June 01, 2022

Winners Announced in 21st National NALSA Writing Competition

Two papers explored sovereignty in association with the COVID-19 pandemic; a third paper explored solutions to Tulsa’s post-McGirt white-collar crime.


Students submitted a strong field of entries for the National NALSA (NNALSA) Writing Competition. Focused on the year’s theme of “Innovation in Indigenous Sovereignty and Independence,” the contest continues to yield timely work. Submission requirements specified scholarly articles between 20 and 50 pages in length, written individually or jointly by law students, examining Native American legal issues.

Anela Summers, University of Washington, placed first for Sovereign Safety Measures: Applying the Second Montana Exception to Fight COVID-19 and Strengthen Tribal Sovereignty. In addition to receiving $750 for her winning submission, Summers’ paper will be published in a forthcoming issue of the nationally-ranked Lewis & Clark Law Review.

Mitchell Forbes, University of Michigan, placed second for Beyond Indian Country: The Sovereign Powers of Alaskan Tribes Without Reservations and will receive $500 for his winning paper. Nicholas Stamates, also at University of Michigan, placed third for The aftermath of McGirt: Problems & Possible Solutions Relating to White Collar Crime in the City of Tulsa and will receive $250 for his winning paper.

One of the judges, Dr. Carma Corcoran, director of the Indian Law program at Lewis & Clark Law School, commented on the papers. “The winning papers for the 2022 National NALSA Writing Competition addressed both contemporary issues prevalent in Indian Country as well as long standing issues such as the case of Montana v United States. These up and coming legal scholars are important to the legal knowledge and practice of Indian Law.”

The NNALSA Writing Competitions historically produce outstanding work in multiple areas, including water law and water rights adjudication, mining and extractive industries, natural resource statutory codes, environmental conservation, Federal environmental policy, and tribal natural resource management.

Dr. Corcoran noted that Lewis & Clark Law was honored to host the competition this year. She also acknowledged the generous support from the members of the Indian Law Chapter of the Oregon State Bar in recognizing student accomplishment in Indian Law—and rewarding that effort.

To read the winning papers, please click here: National Native American Law Students Association Announcement