End of Year with NALSA: Highlights & Reflections

NALSA has had a great third year as a chapter at Boston University. We succeeded in our mission of bringing cultural awareness and educational opportunities about Indian law, native peoples, and indigenous peoples to our community. Our events included our First Annual All-American Thanksgiving where we embraced all traditions and diversity and collaborated with our other affinity groups. We celebrated spring with Kurdish New Year and good cheer. We were so honored to host Justice Yazzie and learn about Navajo peacemaking in conjunction with the School of Theology. We hosted educational events like water law with Professor Anderson and an introduction to Indian law with Professor Wexler.

Our students seized opportunities to participate in the national NALSA moot court competition, the BU service trip to Oklahoma to work with Oklahoma Indian legal services, and students attended events here in Boston like Suffolk’s discussion on the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We look forward to the events and educational opportunities that next year will bring as our chapter continues to grow strong.

As we wrap up the year, we want to leave this forum with a moment of inspiration from  Dennis Arviso, an amazing artist who reflected “I might be an ordinary disabled man to some, without any future, but  looking at my paintings has brought inspiration to many and shows how we can overcome many obstacles.” To read more about Mr. Arviso, please see DennisArvisoBiography.


Honorable Chief Justice Robert Yazzie & Peacemaking

Our NALSA group is so honored to be able to host Chief Justice Robert Yazzie to discuss peacemaking. Honorable Yazzie was Chief Justice for the Navajo Nation for over ten years. During his tenure, had practiced and advocated for the traditional use of peacemaking.

Peacemaking is a traditional form of justice that many tribal courts are adopting. It involves a circle process and allows disputants to resolve and not just litigate their issues. For more information in advance of his lecture please see the International Institute for Restorative Justice Practices article on Robert Yazzie and peacemaking.

The event will be from 4 to 5 in the law tower, room 1270 with refreshments. Following the peacemaking demonstration, Justice Yazzie will present at the School of Theology’s Lowell Lecture from 5:30 to 8 on talking circles.

NALSA & Other Indigenous Peoples Celebrate Kurdish New Year

In keeping with the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, BU NALSA has sought to embrace all indigenous peoples’ cultures and recognize the diversity within a broader community. On the first day of spring and as news circulates about a possible Kurdish-Turkish ceasefire, NALSA and the BU community celebrated Newroz.

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Newroz is the New Year celebration of spring in many cultures. For the Kurds, it takes on special significance and occasionally nationalist undertones. It is a holiday full of dancing, food, and colorful celebration.

At BU, we celebrated the event with schwarma, pitas, grape leaves, and more. We learned about the holiday with a slideshow and Kurdish music. And everyone took good cheer in wearing colorful scarves.  We are so happy to have such a diverse community here at BU and friends that embrace all of our peoples.

BU NALSA Thrives

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Brian Balduzzi (class of 2013) & Laura Goldsmith (class of 2014)

This past weekend in February, BU NALSA & the BU Writing Center sent a team to Portland, Oregon to compete in the national NALSA moot court competition. This experience was a one of a kind opportunity to tackle the complexities of federal Indian law jurisdiction. They grappled with the issues of aboriginal title and criminal law jurisdiction. They also got to meet and share the experience with the many other law students across the nation who are interested in Indian law. Congratulations to our team for their hardwork and outstanding representation of BU and our NALSA chapter!

We are also quite proud of our students who will be spending their spring breaks next week working with Oklahoma Indian Legal Services. This is the second year that BU  students have contributed their time to toil over complex Indian law legal matters. We are grateful once again for students to be able to work with the dedicated individuals at OILS. In addition, we are thankful to BU Career Services for continuing this and its many other pro bono trips.

Dennis Arviso: An Amazing Artist

While we typically post law-related news and events, everyone benefits from the arts and some inspiration. Dennis Arviso is an amazing Navajo painter. He paints each picture with a paint brush in his mouth after a car accident left him as quadriplegic. You can buy his art work from Wright’s Indian Art. You can read more about him in the Navajo Times. Finally, the Southwest Indian Foundation has previously sold greeting cards featuring Arviso’s artwork as part of its mission “to lessen poverty and unemployment among the Native Americans of the Southwest.”

1057619854_00l[1]* Image from the Wright’s Indian Art website.

International Indigenous Rights: “Idle No More”

A movement is emerging in Canada (and the world), gaining recognition in international news, such as on BBC and The Economist. The First Nations (as the indigenous people of Canada are known) have taken to protest, demanding that the Canadian government fulfill its treaty obligations. The movement includes questions about international law and human rights. It has provoked stirrings amongst other indigenous communities such as occurred with a protest in Old Town New Mexico on a bitter winter night to show solidarity.

This movement is known as “Idle No More.”

As the movement takes flight, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Professor James Anaya, will be commemorating the fifth anniversary of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at Suffolk University April 11. Stay tuned to Suffolk’s event and Idle No More!




Welcome Back

Welcome back to school. We are in the process of planning some very exciting events for this semester. Please feel free to reach out to us with ideas. Do not forget to check out our opportunities page for scholarships, internships, jobs, and class information.

Some pressing information: