Legal events


Pulitzer-prize winning author and journalist Elizabeth Kolbert will speak at two Valley events this week on the topic of climate change. (photo by Nicholas Whitman)

Pulitzer-prize winning author and journalist Elizabeth Kolbert will speak at two Valley events this week on the topic of climate change. (photo by Nicholas Whitman)

Extinction—and not of the legal profession—will be the topic of some important conversations this week.

Typically, I offer nonlegal items on Fridays, when Change of Venue requires a loosening of the tie and a gaze turned toward the weekend. But a few events this week lead me to shift the schedule a bit.

the_sixth_extinction_cover1-by-elizabeth-kolbertSpeaking at a few events, Pulitzer-prize winning author and journalist Elizabeth Kolbert will discuss humanity’s role in climate change, the history of cataclysm, and the future of our species. In her presentations, she will draw on one of her books, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.

The first of two related events occurs in downtown Phoenix at the Orpheum Theatre (203 W. Adams St.) on Wednesday, October 19, at 7 pm. There, as part of the “Origins Project Conversation: Inconvenient Truths,” Kolbert will have “an unscripted and candid conversation” with Arizona State University archaeologist Curtis Marean, Skeptic magazine publisher Michael Shermer, and ASU theoretical physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss.

Tickets for the Orpheum/Origins Project evening may be purchased here.

Then, at 7 pm on Thursday, October 20, 2016, Kolbert will speak again at the Tempe Center for the Arts (700 W Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe, AZ 85281). This is a free event, “as part of the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative, an interdisciplinary partnership between the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, the Center for Science and the Imagination and the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives that explores how imagination, storytelling and the arts can merge with scientific inquiry to shape humanity’s response to climate change and create global solutions for the future.”

A Q&A session will take place after the lecture, with a brief reception and book signing to follow. This event is open to the public and free.

You can RSVP to the Tempe/Piper Center event here.

And you can get more detail from the event’s Facebook page here.

eliabeth-kolbert-10-20-16-event

An upcoming State Bar of Arizona program explores the continued barriers to Native American electoral participation.

An upcoming State Bar of Arizona program explores the continued barriers to Native American electoral participation.

Still unsure what barriers prevent or dissuade Native American participation in the electoral process? As we head into election season, the barriers to exercising the franchise—and progress eradicating those barriers—will be addressed in a Phoenix program on Thursday, October 20.

Titled “Political Buy-In: A Look at the Barriers to (and) Participation of Native Americans in Tribal, State and Federal Elections,” organizers at the State Bar of Arizona describe it this way:

“This program will examine both the advances in Native American participation in all levels of elections and the continued barriers to effective participation in the election process. Participants can expect to gain a broad overview of how redistricting efforts, voter ID laws, and language barriers continue to marginalize Native Americans at the polls. The program will also look at possible changes to Native American participation at the federal level.”

A public radio program this week illustrates just how basic some of those barriers can be. In this story, journalist Carrie Jung spoke with Native Americans who face clear and existential obstacles to participating in elections.

Among those barriers are language challenges; traveling large distances, perhaps without a car; and even obtaining a voter ID when you have no formal address.

As Lori Riddle told Jung, “We’re used to giving directions out here by landmarks. There’s a tree. There’s two trees. There’s a big bush with purple flowers on it. [Poll workers have] tried to turn me away on a few occasions, even though they knew me.”

Among the topics to be discussed at the October 20 seminar are:

  • Voting Accessibility Act
  • Voter treatment in the polling places
  • Current lobbying trends in Native American Country
  • Implications of lack of early access voting for Native American voters
  • Constitutional guarantees

Panelists will be:

  • Heather Sibbison, Dentons LLP, Washington, DC
  • Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
  • James T. Tucker, Armstrong Teasdale LLP, Las Vegas, NV
  • Mary O’Grady, Osborn Maledon PA, Phoenix

The seminar chair will be Virjinya Torrez, Assistant Attorney General for the Tohono O’odham Nation.

You can register here.

If you’re wondering why all this still matters in 2016, Patty Ferguson-Bohnee breaks it down as she speaks to KJZZ’s Carrie Jung:

“We’re the first people of the United States. And when people face these roadblocks, sometimes they’re not empowered. And we want to empower people. We’re a democracy.”

Speaker photos are below (click to enlarge).

Yavapai County Courthouse (court website)

Yavapai County Courthouse (court website)

News from the Superior Court in Yavapai County:

Please join the Arizona Superior Court in Yavapai County for an open-house celebration of the 100th anniversary of the laying of the Yavapai County Courthouse cornerstone. This event will take place on Saturday, October 15, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Prescott Courthouse, 120 S. Cortez in Prescott.

