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2nd Annual Anishinaabe Law Conference

2nd Annual Anishinaabe Law Conference

June 23 @ 1:00 pm - June 24 @ 6:30 pm

A community gathering to continue the process of reclaiming our traditional laws and systems featuring Chairman Michael Fairbanks, Dr. Darren Ranco, Steve Newcomb, Dr. Aimee Craft, Judge Korey Wahwassuck and the Tribal Law and Policy Institute.

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Hosted by the Niibi Center



Sunday June 23, 2023

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 Welcome and Opening Prayer

  • Joe LaGarde, Executive Director, Niibi Center
  • Prayer and Drum

2:30 White Earth Tribal Representative Eugene Summers

3:00 Keynote: Frank Bibeau, White Earth Tribal Attorney – Director, Tribal Rights of Nature Program at Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights (CDER)

4:00 BREAK

4:15 Tribal Law and Policy Institute (TLPI) Judges Panel – Facilitated by Judge Korey Wahwassuck

  • Judge Abby Abinanti, currently serving as Chief Judge of the Yurok Tribal Court, Abby Abinanti was the first Native American woman to be admitted to the State Bar of California and is the first Native American woman to serve as a judicial officer in the state of California. Judge Abinanti has served as a judge in the tribal court since 1997 and has held the title of Chief Judge since 2007. Additionally, she has served as a commissioner for the San Francisco Superior Court.


  • Judge Megan Treuer, joined the bench at Leech Lake in 2013 and since has performed judicial duties there as well as Bois Forte Tribal Court (where she served as Chief Judge), Fond du Lac Tribal Court, Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Court and White Earth Tribal Court. Judge Treuer is admitted to the Minnesota bar and is a career-long member of the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association.


  • Stephanie Autumn serves as the director of the Tribal Youth Resource Center at the Tribal Law and Policy Institute and is a senior technical assistance consultant at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). Autumn’s expertise includes developing culturally competent strategic planning tools and training for American Indian/Alaska Native tribes. She has directed national projects on American Indian juvenile domestic assault, restorative justice, pre-and post-release services for AI offenders, tribal mentoring, and truancy.

5:30 Dinner and Q&A with Speakers


Monday June 24, 2023

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 Welcome and Address by White Earth Chairman Michael Fairbanks

Updates on local land back initiatives on White Earth and the surrounding area

10:00 Keynote: Steve Newcomb – Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery

10:30 Break

10:45 Keynote: Dr. Darren Ranco on Rematriation and Landback Efforts in the Penobscot Nation and Beyond.

11:45 Facilitated Q & A

12:15 Lunch Break

1:15 Keynote: Dr. Aimee Craft

Water Sovereignty and Nature Guardians in Canada (working title)

  • Aimée Craft is an Associate Professor at the Faculty Law, University of Ottawa. She is a lawyer from Treaty One territory in Manitoba and is of mixed Indigenous (Anishinaabe-Métis) and settler ancestry. She holds a University Research Chair Nibi miinawaa aki inaakonigewin: Indigenous governance in relationship with land and water. Craft is an internationally recognized academic leader in the area of Indigenous laws, treaties and water.

2:15 Keynote Speaker from Tribal Law and Policy Institute

  • Judge Korey Wahwassuck (Cree) serves as a Minnesota District Court Judge for the Ninth Judicial District. Judge Wahwassuck previously served as tribal court judge for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Tribal Court, was a founding member of the first Joint Tribal-State Jurisdiction Wellness Courts in the nation and authored “The New Face of Justice: Joint Tribal-State Jurisdiction” for the Washburn Law Journal and “Building a Legacy of Hope: Perspectives on Joint Tribal-State Jurisdiction” for the William Mitchell Law Review. Judge Wahwassuck is also a member of Project T.E.A.M. (“Together Everyone Achieves More,”) helping other jurisdictions create tribal-state collaborative courts of their own.

3:15 Facilitated Q & A and Breakout session

4:00 Break

4:15 Summation and final comments

4:45 Closing Prayer

5:00 Dinner