2015 Winners

First Place:  Racheal White Hawk, A New Formula for Tribal Internet Gaming

Second Place:  Glennas'ba Augborne, The HEARTH Act: Implementing UN Indigenous Rights Norms to Reconcile the Limitations of Tribal Environmental Sovereignty

The Ross-Blakley Law Library at the Sandra O’Connor College of Law is pleased to announce the 2015 recipients of the Ross-Blakley Law Library Award for Exemplary Student Research

Racheal White Hawk is the first place award recipient for her paper, A New Formula for Tribal Internet Gaming and Glennas'ba Augborne earned second-place honors for her paper, The HEARTH Act: Implementing UN Indigenous Rights Norms to Reconcile the Limitations of Tribal Environmental Sovereignty. Their papers demonstrate sophistication and originality in the use of research materials, exceptional innovation in research strategy, and skillful synthesis of research results into a comprehensive scholarly analysis. 

A review panel comprised of librarians Victoria Trotta and Beth DiFelice and Clinical Professor Kimberly Holst selected the winners from the very competitive entries. In addition to receiving a monetary award, the winners are also invited to publish their papers in the Law Library’s digital scholarship repository, and to feature their papers in the Law Library Display Case.

For her paper White Hawk conducted extensive and thorough legal research in the obscure area of Tribal Internet Gaming.  In order to research this unique and fast-evolving area of the law, she had to access many diverse sources. Not only did she utilize more traditional sources such as case law, law review articles, law treatises, the United States Code, and non-fiction books, White Hawk also consulted non-traditional sources. She said, “One unique source in particular included a treaty between tribal nations within the United States. Although the treaty-making process between the U.S. and tribes ended in 1871, tribes are free to enter into treaties with each other as sovereign nations. The treaty is called the Tribal Internet Gaming Alliance Treaty and is an agreement between signatories to facilitate, offer, regulate and promote legal tribal Internet gaming.”  Other sources she used to write her award-winning paper included online newspaper articles, discussion drafts of proposed U.S. House and Senate bills, letters from the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) to tribal chairmen, hearings before the U.S. House and Senate, press releases, fact sheets, and advisory opinions by the Department of Justice and NIGC.  White Hawk said, “Overall, the process took 7 months to complete. I learned a great deal in the process of researching for this paper. I learned about the reliability of different sources. I also learned where to find certain legal resources and in particular how to better use websites such as HeinOnline and ProQuest Congressional to find sources.  And I utilized the very helpful Indian Law Portal on the ASU Law Library page. The portal condensed a number of incredibly useful Indian law sources into one page.“  White Hawk’s use of a variety of traditional and non-traditional research resources showcases her exceptional research skills.

Augborne began searching for a note topic in mid-July 2014 while spending the summer in Washington, D.C. While there, she was able to learn about many different topics relating to federal environmental law. An indication of Augborne’s exceptional research skills was her practice of consulting experts.   While in D.C., Augborne set up a meeting with Mr. Dean Suagee, chair of ABA’s Native American Resources Committee and editorial member of the ABA’s Natural Resources and Environment journal.  He informed her of the HEARTH Act’s environmental provisions. Then she began researching the Act generally.  Augborne said, “It was difficult because as such a new statute there has been little discussion of its implications and no publicly disputed cases on its new environmental regulations.” This led her to consult more experts including faculty members and research librarians for additional help.   Augborne also called the Department of the Interior’s HEARTH Act specialist to request copies of individual leasing regulations that she could not locate online or from various tribal offices.  Additionally, she located more sources from Turtle Talk blog article updates, past class readings, and presentations at the law school.  Augborne’s strategy of contacting experts and utilizing unique resources illustrates a well-thought-out and innovative approach to research.