Yavapai County Courthouse cornerstone

Yavapai County Courthouse cornerstone

We are extremely excited about the addition of an exhibit area on the first floor near the Law Library that will showcase historical items that were used in the courthouse through the last century. Along with exhibits, we will have historical photos displayed throughout the courthouse (images courtesy of the Sharlot Hall Museum) depicting the jewel of Yavapai County.

sharlot-hall-museum-logo

We will have docents onsite to share their knowledge and help guide you through the courthouse. We also will have folks dressed in period costumes to enhance your experience while celebrating this milestone.

A sample of photos by Matika Wilbur, via Project 562.

A sample of photos by Matika Wilbur, via Project 562.

If you’re fortunate enough to have today off for Indigenous People’s Day, I’ve got a suggestion for the best place to spend it: The Heard Museum in Phoenix, which has a series of events to commemorate the day.

Here is a list of the events, which begin at 12:30 p.m.

You may have heard that the Phoenix City Council voted that the city would celebrate Indigenous People’s Day. That makes it the largest U.S. city to celebrate the annual event.

As the news story reported:

The proposal to create Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Phoenix emerged in May, when residents Jeff Malkoon and Carlos Bravo submitted to the city an application for a historical commemoration.

“The city of Phoenix is built on what was the Hohokam civilization,” Malkoon told council members. “We just think this is a significant statement for a city like Phoenix, being such a center point in the Southwest.”

And this is part of a growing national trend, as CNN reports.

In what was a great preview of Monday’s Heard events, audience members at the Heard Sunday afternoon heard from two artists and two lawyers on the intersection of art, Indian identity and law. (I wrote about the event here.)

That gathering included insights from artists Matika Wilbur and Gregg Deal.

Deal’s film “The Last American Indian on Earth” was screened. It shows, in surprising and occasionally humorous ways, the complicated relationship mainstream American society has with Native culture.

Wearing a faux historic Indian costume (manufactured in China, for good measure), Deal strode about Washington DC. The reactions he got were troubling and laden with meaning.

As Deal says in the voiceover, “When you let the cameras roll, Americans, they don’t disappoint.”

As one hand-written sign he holds tells passersby, “My spirit animal is white guilt.”

L to R at the Heard Museum panel on Indian identity, art, and law, Oct. 9, 2016: Matika Wilbur, Kevin Gover, Gregg Deal, Brett Shelton.

L to R at the Heard Museum panel on Indian identity, art, and law, Oct. 9, 2016: Matika Wilbur, Kevin Gover, Gregg Deal, Brett Shelton.

Matika Wilbur then spoke, presenting her itinerant photo experience with Project 562, which aims to photograph citizens of each federally recognized tribe in the United States (there are now 566).

As she describes on her site:

“Most of the time, I’ve been invited to geographically remote reservations to take portraits and hear stories from a myriad of tribes, while at other times I’ve photographed members of the 70 percent of Native Americans living in urban settings. My hope is that when the project is complete, it will serve to educate the nation and shift the collective consciousness toward recognizing our own indigenous communities.”

A longtime educator from Seattle, Wilbur asked, “When are we going to stop asking our children to choose between cultural education and Western education?”

Wilbur also spoke about how Indian identity is “inextricably connected to the land.” Discussing the sensation known as solastalgia—separation from home—she wondered how the Cocopah, for instance, known as the people of the blue-green water, could be Cocopah if access to that water is denied or destroyed.

In the subsequent panel discussion, attorney Kevin Gover addressed that issue and the way violations have been visited on Native peoples by the American legal system. For example, in Fletcher v. Peck (1810), the U.S. Supreme Court determined that Indian title to land was not true title, as Indians were itinerant hunters and had never been farmers—an absolute misstatement of the facts. But it was decisions like that which provided the veneer of law to unjust decisions.

In fact, Gover pointed out, the most famous Native-land-title cases were collusive ones, manufactured conflicts presented by land speculators to prod a desired outcome from a compliant Court. To America’s enduring shame, the Court proved a willing co-conspirator in the effort.

The American legal system, Gover said, “played a huge role in the removal and dispossession of Native peoples.”

Through their art, Matika Wilbur and Gregg Deal explore America’s complicated relationship with Native peoples. As a teacher, Wilbur reminded the audience that these mainstream viewpoints are learned ones, and that the dominant Western view of Indians helps shield society from honest appraisals.

To illustrate that, she showed search results in Google images from searches for the simple terms “African American,” “Asian American,” “Hispanic American,” and, finally, “Native American.”

