UCLA School of Law has received a gift of $4.265 million from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. This generous contribution creates two chairs in Native American law that are endowed in the honor of, respectively, Distinguished Professor Carole Goldberg and Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria Tribal Chairman Greg Sarris. The chairs will recruit, retain, and support faculty members of the highest professional caliber, who will advance the study and practice of tribal law. Chair holders will have demonstrated academic excellence in Native American law and a substantial commitment to mentoring Native American students.
The donation follows the tribe’s landmark 2020 gift of $15 million to UCLA Law, which was the largest-ever contribution that a tribe has made to a law school and one of the biggest in history from a tribe to a university. Those funds created scholarships for Native American and other students interested in pursuing careers as tribal legal advocates, and the first cohort of Graton Scholars joined UCLA Law last year.
“The promotion of Native Nations and the continuation of our work as the leading institution for Native American law and policy are central to our mission of education, research, and public service at UCLA Law, and we could not be more thankful for the sustained generosity of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria,” says Russell Korobkin, interim dean of UCLA Law. “During the past year, the Graton Scholars have quickly emerged as tremendously valued members of our law school, and thanks to this visionary donation, our community will grow to include more faculty members committed to the rights of Native Americans.”
“The establishment of these two important chairs reflects our tribe’s commitment to supporting and defending the legal standing and rights of Native Nations. This gift enshrines UCLA Law’s commitment to advancing the rights of Native American people and to help ensure that Native American law remains a central priority for the school,” says Greg Sarris, tribal chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.
A member of the UCLA Law faculty since 1972, Goldberg is the nation’s preeminent scholar in Indian law, the Jonathan D. Varat Distinguished Professor of Law Emerita, and the founding director of UCLA’s joint degree program in law and American Indian studies. Sarris received his undergraduate degree from UCLA and returned to the university to teach English for more than a decade. An acclaimed author of several books and leader, he has been chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria since 1992.
Largely under Goldberg’s direction, UCLA Law has been a broadly recognized leader in Indian law and policy for more than half a century, with professors and students who work at the forefront of scholarship and advocacy regarding Native Nations. UCLA Law is home to the field’s top students, clinical instructors, and faculty members, including Angela Riley, of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and Lauren van Schilfgaarde, of the Cochiti Pueblo. Together and through the renowned Native Nations Law and Policy Center, they engage in a wide array of research projects, educational offerings, and programs in Native American law.