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USD Hosts Indian Law Symposium

Copy of Indian Law Symposium flyer. The 15th Biennial Indian Law Symposium will be hosted on March 21-22 at the USD School of Law.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota’s Native American Law Student Association (NALSA) chapter will host its 15th Biennial Indian Law Symposium on March 21-22 at the USD School of Law.

The event, titled “The Challenges of Culture, Governance, and Respect in Indian Country,” begins March 21 at 7 p.m. with a traditional prayer by Gene Thin Elk, director of Native American Student Services, and an honor song by the Oyate Singers. Professor Frank Pommersheim will present opening remarks, with keynote speaker, Patrice Kunesh to follow.

The symposium continues at 9 a.m. on March 22.  Panel discussion topics will include legal issues related to tribal governance, culture and activism. Panelists include South Dakota State Senator Troy Heinert, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribal Attorney Seth Pearman, Water Protector Legal Collective Executive Director Terry Janis, Rosebud Sioux Tribe Tribal Council Member of the Grass Mountain Community, Rita Means, Indian law attorney, Leonika R. Charging, Coordinator of the Native American Studies/Assistant Professor Elise Boxer, Ph.D., and Sherman Marshall, Chief Tribal Judge for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

The NALSA Indian Law Symposium, has been held biennially for three decades, making it the longest-running Indian law symposium in the nation. This year’s symposium will be held in the courtroom of the USD School of Law and is free and open to the public.


USD’s Knudson School of Law prepares students for leadership in the administration of justice in South Dakota, including in rural areas where the demand is great, and for private practice, public service, business and other law-related endeavors anywhere. Its joint degree program allows students to also earn one of nine master’s degrees within the traditional three-year law curriculum, which includes course tracks in business, commercial, constitutional, criminal, employment, environmental, Indian, real estate and tax law as well as civil litigation and estate planning.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News