Among all of those searches, the Native American search was the only one that yielded an almost uniform view of Indians as historic beings—and actually as faux historic beings. Nearly every image reconfirms the popular image of Indians as conceptualized 150 years ago.

Google image search results for "Native American," Oct. 9, 2016.

Google image search results for “Native American,” Oct. 9, 2016.

Where are the modern Indians who live among us, Wilbur asked.

They are all about us, Wilbur and Deal said. If people are willing to see.

Again, here are today’s Heard Museum events.

Google image search results for "Asian American," Oct. 9, 2016.

Google image search results for “Asian American,” Oct. 9, 2016.

Google image search results for "African American," Oct. 9, 2016.

Google image search results for “African American,” Oct. 9, 2016.

Google image search results for "Hispanic American," Oct. 9, 2016.

Google image search results for “Hispanic American,” Oct. 9, 2016.

 

Among the elements of a Heard Museum dialogue will be the screening of a short documentary about Gregg Deal and his performance piece 'The Last American Indian on Earth.'

Among the elements of a Heard Museum dialogue will be the screening of a short documentary about Gregg Deal and his performance piece ‘The Last American Indian on Earth.’

This Sunday, October 9, the Heard Museum in Phoenix hosts an event that examines important intersections. “A Conversation at the Intersection of Art, Law and Indian Identity” will include a panel discussion of attorneys and American Indian artists. Some of the questions addressed will be, How does an artist’s vision implicate such identity? And what are the consequences, both legally and in the wider community?

For the event, the Heard is partnering with the Native American Rights Fund and the Indian Legal Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

Admission is free, but RSVP here is required. A reception begins at 3:30 p.m., and the program begins at 4 p.m.

Kevin Gover will moderate the panel discussion. He is the director of the National Museum of the American Indian.

Panelists will include:

  • Brett Shelton (Oglala Sioux Tribe), artist and staff attorney with the Native American Rights Fund
  • Gregg Deal (Pyramid Lake Paiute), contemporary artist/activist
  • Matika Wilbur (Swinomish/Tulalip), artist and social documentarian in Indian Country. She is founder of Project 562 which explores Native identity and experience through a dedication to photographing contemporary Native America.

Organizers say:

“The program will include the screening of a short documentary The Last American Indian On Earth, about contemporary artist Gregg Deal’s first performance piece ‘The Last American Indian On Earth’ (TLAIOE), a piece he carried for a year. TLAIOE explores the romantic, misunderstood and often racist interactions average Americans have when encountering an Indigenous person. The performance allows Deal to explore this strange American interaction, the problems with it and the critical thinking that goes in to asserting identity and enacting change.”

For more background, here is a great video with Gregg Deal speaking in Washington DC. (at Creative Mornings in July 2014):

More information including a link to the free tickets is on the event’s Facebook page.

heard-museum-event-on-art-law-and-indian-identity

Law firms under cyberattack is one of the topics we cover in the October Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Law firms under cyberattack is one of the topics we cover in the October Arizona Attorney Magazine.

How safe is your data? And the data held by you in care of your clients?

In the October issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, Andres Hernandez asks that question. The evidence regarding law firms suggests the answer may be a distressful “Not very.”

The article explores some in-the-news law firm hacks we’ve read about. He then offers some suggestions to keep your own data safe.

The opening page of Andres Hernandez' article on cyberattacks, Oct. 2016.

The opening page of Andres Hernandez’ article on cyberattacks, Oct. 2016.

Meantime, just today I came across the Arizona Republic headline “Banner Health’s summer data hack triggers 10 civil lawsuits.”

The lawsuit you avoid could be your own.

If you have your own story of law-firm success in crafting ways to protect data in the digital age, write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

banner-health-cyber-attacks-lead-to-10-civil-lawsuits.jpg

Banner Health cyberattacks lead to 10 civil lawsuits

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorIn case you missed it, here is news about important changes to Rule 32, the Arizona Supreme Court rule that establishes and defines the State Bar. The changes were proposed by the Task Force on the Review of the Role and Governance Structure of the State Bar of Arizona, led by former Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch. The task force was created in 2014 (see the Order).

As the State Bar reports,

“The State Bar of Arizona’s consumer protection role has been enhanced thanks to a revised rule from the Arizona Supreme Court. The changes to Rule 32 … add language that refines the organization’s mission. While the State Bar has always focused its efforts on protecting the public, that language is now in the rule. The updated wording says, ‘The State Bar of Arizona exists to serve and protect the public with respect to the provision of legal services and access to justice.’”

Arizona_Supreme_Court_SealOther changes affect the Board of Governors and the Board of Legal Specialization, among other things.

You can read about the changes here.

And the full rule change is here.

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