UNM Students Receive State Bar Indian Law Scholarships

The Indian Law Section of the State Bar of New Mexico has awarded scholarships to Veronique Richardson (`11) and Selesia Winston (`11). Each student will receive financial assistance for preparation and taking the bar exam next year.

The students, both editors on the Tribal Law Journal, were selected based on their interest in Indian law, involvement in Indian communities and issues, academic achievement and financial need. They are both pursuing an Indian Law certificate.

Veronique RichardsonVeronique Richardson has long wanted to pursue a legal career with a goal to serve the larger Native community as well as her community at Laguna Pueblo. At the University of New Mexico School of Law, she has been involved in the Native American Law Students Association and the Women's Law Caucus. She also was a student liaison to the Indian Law Section of the State Bar, assisted the UNM School of Law's first Native American Pre-law Undergraduate Scholars Program (NA-PLUS) in summer 2010 and worked for the UNM Office for Equity and Inclusion, through which she was able to connect undergraduate, graduate and professional Native American students at UNM with Native American law students.

"Most of my experiences here have helped me understand that although it has been my ultimate goal to provide legal assistance to my tribe and other Natives alike in the many fields of law, it has also reminded me that I too am a part of this same larger community I wish to assist," she said.

Selesia WinstonSelesia Winston knew from an early age that she wanted to pursue a profession that would enable her to focus on improving conditions on the Navajo Reservation, where her family lives. By the end of her senior year at New Mexico State University, she was set on the Indian Law Program at the University of New Mexico School of Law. She was a teaching assistant and resident assistant at last summer's NA-PLUS program, where she mentored the undergraduate students who attended the program from around the country. She also helped plan the Fourth Annual Indian Clinical Symposium in summer 2009.

"As a Navajo woman, I feel it is my duty and obligation to give back to those in my native community, like my grandmother, who had sacrificed so much for me to succeed and obtain an education," she said.

The Indian Law Section of the State Bar established the scholarships three years ago to allow students the chance to concentrate on studying for the bar exam without financial worry.

November 10, 2010