckman and Mathew Petersen 

KU's 2018 NNALSA moot court teams continued in the tradition of excellence established by past teams. This year's NNALSA moot court competition was hosted by Arizona State University in Phoenix. We were able to send three teams to the competition.

The first team, composed of 2L Lindsie Ford and 1L Alisha Peters, did not advance, but did represent KU Law well. They received great feedback, and I am hopeful they will return for the 2019 competition. 

The second team, composed of 3Ls Charles Bogren and Ben Stringer, advanced to the Elite 8, where, unfortunately, they had to compete against their teammates (KU broke as the 4th and 5th seeds in the Sweet 16). The judges were highly complimentary of their performance and said it was the best round they had ever seen. Stringer received second place for Best Overall Oral Advocate in the competition out of a field of 88 competitors.

For the fourth consecutive year, a KU NNALSA moot court team finished in the top three overall teams in the competition.The final team, composed of 3Ls Sarah McMillin-Beckman and Mathew Petersen, placed third overall and captured third place for the Best Brief Award.

We were very proud of how well all of the students performed. We are also incredibly thankful to the faculty and alumni who took the time to help prepare the students for the competition. Rock Chalk! 

22nd annual Tribal Law and Government Conference explores collaborations between Indian tribes and states

American Indian law scholars and advocates gathered at KU Law on March 9 to discuss "Tribal-State Collaborations: Advantages & Obstacles" during the 22nd annual Tribal Law & Government Conference.

"In the modern era, tribes have an increasing presence beyond the reservation. As a result, interactions between tribes and states and localities have also increased by necessity," said Elizabeth Kronk Warner, professor of law and director of KU's Tribal Law & Government Center. "This conference explored obstacles to effective collaboration between these sovereign entities, as well as offering insights into best practices."

Judge William Thorne, the first Native American appointed to the Utah judiciary, delivered the keynote address. Thorne began his service as a tribal court judge in 1979 with an appointment as a pro tem judge on the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Court. Since then, he has served as a tribal judge in Utah, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Montana, Wisconsin, Washington, Michigan and California. In 2000, Thorne was appointed to the Utah Court of Appeals after serving 14 years as a state trial judge. He is now retired.

Other presenters included:
  • Sarah Deer, professor, University of Kansas School of Law
  • Matthew L.M. Fletcher, professor and director, Indigenous Law & Policy Center, Michigan State University College of Law
  • Tonya Kowalski, professor, Washburn University School of Law
  • Hon. Michael Petoskey, chief judge, Pokagon Band
  • Victoria Sweet, program attorney, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
  • Hon. Korey Wahwassuck, judge, Ninth Judicial District, Minnesota
  • Heather Whiteman Runs Him, staff attorney, Native American Rights Fund
Thorne's address was followed by two panel discussions exploring collaborations between state and tribal courts and tribal-state collaborations related to law enforcement, cultural preservation and the Indian Child Welfare Act. The program concluded with an ethics presentation on maintaining tribal confidences.

The 2019 Tribal Law & Government Conference will take place on March 8, 2019 in Green Hall. We look forward to seeing you there.

NALSA hosts 2018 Diversity in Law Banquet

Mathew L.M. Fletcher was the keynote speaker at the Diversity in Law Banquet. 
Since its founding in 1878, KU Law has been open to all qualified applicants, regardless of gender or ethnicity. KU Law is proud of this history, and remains committed to providing access to a legal education for students from diverse backgrounds. One way that commitment is renewed each year is by hosting the Diversity in Law Banquet, a celebration of diversity in the legal profession and a fundraiser for the KU Law Diversity Scholarship. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and those who purchased individual tickets to the March 9, 2018 dinner, a record-breaking amount of more than $16,000 was raised for the scholarship fund! 

The Native American Law Students Association hosted the 2018 banquet, with keynote speaker Mathew L.M. Fletcher of the Michigan State University College of Law highlighting the importance of diverse viewpoints through a series of traditional stories. These photos from the event capture the strong sense of community KU Law strives to cultivate.

