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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Contracts Prof Weekly Spotlight: Angelique EagleWoman (Wambdi WasteWin)

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Angelique EagleWoman
(Wambdi WasteWin) (Hamline University)

B.A., Stanford University
J.D., University of North Dakota
L.L.M., University of Tulsa College of Law

Eaglewomanphotolarger

Angelique EagleWoman has joined the Hamline University Law faculty this August. Her teaching areas include Contracts I, Contracts II and Native American Law in 2006-2007. 

I grew up both on the reservation and off, between Topeka, Kansas and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Lake Traverse Reservation in South Dakota. Since I was eight years old, I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer. The interest stemmed from a traumatic experience. My aunt’s husband, my uncle, was African-American and went in to pay a speeding ticket at the Shawnee County Sheriff’s office. After entering the law enforcement building, he was brutally beaten and taken to the hospital. I remember being eight years old and watching the local news showing my aunt and uncle rejoicing outside of a courtroom for winning a large monetary judgment against the Shawnee County Sheriff’s office. I viewed law as a way to remedy grave injustices and knew then that I would be a lawyer.

During my preteen years, my father often gave me political manifestos to read. I read “Custer Died for Your Sins,” “The Trail of Broken Treaties,” and “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.” Through these early influences, I committed myself to becoming a voice and an advocate for my Tribe and other Tribal Nations. I feel that my path has risen up to meet me along the way.

Through my high school years, I attended both public schools and a tribal school. I applied to Stanford and was routed to a postgraduate year at the preparatory school, Northfield Mount Hermon in Massachusetts. When I flew to Northfield, it was my first experience in an airplane. During my postgraduate year, I was accepted at Stanford where I majored in political science.

From there, I took several years off to return to my home reservation and soon moved to a nearby reservation, the Spirit Lake Reservation in North Dakota. At that time, I served as the tribal truancy officer appearing in tribal court representing the Tate Topa (Four Winds) Tribal School. I went on to become the outreach counselor at Little Hoop Community College and was invited to teach. I taught Federal Indian Law two semesters. I knew that my path was calling me to return to my dream of becoming a lawyer.

In the midst of the Indian mascot controversy, I spent a tense three years at the University of North Dakota School of Law. During the summers, I clerked at the prestigious Indian law firm of Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse & Endreson in Washington, D.C. I accepted their offer my third year and joined on as an associate attorney. During my time at Sonosky, Chambers, my interest in tribal economic development blossomed. I never acclimated to D.C. and felt that my true calling involved teaching as well as the law. I had been accepted in a Ph.D. Educational Leadership program at UND and planned to return to begin it. In the interim, I accepted a position working with the UND Upward Bound program traveling to three reservation high schools and local schools in the Grand Forks area to encourage first generation low income high school students to attend college.

After a year and a half with Upward Bound, I reentered legal practice at the request of my Tribe, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate. Representing my Tribe and working as an associate at several Indian law firms over the years, I worked on various contracts involving Tribal Nations, state governments and agencies, federal governmental agencies, and private tribal clients conducting businesses. After several years, I followed the old dream to the University of Tulsa College of Law and attained my L.L.M. in American Indian and Indigenous Studies with Honors.

I am pleased to be a new member of the Hamline Law faculty and teaching a full year of Contracts Law to first year law students. The law of contracts is a fundamental building block for lawyers working in all areas of economic development, for those who will represent clients seeking to enter into commercial relationships with Tribal Nations, and for those who will be representing Tribal Nations and other tribal business clients.

[To have your profile featured in the weekly ContractsProf Spotlight or recommend someone to be featured, please email Meredith Miller]

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