SACRAMENTO, CA – The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has awarded a $695,000 grant to the California Tribal Families Coalition to fund a new legal fellowship for law school graduates.
The San Manuel Tribal Advocacy Fellowship will offer a post-graduation position for law students who have lived experience in tribal communities and a demonstrated interest in federal Indian/tribal law. Graduates of UCLA, where San Manuel has supported Indian law instruction, will also receive priority consideration. The fellowship will provide a competitive salary, student loan forgiveness as needed, and mentoring and training in Indian law, specifically in Indian child welfare work.
“At San Manuel, we strongly believe that we all have an obligation to create pathways to a better tomorrow for Native youth and tribal communities by supporting new educational opportunities,” said San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena. “The San Manuel Tribal Advocacy Fellowship will assist students pursuing a future in Indian law by providing invaluable experience for the next generation of tribal lawyers.”
San Manuel is one of more than 50 California tribes and tribal organizations in membership with the California Tribal Families Coalition. The tribe also supports the UCLA School of Law and the San Manuel Tribal Legal Development Clinic, which connects law students directly with tribal leaders, officers, and attorneys to provide legal development services to Indian tribes.
“Our Coalition is deeply honored to receive this significant grant from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, which has a long history of generously supporting education and career opportunities for Native students,” said Blair Kreuzer, the Coalition’s Co-Executive Director. “We are excited to launch our new fellowship, which will provide recipients with a comprehensive foundation for a career in California tribal advocacy.”
Over the last two years the Coalition has worked in collaboration with the San Manuel Tribal Legal Development Clinic at UCLA, providing guest lecturers and partnering with clinic students on various Coalition research and legal analysis projects, said Coalition Co-Executive Director Michelle Castagne.
“By providing grant resources for our fellowship, San Manuel is furthering the support and impact it already provides law students to work in the field of Indian law,” said Castagne.
Applications for the San Manuel Tribal Advocacy Fellowship are available on the CTFC website at https://caltribalfamilies.org/smtafapplications. Applications are being accepted until April 10, 2023.