Legal Pro Bono for Karuk Tribe - Trip to Karuk Country
Help support a group of Berkeley Law students in their efforts to provide effective legal assistance to the Karuk Tribe. We operate as a student-led pro bono clinic and work on issues ranging from the Endangered Species Act to protecting the Karuk Tribe's cultural property.
Awareness of the complicated struggles that many Native American tribes face is typically not at the forefront of Berkeley students’ minds. The legal issues tribes face are very complex and touch on a wide variety of topics, which allows student legal assistance to both help the Tribe and provide valuable learning opportunities for the students. As a response to this great need and opportunity, a group of students at Berkeley Law formed a legal team entitled the Karuk-Berkeley Collaborative (KBC Legal). This student-led clinic contributes to the Karuk Tribe’s ongoing efforts to preserve natural and cultural resources and resolve other legal issues. The Karuk Tribe is a federally-recognized Indian Tribe located along the Klamath and Salmon Rivers in Northern California. Our organization obtains legal work from our supervisor Ms. Fatima Abbas, a Berkeley Law alum and the Chief Legal Officer for the Karuk Tribe. Through our work and events, we build core clinical skills in legal research and writing, client representation, professional conduct, and teamwork while raising awareness of Federal Indian law, environmental, and cultural property issues among Berkeley Law students.
Please make a gift to help this year’s Karuk Country trip happen for all of our students!
Our students spend the first three quarters of the year communicating with our clients in the Tribe long-distance, while preparing memos, briefs, and other materials the Tribe needs from us. Unfortunately, telephone and email correspondence do not permit us to sufficiently accomplish our task of effectively aiding the Tribe with its numerous legal issues. For the past five years, the Karuk-Berkeley Collaborative has spent 3-4 days in Karuk Country to gather information and perspectives that are not obtained from a distance.
During last year’s trip, members of KBC Legal conducted several meetings with our supervising attorney and general counsel to the Karuk Tribe to present our work, strategized with tribal staff and leaders about future projects, and attended a traditional basket weaving event where we met Karuk tribal members and weavers from other nearby communities. Past trips have also included presentations to the full Karuk Tribal Council.
In addition to allowing our group to fully address the Tribe’s legal problems, the trip to Karuk Country also allows our organization to achieve its second goal of spreading awareness of tribal issues. While our members can read about the cultural traditions or natural resources they are working to preserve, the ability to visit the Tribe’s ancestral homeland and speak with tribal members directly is essential to fully understanding the Tribe’s legal issues. The Karuk-Berkeley Collaborative has obtained funding for this trip to Karuk Country for the past five years and many students, including myself, found this trip to be the favorite part of their first year of law school. This trip leaves a lasting imprint in members’ minds. Our organization discusses our personal impressions from the trip publicly at various events throughout the year to spread awareness of the legal issues facing the Karuk Tribe to the greater Berkeley community.
The evidence of the strong, positive impact our organization has on members’ legal education is also reflected in the increase in leadership numbers we obtain every year, which allows us to take on even more legal research and writing projects for the Tribe. Our organization is continually growing as other students learn about the valuable legal experience the organization provides in a student’s first year of law school, and the importance their legal service provides to a tribe with only one full time attorney. However, with this growth comes a need for more funding to ensure our entire group can continue to visit our clients face-to-face each year and accomplish our organization’s goals. We urge donors to support an organization working to protect both the natural resources of Northern California and the cultural resources of the Karuk Tribe by supporting our annual trip to Karuk Country.
All of the funds donated will be spent 100% on the trip to Karuk Country. These funds will support lodging expenses at local cabins and part of our food expenses.
Make your gift today and help us spread the word by sharing this page. Thank you in advance for your support. If you have further questions, please reach out to Shelby Culver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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