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UCLA Law School

Law School Receives Multi-Million Dollar Donation From Tribe

The University of California at Los Angeles School of Law has received a $15 million donation from The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, a California tribe, to help advance the study and practice of Native American law.

The multi-million dollar donation will help create full tuition scholarships for students interested in pursuing careers as tribal legal advocates, the ABA Journal reports.

“This is one of the largest gifts to support scholarships in UCLA history, and we are incredibly grateful to the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria for this visionary investment, which bolsters our university’s longtime commitment to service in Indian country and the success of Native people everywhere,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block says in a press release. “This gift allows us to recruit the very best candidates to pursue their legal education at UCLA and prepare for careers as impactful advocates for Native Nations.” 

PUSH FOR EQUALITY

UCLA announced the gift just dates before the 53rd annual California Native American Day, which is celebrated on Sept. 25.

Greg Sarris, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria Tribal Chairman and a grad of UCLA, says he hopes the donation will help drive equality of Native Americans.

“Tribal law is a cornerstone of Native Americans’ quest for equality and inclusion within the U.S. justice system,” Sarris says. “UCLA’s commitment to educating and preparing the next generation of tribal legal advocates is personally known to me, as an alumnus and former UCLA professor. We hope this gift will begin the drive for equity for our people in our native land. It’s particularly fitting that our announcement coincides with this Friday’s California Native American Day, which celebrates and honors the historic and cultural contributions by California Native Americans.”

UCLA has been recognized as a leader in developing courses, programs, and scholarships that address the legal standing and rights of Native Nations. According to UCLA, the first legal casebook in federal Indian law was authored by UCLA Law faculty. Additionally, the law school’s Tribal Legal Development Clinic offers free legal services to tribes with a focus on constitution drafting and revision, tribal code development, establishment and operation of tribal court systems, and negotiation of cooperative agreements with local cities, counties and states to coordinate initiatives and services.

“For decades, Native American students and those seeking a way of serving Native Nations have come to UCLA to gain an unparalleled education in Indian law and American Indian studies, launching them into influential careers in the field,” Carole Goldberg, the Jonathan D. Varat Distinguished Professor of Law Emerita and founding director of the joint degree program in law and American Indian studies, says. “This exceptionally generous gift will enable the most talented and committed students to join them as powerful tribal advocates.”

Sources: ABA Journal, UCLA Law

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