The first Arizona Tribal Sovereignty Forum brought together tribal leaders and legal experts at the University of Arizona

Oct. 24, 2023
Tribal leaders attending the 2023 Arizona Tribal Sovereignity Forum

From left to right:
N. Levi Esquerra, Senior Vice President, Native American Advancement & Tribal EngagementRobert Miguel, Chairman, Ak-Chin Indian CommunityMikah Carlos, Council Member, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian CommunityAmelia Flores, Chairwoman, Colorado River Indian TribesGlenn Lodge, Chairman, Chemehuevi Indian TribeGary Alchesay, Council Member, White Mountain Apache Tribe

Torran Anderson, IRes

On Wednesday, September 13th, the University of Arizona welcomed top national tribal law experts and Arizona tribal leaders as a part of the 2023 Arizona Tribal Sovereignty Forum to provide legal analysis and expertise on the recent US Supreme Court cases, and to create space for questions and concerns to be expressed and addressed.

Toni Massaro, the Regents Professor, Professor of Law and the Executive Director of the Agnese Nelms Haury Program shared: “This was an outstanding Inaugural convening of tribal leaders, tribal judges and lawyers, and the wider network of people for whom tribal sovereignty issues loom large. Conference leader University of Arizona Professor of Law Heather Whiteman Runs Him, and the many distinguished panelists, deftly weaved accessible legal analysis into insightful discussions of on-the-ground policy and practice considerations and consequences.”

The opening panel, which was available virtually as well as open to the general public, provided the overview of the recent US Supreme Court cases. The rest of the sessions, including hands-on technical assistance session dug deeper into issues such as water rights and child welfare.

“The University of Arizona organized this gathering at the request of tribal leaders who wanted to gain a better understanding of recent Supreme Court decisions,” explained Levi Esquerra, SVP for the University of Arizona Native American Advancement Office. “This event is a great example of our office and other UA partners taking the time to listen to tribal leaders, and answer their requests and share the resources we have as the University of Arizona.”

Council Member Mikah Carlos, from Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community attended the event in person, and thought that “this was a really good event - a lot of information was shared on important topics for the tribes right now.”

Prof. Massaro added: “The Haury Program thanks all who made the program possible, including UA James E. Rogers College of Law, UA Indigenous Resilience Center and UA Arizona Insitute for Resilience. We are especially grateful to UA Senior Vice President Levi Esquerra and the Native American Advancement and Tribal Engagement team for assuring that the expressed interests of tribes guided all aspects of the convening. We look forward to co-planning future sessions on this critically important topic."

The opening panel “Navigating Recent Supreme Court Decisions Impacting Tribes” was recorded and will be shared soon. For more information, please reach out to the UA Native American Advancement & Tribal Engagement (NAATE) office, Ms. Tina Gargus, .