A Tribal-university partnership will create opportunity for more Indian law professionals.
The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana is teaming up with Southern University Law Center (SULC) through the Native American Law and Policy Institute (NALPI) in Louisiana to provide Southern University students with resources needed to specialize in Indian law.
“The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe routinely works with attorneys to implement jurisdiction surrounding our business ventures as well as issues that affect our people, such as domestic violence,” said Marshall Pierite, Chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe.“There is a high demand for professionals who specialize in Indian Law which is why we decided to partner with one of Louisiana’s most prestigious law schools [Southern University] to implement this program.”
Through a 5-year partnership, the following educational opportunities have been established:
- 3-credit course on Federal Indian Law
- Externship/Internship Program
- Experiential Learning Opportunities related to Indian Affairs, Legislation and Regulation
- SULC Faculty Trained by the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe
- Annual Indian Law and Policy Conference
“These kinds of programs and partnerships allow our students to see what the new world of law practice looks like.” said John K. Pierre, Chancellor of Southern University Law Center. “It’s another way to increase our competitiveness.”
Other Tribes that have also partnered with SULC are the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, Chitimacha Tribe and MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians.
“This program is a game-changer for Indian Country. We are excited to lead the way in our commitment to those who choose to enter this profession in order to serve their communities” said Jeremy Zahn, Councilman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe.
Indian law is a highly-specialized field that is rooted in the unique sovereign status of Native American Tribes that has been reaffirmed in countless judicial decisions, statutes and executive orders. The field centers around jurisdictional disputes arising from Tribal sovereignty. Due to rapid Tribal economic growth since the advent of Indian gaming, Tribes have become major employers in the State of Louisiana. Tribal businesses include much more than gaming. Non-Indian private enterprises and state agencies routinely interact with Native American Tribes. For these reasons, the field of Indian law is in high demand.
Southern University Alum and attorney Adam Crepelle is currently leading this program. Crepelle is an expert in issues related to Indian Law and has published articles on several key Native American issues.