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  • The Indian Law Section seeks to provide support, information and education for New Mexico attorneys practicing in areas that are impacted by the specialized legal rules and doctrines applicable to Indian tribes, individuals and property.


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Indian Law Times


Read the newly released Fall/Winter 2013 Indian Law Times!


2014 Indian Law Section – Nominating Committee Report

To:                  State Bar of New Mexico
From:             Autumn Monteau-Nabors, ILS BOD Chair, ILS Nominating Committee Chair

The Indian Law Section Nominating Committee consisted of: Autumn Monteau-Nabors, Chair; Natasha Cuylear; Dion Killsback, Joset Monette; Francine Jaramillo.

The Nominating Committee selects the following candidates to run in the 2014 Election for ILS board of director positions:

1. Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2017 - Sarah Stevenson
2. Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2017 - Kathryn Becker
3. Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2015 - Naomi Bebo
4. Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2015 - Vince Lujan
5. Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2015 - Christina West
6. Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2016 - Carolina Martin Ramos
7. Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2016 - James Burson

Christina S. West practices primarily in commercial litigation for businesses, tribal entities and governments. Her experience spans general commercial litigation, Indian law, employment law, education law and construction law. She regularly represents clients in tribal and state courts in a variety of civil litigation matters, including appeals. Ms. West has been admitted to practice in the following courts: New Mexico, 2000; New Mexico Federal District Court, 2000; Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, 2000; Hopi Tribe, 2001; Navajo  Nation, 2001; Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, 2001; Laguna Pueblo, 2005; San Juan/Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, 2006; Tesuque Pueblo, 2006; Isleta Pueblo, 2011. She earned her law degree in 2000 at Arizona State University, with a certificate in Federal Indian Law. Her service in the Indian Law Section includes Board Member 2009-2011, 2013-Present and Chair 2010. She is of Southern Cheyenne descent.


Carolina Martin Ramos is owner and managing attorney at Justicia Digna, LLC. Justicia Digna is a law firm dedicated to immigration and criminal defense. She strives to create a firm where vulnerable populations are served with a high degree of cultural competence and professionalism. She is especially committed to working with indigenous migrants from Latin America. Carolina is a graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law. She currently serves on the Boards of the Indian Law Section of the State Bar of New Mexico, the N.M. Hispanic Bar Association, and is Chair-Elect of the Immigration Section of the State Bar of New Mexico.

Carolina began her legal career as a Public Defender in Santa Fe, and later served as Immigration Counsel for the Public Defender. She also worked for a short time in the Serious Violent Felonies Division of the Public Defender in Albuquerque, and in the immigration law office of John W. Lawit, PC.

Previously, Carolina worked as a performing artist and activist within the social justice movement in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a credentialed bilingual teacher and worked as an educator in Los Angeles for almost a decade. Carolina’s mother is a Mestiza immigrant from Central Mexico and her father is of Cherokee and Choctaw heritage. Her experiences living and working within immigrant and working class communities of color have shaped her very personal understanding of the individuals and families she serves.


Vince Lujan is President and Chief Executive Officer of Salt River Devco, an enterprise of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian community. He was appointed as Interim CEO at Salt River Devco in March 2010, and became CEO in December 2010. He served on the Salt River Devco Board of Directors as Ex-Officio Member/Senior Counsel from 2008.

He has more than 14 years of public and private experience in the field of Federal Indian Law representing federally-recognized Indian Tribes and Tribal Organizations. Mr. Lujan earned a BBA degree in Accounting and a BA in Political Science both from the University of New Mexico. He received a JD in 1999 and an MPA in 2010, both from Arizona State University. Mr. Lujan is admitted to practice law in New Mexico, Arizona, and U.S. District Courts (Arizona and New Mexico). He will receive his Ph.D. in Justice Studies from Arizona State University in May 2015.


Sarah Stevenson is an associate in the Natural Resources practice group. Her practice includes water, natural resources, Native American, employment, and First Amendment law. Current cases include litigation regarding the Rio Grande Compact in federal and state courts; the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act; and appellate and trial cases in federal and state courts. Sarah provides pro bono services in areas including immigration. In 2014, Sarah was selected as a Southwest Rising Star by Southwest Super Lawyers.

Sarah graduated magna cum laude from Fordham University School of Law, where she was a Crowley Scholar in International Human Rights, and received her M.A. in International Political Economics and Development. From 2009-2011, Sarah served as law clerk to the Hon. Patricio M. Serna of the New Mexico Supreme Court. Sarah enjoys travel, downhill skiing, hiking, running, and swimming. She speaks varying levels of French, Hausa, and Spanish.

