Revitalizing Indigenous Peacemaking

When: Wednesday, March 17, 2020; 4:30 - 6 pm EST

Guest: Brett Lee Shelton (Oglala Sioux Tribe) and Cheryl Demmert Fairbanks (Tlingit-Tsimpshian)

Host: Dr. Johonna Turner Guest Co-Host: Tala Bautista

Historically, Native American communities had methods for dealing with disputes. Peacemaking continues to evolve and takes many forms as each tribe or community establishes and develops a program that is true to its cultural beliefs. The Indigenous Peacemaking Initiative (IPI) contributes to the continuation or revitalization of these traditional ways. This webinar features two renown national leaders of the Indigenous Peacemaking Initiative -- staff attorney, Brett Lee Shelton (Oglala Sioux Tribe) and advisory committee member Cheryl Demmert Fairbanks (Tlingit-Tsimpshian). Together, they will share about IPI's work to support Native peoples in restoring sustainable peacemaking practices through digital archives, training, advocacy, and technical assistance. This webinar will also deepen understanding of the differences and continuities between indigenous peacemaking and restorative justice.

Guest Bios

Brett Lee SheltonBrett Lee Shelton is a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and also has Itazipco Lakota and Cheyenne ancestors. His work at the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) focuses on the Indigenous Peacemaking Initiative, Boarding Schools, and Sacred Places.

Brett has extensive experience representing and advising tribal governments, agencies, and enterprises in general governmental, health and human services, employment, natural resources, construction, and economic and business development matters, as well as contributing legal advice and litigation support for various private individuals, businesses, and development initiatives.

Brett previously worked at NARF as a research attorney, and was a Summer Clerk during law school. He has also worked as a policy analyst for the National Indian Health Board, as a grassroots organizer for international indigenous peoples in biotechnology evaluation, and assisting domestic violence victims in civil court for a nonprofit based on his home Reservation, the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and Nebraska.

He received his law degree from Stanford University, and a Master of Arts from the University of Kansas. While at Stanford Law School, he was honored by the Foundation of the State Bar of California with an Exceptional Merit Award for Public Service Leadership, and he received the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Award and Scholarship, the John Milton Oskison award for best graduate student paper, and was named Indian Graduate Student of the Year. He is currently licensed to practice law in various courts including California, Colorado, South Dakota, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, as well as several United States courts.

Cheryl FairbanksCheryl Demmert Fairbanks, Esq. works in the area of Indian law as an attorney and tribal court of appeals justice. Currently she is the Interim Executive Director of the UNM Native American Budget and Policy Institute. She recently was in Oregon serving as the Walter R. Echo-Hawk Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Lewis and Clark; and also she was a visiting Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico’s Southwest Indian Law Clinic.  Formerly a Partner at Cuddy McCarthy LLP, she had a general practice in Indian law, including tribal-state relations, personnel, tribal courts, peacemaking and family conferencing, mediation, family, school, education, and indigenous law.

Also, Ms. Fairbanks was a partner with the law firm of Roth, VanAmberg, Rogers, Ortiz, Fairbanks & Yepa, LLP, where she specialized in Indian law. She also worked as senior policy analyst with the New Mexico Office of Indian Affairs in the area of state-tribal relations. There, she was instrumental in establishing the Indian Child Welfare Desk, New Mexico Office of Indian Tourism, the University of New Mexico Indian Law Clinic, and the passage of the New Mexico Indian Arts and Crafts Act.

Ms. Fairbanks is Tlingit-Tsimshian and was born in Ketchikan, Alaska. She obtained her BA from Fort Lewis College in 1969 and her JD in 1987 from the University of New Mexico. Prior to her law career, she served as a teacher for the Albuquerque Public Schools, Zia Day School, and Administrator for Acomita Day School and the Albuquerque/Santa Fe Indian Schools.