Sophomores in the Minneapolis Public Schools’ All Nations Program successfully completed the district’s first-ever Indian Law Moot Court program this semester. The six-week unit spanned social studies and English classes, and introduced students to basic legal-reasoning, legal-writing, and argumentation skills in the context of an Indian-law problem. The students analyzed an equal-protection challenge to the Minnesota Indian Family Protection Act. This framework introduced them to the concepts of race-based statutes and tribes as political bodies, and encouraged them to think critically about blood-quantum and other identity issues.
In addition to this introductory coursework, educators worked with local Indian-law practitioners to build experiential activities into the pilot curriculum. The students started the course with a research project at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law library and a mock law-school course taught by Professor Colette Routel. Throughout the course, students met with native attorneys and Indian-law practitioners and enjoyed field trips to learn about the variety of job opportunities within the legal sector. As a capstone to the course, students presented their oral arguments to practicing attorneys and sitting tribal-court judges at an all-class moot court competition.
Attorney Advisor Jessica Intermill, a founding member of Hogen Adams PLLC, appreciated the opportunity to bring Indian-law opportunities to the district. “The teachers and administrators who supported this project invested significant work and trust in these students, and it’s been a pleasure to watch that investment pay off,” she said. “I applaud the district’s willingness to introduce the field to these students so that they can see opportunities that might otherwise be hidden. Supporting tribal communities is a key value of our law firm, and it was a tremendous honor to work with the All Nations Program. We look forward to continuing to build the program in the years to come.”
The All Nations Program is a unique academic program specifically designed for American Indian students. All students across Minneapolis may apply for the program, which is housed at South High School. Hogen Adams PLLC is a boutique law firm dedicated to providing legal excellence in Indian Country. View a video recap of the All Nations Moot Court Program here. For more information about the program, please contact Jessica Intermill at [email protected] or 651-842-9100.