Law
Jodi Rave: Pueblo woman takes over Indian law center
"Helen Padilla has been involved with some of the most venerable Indian law enterprises of her time, ranging from gaming commissions and state-level Indian Cabinets to working within some of the country’s oldest and newest tribal government structures.

Now, Padilla, has taken the reins as director of the American Indian Law Resource Center in Albuquerque, N.M., which is the oldest Native-controlled national policy center in the United States. The center is also home to the Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals and the Pre-Law Summer Institute, a flagship program responsible for preparing thousands of Native students for law school.

“We know practically every Indian lawyer in the country,” said Philip “Sam” Deloria, former director of the American Indian Law Center, who helped select Padilla for her new job. “We came up with Helen. She was our first choice.”

Since Padilla accepted the job a month ago, she has been setting the course for the law center’s future. That includes increasing the center’s field work with tribes around the country. She’ll start with pilot programs that include local tribes, such as the Navajo, Pueblo and Apache.

The law center will continue its contributions to national policy debate, Deloria said. But it will also begin directing attention to tribes, said Deloria, who remains chairman of the law center’s board of directors. “We can still do the national work, but she can relate to the local tribes in a way I never could,” he said. “And that’s a really important dimension to add.”

Meanwhile, the Pueblo woman has been asking herself these questions: “What does the law center do?” “What should it do well?” “What should be changed?” “When a tribal leader thinks of a law center, what would it mean to them?”"

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Indian law center director looks to localize effort (The Missoulian 8/15)

Relevant Links:
Jodi Rave - http://www.missoulian.com/jodirave

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