UCLA School of Law received a donation of $ 15 million from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria to advance the study and practice of Native American law. The donation is the largest tribal contribution ever to a law school and one of the largest in the history of a tribe to a university. The funds will go towards scholarships for Native American students and other students interested in pursuing a career as tribal lawyers.
The donation will create the Graton Scholars program at UCLA Law’s Indigenous Nations Center for Law and Policy. Graton Fellows will be some of the best and brightest Indigenous students and others interested in pursuing careers as tribal advocates. Each year, they will receive full scholarships which will cover the three years of law school at UCLA Law, which is well established as the country’s premier law school for Indian law.
“This is one of the largest grants to support scholarships in UCLA history, and we are extremely grateful to the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria for this visionary investment, which strengthens the commitment of Our university’s long standing in serving the Indian country and the success of indigenous peoples all over the world. “Said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block.” This giveaway allows us to recruit the best candidates to pursue their legal studies at UCLA and prepare for careers as hard-hitting advocates for Indigenous nations. “
The announcement of the gift, which is also among the most significant contributions to law school in its seven-decade history, comes just days before the celebration of the 53rd annual California Native American Day on September 25. .
“Tribal law is the cornerstone of the quest for equality and inclusion of Native Americans in the American justice system,” said Greg Sarris, president of the Graton Rancheria Indian Federation, who received his undergraduate degree. from UCLA and returned to teach English for over a decade. . âUCLA’s commitment to educating and preparing the next generation of tribal legal lawyers is known to me personally, as a former student and former professor of UCLA. We hope this donation will kick off the campaign for fairness for our people in our homeland. It is especially fitting that our announcement coincides with California Native American Day on Friday, which celebrates and honors the historical and cultural contributions of California Native Americans.
Jennifer Mnookin, Dean of UCLA Law, said: âAt UCLA Law, we are extremely proud of our national leadership in Indian law. Through this extraordinary contribution, our faculty, staff and students will have many more opportunities to collaborate in the promotion of tribal sovereignty, protection of cultural resources, Native American child protection, and economic development in the Indian country – a job the impact of which will last for generations. I am extremely grateful to the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria for this vision, generosity and recognition of the strength of UCLA Law in this area.
For decades, UCLA Law has been recognized as a leader among the nation’s leading law schools in developing courses, programs and scholarships that focus on the legal status and rights of Indigenous nations. The first collection of federal Indian law jurisprudence was compiled by UCLA Law School, and the school developed the first joint degree program in law and Native American Studies.
UCLA Laws Tribal Legal Development Clinic provides free legal services to tribes in the areas of constitution drafting and revision, tribal code development, establishment and operation of tribal justice systems, and negotiation of cooperative agreements with cities, counties and local states to coordinate initiatives and services. Students at the clinic gained vital understanding and skills through on-site collaboration with tribal leaders, leaders and community members.
“For decades, Native American students and those seeking a way to serve Native nations have come to UCLA to gain unparalleled training in Indian law and Native American studies, launching them into influential careers in the field,” he said. said Carole Goldberg, the Jonathan D. Varat Emeritus Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Joint Law Degree Program and Native American Studies. âThis exceptionally generous donation will allow the most talented and committed students to join them as powerful advocates of the tribes. “
Angela Riley, a law professor at UCLA, heads the Native Nations Law and Policy Center and is currently Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, her tribe’s highest court.
âThis donation is a remarkable benefit to students, academics and advocates whose hard work through the NNLPC advances the rights of Indigenous nations,â said Riley. âWe are deeply honored that the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria have chosen to so strongly support our work to preserve and promote the rich history, culture and legal institutions of Indigenous nations across Indian country. “