Battle to Protect Indigenous Rights 'Is Not on the Rez, It’s Outside the Rez'

Posted Feb. 24, 2016

MP3 Excerpt of speech by Ron Allen, chairman of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe, recorded and produced by Melinda Tuhus

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On Feb. 19 and 20, Yale Law School hosted the 22nd annual Rebellious Lawyering conference, known as RebLaw. The conference, grounded in the spirit of Gerald Lopez’s Rebellious Lawyering, seeks to build a community of law students, practitioners, and activists seeking to work in the service of social change movements and to challenge hierarchies of race, wealth, gender and expertise within legal practice and education.

Conference organizers this year scheduled 25 panel discussions on topics including: data and privacy, international tribunals on Palestine and other nations, youth organizing and several on criminal justice reform. One of the panels titled, "Self-Determination in Tribal Nations: A Leadership Perspective," featured two tribal chiefs: Lynn Malerba of the Mohegan Nation in Connecticut, who's been in office for a several years, and Ron Allen, who's served as chairman of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe in Washington state since 1977.

In a wide ranging and animated talk, Allen, who is 68 years old, told his audience that he’s nowhere near ready to retire and discussed all the local, state, national and tribal agencies and organizations he said native American leaders must interact with, adding "the battles to protect the rights of our people is not on the rez, it’s outside the rez." Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus, who attended the Rebellious Lawyering conference, recorded and produced the following excerpt of Ron Allen’s talk.

Learn more about the Rebellious Lawyering conference at reblaw.yale.edu and reblaw.yale.edu/reblaw-2016-schedule, and the S’Kallam Tribe by visiting jamestowntribe.org.

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