Assistant professor joins USD Indian law program

Assistant professor joins USD Indian law program Attorney Patrice H. Kunesh will join other faculty as a new assistant professor teaching in the prominent Indian law program at The University of South Dakota School of Law, beginning on July 1.

Kunesh comes to USD�s School of Law from Connecticut where she has served as the attorney for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe since 1994. Prior to that position, she was senior staff attorney for the Native American Rights Fund in Boulder, CO. She attended the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, MN, earned a B.A. from Colorado State University in Fort Collins and received her J.D. from the School of Law at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Kunesh is widely published and has lectured and participated in several symposia.

In joining the law faculty, Kunesh will teach courses on Indian gaming, juvenile law, alternative dispute resolution, and Indian jurisdiction. She will work closely with Professor Frank Pommersheim, an author and nationally known Indian law expert who serves on more than a half-dozen tribal courts across the country. Pommersheim has taught at the law school since 1984 and will continue writing, speaking for various Indian law programs, teaching Indian law and serving as advisor to the Native American Law Student Association (NALSA). Pommersheim earned his B.A. from Colgate University, M.P.A. from Harvard University and J.D. from Columbia University.

Kunesh will be joining a program that has enjoyed a great deal of activity in recent months. This past spring semester, the law school�s Indian law program also featured Indian law fellow Sharon Red Deer, an attorney and tribal judge, who taught Indian jurisdiction. In April, Red Deer�s class hosted a forum in response to a proposed state Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which failed to pass. The forum was held in the law school�s courtroom with assistance from members of NALSA.

Prior to her Indian law fellowship, Red Deer served for 30 years in the area of criminal justice, including as a law enforcement officer and investigator, tribal prosecutor, tribal staff attorney, and as an associate judge for the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. She recently has also been director of investigations for the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission.

Red Deer is working on a law review article examining criminal jurisdiction by tribal courts over non-Indians and has a continuing strong professional and personal interest in tribal court systems. She is a 2002 graduate of the USD Law School.

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