The Black Law Students Association is set to host the 24th annual Diversity in Law Banquet in March 2019.

KU NALSA chapter update

Benjamin Stringer, L'18
KU NALSA President, 2017-18

This year was a busy one for the Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) at the University of Kansas. The board was full of new faces, including Benjamin Stringer, Samantha Wagner, Alexandria Pierce and Megan Marie Tunget. There are many great resources at KU Law and in the Lawrence community to take advantage of as an organization.

One of those advantages is the Tribal Law & Government Center. This year, the Center hosted a presentation on tribal disenrollment with speakers Bree Black Horse and Gabe Galanda. Black Horse and Galanda spoke about their experiences working with individuals disenrolled from the Nooksack Tribe and shared their perspective on other tribal disenrollment issues. 

Many of our members had the privilege of taking Federal Indian Law and/or Native American Natural Resources with Professor Elizabeth Kronk Warner during the 2017-2018 academic year. Kronk Warner not only provides an in-depth analysis of the history, law and current issues concerning federal Indian law, but she also encourages students to immerse themselves in federal Indian law. Many of our members did so by visiting the Haskell Cultural Center, the KU Pow Wow and the Tribal Law & Government Conference.

Several of our members traveled to the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Reservation in April to tour the reservation and meet with the Nation's in-house counsel, Vivien Olsen. Olsen gave us a tour of the government building, the courthouse and the medical center. We also saw buffalo! Throughout our visit, many people were gracious enough to take time out of their schedules to share with us what they do on a day-to-day basis and tell us about some of the Nation's long-term goals. Olsen has represented the Nation for over 10 years and was willing to share her wealth of knowledge with us during our visit. She shared some of the challenges an attorney practicing Indian law faces and why it's important for young lawyers to understand Indian law.

Finally, this year our chapter was the host organization for the 2018 Diversity in Law Banquet. Every year, KU Law hosts the Diversity Banquet to celebrate diversity in the law and raise scholarship money for students from diverse backgrounds. The host organization has many duties, such as choosing the keynote speaker, centerpieces and menu; advertising the event to students; and other logistics. This year's banquet was a great success, and the law school set a new fundraising record for the scholarship!

We thank you for your support of KU NALSA!

Faculty notes 

Steve McAllisterE.S. & Tom W. Hampton Distinguished Professor of Law, serves as an Adviser on the American Law Institute project, Restatement of the Law Third: The Law of American Indians. The project is an effort "to cement the foundational principles of American Indian law" in the words of the project's reporters. The project's lead Reporter (i.e., drafter and coordinator) is Professor Matthew L.M. Fletcher of Michigan State University College of Law.
For ALI Restatement projects, the reporters create drafts of various sections of the subject matter, attempting to describe both the current state of the law and sometimes the direction the law perhaps ought to evolve. Then, reporters meet with advisers and consultative group members annually or semi-annually to review drafts with extensive discussion and comment. Drafts often are revised multiple times and perhaps significantly before they eventually will be presented to the full membership of the American Law Institute at annual meetings for further review, comment, discussion and (hopefully) ultimate approval as a product of the ALI. Many of the ALI's Restatement projects have proven to be extremely influential in shaping the course of American law in a variety of subject areas.
The advisers group for the American Indian Law project includes law professors, federal and state judges, federal and state government lawyers who work with tribes and Indian affairs, and practicing lawyers who represent tribes and are involved in Indian law work. Advisers are specifically invited by the ALI to serve on these projects, and it is both an honor and an intellectually stimulating endeavor.
McAllister is currently on leave from KU Law, as he was appointed and confirmed as U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas.

