Friday was a special homecoming celebration at the annual Native American Law Conference as members welcomed back leaders who founded the Native American Law Section of the State Bar of Texas almost 21 years ago. The conference took place at the Texas Law Center in Austin on Jan. 30.
Above, from top: Original founders and leaders of the Native American Law Section of the State Bar. The Chickasaw Nation Stomp Dance Troupe performs a traditional dance during the section's honoring ceremony. Photographs courtesy of Jim Sipowicz, Shell Media Inc., Canopy Studios.
Lawyers from several tribes, including the Chickasaw, Comanche, Alabama-Coushatta, and more, came to discuss important national matters, such as Native American spirituality and the law, the planned Keystone Pipeline’s possible disturbance of sacred sites, legal cases involving issues like untaxed gasoline, and the Indian Child Welfare Act. State Bar Immediate Past-President Lisa M. Tatum, who has Chickasaw and Cherokee heritage, presented on various bar programs. After playing an animated video of the Native American Code Talkers explaining their importance during World War II, a clip from her I was the first. Vote for Me! project, Tatum reflected on her years of presidential service, which will come to an end this June.
Before lunch, section members and State Bar employees filled the Texas Law Center lobby for the section’s honoring ceremony, which included traditional dancing, singing, and drumming by the Chickasaw Nation Stomp Dance Troupe followed by the Eagle Point Singers. Attendees were also delighted to spend time with Bill Voelker and Troy, co-directors of Sia, the Comanche Nation Ethno-Ornithological Initiative, who brought two spiritual birds with them, a golden eagle and a White Medicine Bird (a rare white red-tailed hawk revered by the Comanche and other tribes).
For more information on the Native American Law Section of the State Bar, go to texasindianbar.com.
Above, from top: Troy of SIA, the Comanche Nation Ethno-Ornithological Initiative, and male golden eagle Nuepi (which means “Tornado” in Comanche). A member of the Eagle Point Singers performs a traditional fancy shawl dance during the section's honoring ceremony. Photographs courtesy of Jim Sipowicz, Shell Media Inc., Canopy Studios.