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ASU, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians celebrate generous gift to California Center, ASU Law Indian Legal Program


The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and ASU Law leaders at ASU California Center in the Herald Examiner Building

(From left) San Manuel Chairman Ken Ramirez, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis, ASU Law co-interim Dean Adam Chodorow, Los Angeles County 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger and Shawn Richards, executive director of Development Learning Enterprise at the ASU Foundation.

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November 30, 2021

In a special ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 29, Arizona State University celebrated San Manuel Band of Mission Indians’ significant role in establishing the ASU California Center in downtown Los Angeles, located at the historic Herald Examiner building. San Manuel’s contribution also provided support for the Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance programs at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU.

Through the unveiling of a sign and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, ASU dedicated the Yuhaaviatam of San Manuel Event Center within the Herald Examiner building. The naming of the space recognizes San Manuel’s $5 million gift for the recent renovation of the ASU California Center, and the tribe’s support for ASU Law’s Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance programs.

Several ASU leaders — including ASU Law co-interim Dean Adam Chodorow, ASU Foundation CEO Gretchen Buhlig and Indian Legal Program Executive Director Kate Rosier — joined San Manuel Chairman Ken Ramirez and other tribal dignitaries at the event.

Ramirez said investing in education that underscores Native American law and tribal sovereignty is among the core values of the tribe. Ramirez notes that even in the present day, tribal governments participate in legal education efforts that help to protect and enhance tribal sovereign powers and authorities. Most notably, in 2021 San Manuel worked alongside state legislators to gain the passage of California Native American Day and AB 798, a bill that provides for emergency vehicles operated by federally recognized tribes in California to be considered an authorized emergency vehicle under state law.

“It is an honor to contribute to education efforts about tribal governments by supporting Indian gaming and governance programs through our partnership with Arizona State University,” Ramirez said. “It is San Manuel Band of Mission Indians’ deepest hope that the Yuhaaviatam of San Manuel Event Center is a reminder of the rich history Native people in California hold, and the sacredness in which it should both be acknowledged, protected and supported.”

Chodorow said, “We are honored by our association with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and glad that they are our partners in working to advance legal education for and about tribal members and issues. We look forward to a long and productive partnership.”

Buhlig added, “We are very grateful for the generous support from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. The tribe’s commitment to higher education will enable many opportunities for students.”

Based in Southern California near the cities of San Bernardino and Highland, San Manuel administers a robust program of philanthropy, which prioritizes areas of education, health care and community development, and programs that promote the arts, museums and initiatives that protect the environment. The tribe has contributed more than $290 million since 2003 in support of nonprofit organizations and community groups, including Indian tribes and Native nonprofits.

ASU Law’s Indian Legal Program was established in 1988 to help Native Americans — among the most underrepresented group in inclusion, retention and representation in the legal community — gain a world-class legal education and to generate the next leaders in Indian law. The Indian Legal Program is among the best Native law programs in the nation, recognized for its strong partnerships with American Indian tribal communities and growing relationships with Indian nations and organizations nationally.

ASU Law’s Indian Legal Program is also home to one of the highest concentrations of Native American law students in the nation and has among the world’s top Native faculty, with several having served in the administrations of former and current U.S. presidents, as well as tribal judges and other top national and tribal leadership roles.

In addition to supporting the renovation of the Herald Examiner building, the San Manuel gift is increasing ASU Law students’ educational opportunities in the field of Indian law, expanding work experience for students interested in Indian law and contributing to the development of Indian law trainings for Native tribes and organizations.

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