Sophie Staires is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a rising third year law student at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, where she is working toward an Indian Law Certificate. She has a bachelor’s degree in the Humanities, with an emphasis in Religious Studies, from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a master’s degree in the Humanities from Hood College in Maryland.

Sophie wrote her master’s thesis on criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country and sexual violence toward Native women, focusing on the ways that our laws reflect and perpetuate the ideologies of colonization. After finishing her master’s degree, Sophie decided to go to law school to learn about federal Indian law with a more practical, hands-on approach, rather than a strictly academic one.

Sophie has spent the past year working for the prosecutor’s office at the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and as a subcontractor for the DOI tracking proposed changes to the fee-to-trust regulatory process. She is thrilled to be serving as a law clerk at the NARF Anchorage office, where she hopes to gain a more thorough understanding of the unique issues faced by Alaska Native peoples.

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