This year’s event was titled “Tradition to Tomorrow: Shaping the Indian Law Landscape.” The symposium is hosted every two years by the Native American Law Student Association (NALSA) in the law school courtroom and is the longest-running biennial Indian law symposium in the nation.

Following a welcome by Dean Neil Fulton, J.D., and a prayer and honor songs by Sungmanitu Oyate H’oka, NALSA honored Fulton, Associate Dean Shirley Mays, J.D., Professor Emeritus Frank Pommersheim, J.D., Professor Ann Tweedy, J.D., and Cultural Knowledge Keeper and Indian Law Advocate JB Weston.

Weston shared a keynote address, and Rebecca Kidder, J.D., and Jillian Smith '22, J.D., of Peebles Kidder Bergin & Robinson, along with Oglala Sioux Attorney Mario Gonzalez, J.D., presented on the current case, “Oglala Sioux Tribe v. United States.”

Tweedy and UCLA Assistant Professor Lauren Van Schilfgaarde, J.D., spoke about the effects of the Dobbs case in Indian Country. Tweedy and Schilfgaarde co-authored a paper in 2022 titled “Tribal Nations and Abortion Access: A Path Forward” following the Dobbs case.

Before the closing address, third-year law student Bryce Drapeaux moderated a panel about “Oklahoma v Castro-Huerta” and its effects in South Dakota. Panelists included Kidder, Attorney General to the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe Seth Pearman '12, J.D., and State’s Attorney for Corson, Dewey, Perkins and Ziebach Counties Shane Penfield '03, J.D.


The Native American Law Student Association (NALSA) is committed to supporting the success of Native American law students, introducing the legal community and the greater public to the issues that Native American people and tribal governments face under the law, and promoting the study of federal Indian Law, tribal law and traditional forms of government.

Over the last year, NALSA hosted monthly speakers through the “Indian Law: Advocates and Allies Speaker Series” to give current law students more opportunities to learn about what’s happening in Indian law. The student organization also hosted a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives (MMIR) Walk for Awareness and multiple fundraisers centered around Native American traditions. For example, they raffled off a ribbon skirt and hosted a traditional Dakota food sale. The proceeds of this year’s annual blanket and winter gear drive were donated to the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe.

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