Elizabeth Kronk Warner is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor of Law and Director of the KU TLGC. Kronk Warner loves every minute of directing the KU TLGC. In addition to her academic activities listed below, Kronk Warner continues to serve as Special District Judge for the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and an appellate judge for her Tribe, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. In addition to teaching several courses related to Indian law and property, Kronk Warner actively researches and writes on topics related to the intersection of environmental and natural resources law and Indian law. As a result she had an opportunity to make several presentations related to the field this past year, including:
  • "The Impact of Climate Change on Indigenous Communities," presentation at the Annual Unitarian Universalist Conference in Kansas City, MO (June 22, 2018).
  • "Environmental Justice and the Social Pillar of Sustainable Development," presentation at the 4th Annual Sustainability Conference of American Legal Educators in Phoenix, AZ (May 11, 2018).
  • "Improving Tribal/Federal Consultation Following the Dakota Access Pipeline Controversy," presentation at the 47th Annual ABA SEER Conference in Orlando, FL (April 20, 2018).
  • "Navigating the Path to Tenure and Promotion," presentation at Annual AALS Conference in San Diego, CA (Jan. 6, 2018).
  • "Standing Together: The Intersection of Tribal Law and Sustainability," presentation to the federal National Benefits Center in Overland Park, KS (Dec. 1, 2017).
  • "At a Crossroads: Native American Sovereignty, Water Rights, & Climate Change," webinar for ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice (Nov. 3, 2017).
  • "Introduction to Federal Indian Law and Policy," Regions V and VI Intergovernmental Meetings in Kansas City, MO (Sept. 14, 2017).
  • "Environmental Protection in Indian Country 101," Environmental Law Institute in Washington, DC (July 26, 2017).
  • "Introduction to Federal Indian Law and Policy," NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop in Lawrence, KS (June 19 and July 10, 2017).
  • "Diversity and Inclusion Inside and Outside the Classroom," AALS Workshop for New Law School Teachers in Washington, D.C. (June 23, 2017).
  • "Lessons Learned from the Dakota Access Pipeline Controversy," Annual Arkansas Bar Association Conference in Hot Springs, AR (June 16, 2017).
  • "Recent Legal Developments in Federal Indian Law," KU Law Recent Developments in the Law CLE in Lawrence, KS (May 19, 2017).
  • "Managing for Climate Change: Tribal Climate Change Policy Priorities and Opportunities for Co-Management," National Adaptation Forum in St. Paul, MN (May 10, 2017).
In addition to presenting widely on the topics of environmental, natural resources and Indian law, Professor Kronk Warner also published several articles related to the field, including:
  • Co-Author, "Native American Natural Resources" (4th  ed. Carolina Academic Press Summer 2018).
  • Author, "Indian Law" in 2018 Kansas Annual Survey of Law Volume XXVIII (Hon. Steve Leben, et al. eds. Kansas Bar Association) (forthcoming).
  • Co-Author, "Environmental Protection in Indian Country: The Fundamentals" 47 Environmental Law Reporter 10905 (November 2017).
  • Author, "Environmental Justice: A Necessary Lens to Effectively View Environmental Threats to Indigenous Survival," 26 Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems 343 (Summer 2017).
  • Author, "Returning to the Tribal Environmental 'Laboratory': An Examination of Environmental Enforcement Techniques in Indian Country," 6 Michigan Journal of Environmental and Administrative Law 341 (Spring 2017).
Kronk Warner looks forward to continuing to work with the KU law students, alumni, faculty and the Kansas community.

Alumni spotlight

In every newsletter, we highlight the accomplishments of some of our KU Tribal Law & Government Center alumni. 
March Runner (L'00) has been named the House of Compassion's new director in Iowa. The House of Compassion offers a supply closet, serves meals six days a week and helps people connect with social services, such as health care and housing. It previously operated an emergency overnight shelter, which closed in February 2017. Runner holds a Master of Business Administration from Southeastern University in Washington, D.C., and a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas School of Law. Previously, she worked as executive director for the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa for two and a half years. Runner was hired by the House of Compassion's board, which reviewed seven job applications before making its decision.
Again, we love to hear from our alumni, so please update us on your recent accomplishments.