The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria has established the Graton Scholarship, which provides a three-year, full tuition scholarship to students interested in pursuing legal careers in Native American law. The Graton scholars will also receive $10,000 a year to defray living expenses in addition to tuition.
The selected Graton Scholars will become part of a thriving network of students, professors, alumni, and legal professionals working on the cutting edge of the fields of tribal law, federal Indian law, and international Indigenous rights. For fall 2023 admission, the application deadline is February 1. To apply, candidates should express their interest in the scholarship by including a maximum 1000-word addendum with their application for admission, setting forth their record of personal or academic commitment to advocating on behalf of Native Nations, as well as further explicating their career aspirations in the field. The UCLA Law Admissions office may also identify applicants through the Admissions process who would be ideal candidates for the Graton Scholarship and invite them to apply.
The Graton Scholarships will be merit-based and awarded annually to incoming students who have demonstrated an interest in and an aptitude for Native American law, as well as a record demonstrating a commitment to tribal communities, public service, and leadership in Indigenous rights.
In addition to receiving financial support, Graton Scholars will have access to UCLA School of Law's vast resources and expertise in this field. The Native Nations Law and Policy Center, founded by Professor Emerita Carole E. Goldberg, and directed by Professor Angela R. Riley, provides an intellectual hub for numerous programs and opportunities related to Indigenous rights. Graton Scholars will have the opportunity to work directly for Native Nations through the Tribal Legal Development Clinic, funded with a generous gift from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, which is under the direction of Lauren Van Schilfgaarde. Recent clinic projects have included drafting tribal codes, working on cultural resource protection with the Native American Heritage Commission, and providing judicial clerkship support to the Ho-Chunk Nation Supreme Court, among many others.
The Native Nations Law and Policy Center also offers a joint degree program in Law and American Indian Studies and maintains a close relationship with a vast campus-wide community of scholars and students with academic and cultural commitments to Native communities, such as the American Indian Studies Center, American Indian Studies Inter-departmental Program, and Fowler Museum, among others. UCLA Law is home to a thriving Native American Law Students Association (NALSA), which is a national leader in student advocacy and support. NALSA membership provides access to participation in events such as the National NALSA Moot Court Competition and the National Native American Bar Association, among others.
In the spirit of the scholarship, Graton Scholars will be expected to take an active role in the school's Native American law activities and programs, and to help mentor and coach their successors, as second and third year students and thereafter, when they have graduated and embarked on their careers in the field.
The scholarship is named for the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, which established the Graton Scholarship in 2020 with a transformative $15 million gift, the largest of its kind ever given from a Native Nation to an American law school.
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