James Burson has specialized in Indian law matters involving Indian tribes—both transactional and litigation—for almost two decades to protect tribal interests in construction, financing, real estate, economic development, and vendor relationships. He provides expert policy advice and development of regulations related to the following: gaming, ethics, taxation, HIPAA compliance, housing, natural resource development and protection, child welfare, tort and prize claims, and employment matters among others. Licensed to practice law in Oklahoma and New Mexico, he has litigated in the U.S. Supreme Court, 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Court of Federal Claims, all Federal District Courts for Oklahoma and New Mexico, the Court of Indian Offenses, Osage Nation Court, Muscogee Creek Nation Court, and Absentee Shawnee Tribe Court.

James found himself drawn to the law while teaching music at an Indian tribe's reservation school and serving as mayor of a small town in rural New Mexico. He pursued a law degree from the University of New Mexico while clerking with the U.S. District Court for New Mexico and the Department of the Interior's Regional Solicitor's Office, volunteering for the Southwest Indian Law Clinic, serving as Lead Articles Editor (Nat. Resources J.), and ultimately graduating with certificates in Indian Law and Natural Resources Law. He has been affiliated most recently with the boutique Indian law firm of Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP for more than 10 years, performing general counsel and gaming counsel services for a number of Oklahoma-based Indian tribes and tribal enterprises. Prior to this he worked with Quinlan, Bloom & Assoc. in New Mexico serving the interests of Mescalero Apache Tribe, and Gerald Champion Medical Center. He is currently associated with the Stetson Law Office in Albuquerque.

My name is Kathryn Becker and I am interested in serving on the Board of the Indian Law Section. I have spent the last nine and a half years working as an Assistant General Counsel for the N.M. Environment Department. In this capacity a portion of my work is serving as the legal counsel to the tribal liaison and internal resource on state-tribal relations. Prior to working for NMED, I worked for the N.M. Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department and the Navajo Nation’s Department of Justice. I studied environmental and Indian Law at the University of North Dakota and graduated in 2000. My personal and professional interest in serving on the Board stems from the same reasons I went to law school: to develop and contribute to the field of environmental Indian law. While I have been a section member for the last 12 years, I see my involvement on the Board as a way to better state-tribal communications.

Naomi Bebo is a member of the Ho-Chunk and Menominee Tribes, and a 2009 graduate of the Juris Doctorate/Masters of Arts program in Law and American Indian Studies at University of California, Los Angeles. Most recently she was an associate at the Nordhaus Law Firm. While at UCLA, Ms. Bebo served as Chairwoman of the Native American Law Students Association, participated in the National NALSA moot court competition, was a member of the UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs, and served as an Articles Editor for the UCLA Indigenous Peoplesʹ Journal of Law, Culture and Resistance. Her thesis concerned cultural property protection and the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.

Before joining the Nordhaus Law Firm, Ms. Bebo worked at Berkey Williams LLP in Berkeley, Calif., pursuant to a Public Interest Indian Law Fellowship, serving tribal clients regarding native land rights, environmental and cultural resource protection, Indian child dependency, tribal law, and litigation. Ms. Bebo previously clerked for two tribal courts, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Hopi Supreme Court, and the Arizona Court of Appeals. Ms. Bebo has worked for the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, the Native American Rights Fund, and Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, LLP. She also has litigated Indian Child Welfare Act cases as a Faculty Associate for the Indian Legal Clinic at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor Law School. Ms. Bebo is a member of the New Mexico, California, and Arizona state bars.

Georgene Louis Named Inaugural Indian Law Section Award Winner


Georgene Louis and Autumn Monteau
ILS Chair, Autumn Monteau, right, with Georgene Louis


2013 Indian Law Section Board of Directors

Members of the Indian Law Section board gather around Achievement Award winner Georgene Louis. From left are UNM student liaison Josett Monette, UNM faculty member Aliza Organick, Christina West, Chair Autumn Monteau, Louis, Dion Killsback, Delilah Tenorio Choneska, and Natasha Cuylear. Louis is the first pueblo woman elected to the N.M. legislature.



The Indian Law Section seeks to provide support, information and education for New Mexico attorneys practicing in areas that are impacted by the specialized legal rules and doctrines applicable to Indian tribes, individuals and property. Among the Section’s activities are:




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