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Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation provides $1.2M endowment to ASU Law’s Indian Legal Program

February 10, 2016

The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation has created a $1.2 million endowment to benefit the Indian Legal Program (ILP) at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

The Tribal Council established the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Endowment to support scholarships, grants or other programs for current and prospective Native American ASU Law students.

“This endowment reflects Fort McDowell’s motto, ‘Never give up; always give back.’ We continue to protect our sovereignty by ensuring that there are attorneys trained to understand the legal issues unique to tribal nations and who are prepared to fight for us,” said Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation President Ruben Balderas. “The Indian Legal Program at ASU has always provided first-class training to Native American attorneys, and the Nation’s gift will ensure that it will continue to do so for many years to come.”

In recognition of this gift, the fifth-floor courtyard in the Arizona Center for Law and Society — the new home of ASU Law in downtown Phoenix — will be named the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Courtyard, and a dedicated space for ILP students will be named the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Student Room.

“ASU Law could not have a better partner than the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation,” said Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, ILP faculty director. “Tribal nations in Arizona have been leaders in supporting institutions that will provide a long-term benefit to their respective communities. The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation has been a leader in promoting Indian rights in the state of Arizona in everything from voting to gaming to land rights. The Nation’s gift will allow the ILP to train more future leaders in Indian law. We are honored to be the recipient of the Nation's generous support and look forward to building on this successful partnership.”

The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation has a history of supporting education, as demonstrated through its previous gifts to each of the three state universities in Arizona, and to national organizations such as the United National Indian Tribal Youth.

“We are grateful for this substantial gift from the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation,” said ASU Law Dean Douglas J. Sylvester. “The tribe’s commitment to advancing access to education for Native American students is highly regarded. This gift is also a testament to the excellent outreach Professor Ferguson-Bohnee and ILP director Kate Rosier are doing to tribal nations to encourage more students to learn about Indian nations and Indian law.”

The Indian Legal Program was established in 1988 to provide legal education, generate scholarship in the area of Indian law, and undertake public service to tribal governments. Today, the ILP is one of the best Native law programs in the nation. Graduates are working at all levels of tribal, state and federal government, as well as in private practice. ILP provides a unique set of academic and clinical opportunities for students, and is committed to maintaining strong partnerships with American Indian nations and other Native governments and organizations.

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