Meet the Professors
Kristen Carpenter is the Council Tree Professor of Law at the University of Colorado Law School. Professor Carpenter also serves on the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as its member from North America. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School.
At Colorado Law, Professor Carpenter teaches and writes in the areas of Property, Cultural Property, American Indian Law, and Indigenous Peoples in International Law. She has published several books and legal treatises on these topics, and her articles appear in leading law reviews. Professor Carpenter has been awarded the Provost's Award for Faculty Achievement and the Outstanding New Faculty Award. She served as a director of the American Indian Law Program from 2012-2014, and as Associate Dean for Faculty Development from 2011-2013. In 2016 she was appointed as the Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.
Before entering academia, Carpenter clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit and was an associate attorney at Hill & Barlow, P.C. in Boston. She gained experience in Indian law as a clerk for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and at the law firms of Fredericks, Pelcyger, Hester & White and Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Miller & Munson. Professor Carpenter is a member of the American Law Institute, and serves on the Board of the Federal Bar Association's Indian Law Section.
John B. Carter is senior staff attorney for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. He has represented the CSKT for over 34 years, primarily in the areas of treaty rights, water rights, jurisdictional disputes and intergovernmental cooperation. He has litigated these issues extensively from trial level to the Tribal, State and United States Supreme Courts. He is one of the principle negotiators of the CSKT/Montana water rights compact, approved by the Montana Legislature in 2015 and now working its way to Congress and the Montana Water Court. In his prior life he was a geologist in Alaska. His degrees are from the University of Montana.
Kathryn E. Fort
Director, Indian Law Clinic and Adjunct Professor
Michigan State University College of Law
Kathryn (Kate) E. Fort is the Staff Attorney for the Indigenous Law and Policy Center at Michigan State University College of Law. She joined the Center in 2005 as the Indigenous Law Fellow. In 2015, she started the Indian Child Welfare Act Appellate Project, which assists tribes in ICWA cases across the country. In her role with the Center she teaches the Indian Law Clinic class and traditional classes in federal Indian law, researches and writes on behalf of Center clients, and manages administrative aspects of the Center. Ms. Fort has written articles on laches and land claims, and has researched and written extensively on the Indian Child Welfare Act. She co-edited Facing the Future: The Indian Child Welfare Act at 30 with Wenona T. Singel and Matthew L.M. Fletcher (Michigan State University Press 2009). She is currently writing the casebook American Indian Children and the Law, and co-edits the popular and influential Indian law blog, TurtleTalk.
Ms. Fort graduated magna cum laude in from Michigan State University College of Law with the Certificate in Indigenous Law, and is licensed to practice law in Michigan. She received her B.A. in History with honors from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.
David is Director of the Office of Compliance (OC), in the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC. The Office of Compliance is responsible for strategic planning and measurement, information system development and management, electronic reporting, public transparency, state program oversight, regulatory development, compliance monitoring, advanced monitoring, and compliance assistance.
Prior to assuming this position, David was Senior Policy Director for Innovation and Next Generation Compliance. In that position, he led the development and implementation of Agency’s Next Generation Compliance initiative, which seeks to reduce pollution using better rule and permit design, advanced monitoring, electronic reporting, expanded transparency and innovative enforcement.
David has held a variety of leadership positions in the EPA enforcement program and in the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program. He was an early proponent of electronic reporting in the Agency, initiating the development of electronic reporting tools to help regulated entities submit their wastewater (DMRs) and toxic chemical release inventory (TRI) reports.
David has published papers on supplemental environmental projects, the changing paradigm for air pollution monitoring, advanced monitoring challenges and opportunities, compliance monitoring, and how to design more effective rules and permits. He has a BS from the University of Michigan, an MS in psychology from Arizona State University and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. In Fall 2017, he co-taught a graduate course on Designing More Effective Government Regulations at George Washington University.
Since joining NARF’s Anchorage office in March 2013, Matt works in the areas of the Indian Child Welfare Act, tribal court jurisdiction, voting rights, as well as tribal natural resources and subsistence.
Matt grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska and graduated cum laude from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a B.A. in Political Science. He received his J.D. from the University of Montana School of Law in 2012. During law school, Matt was an officer in the Native American Law Student Association (NALSA) branch and the Managing Editor for the Public Land and Resources Law Review. At graduation, he received the Eddie McClure Service Award from Indian Law Section of the Montana State Bar for his work as a student attorney for the Indian Law Clinic. Matt clerked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Helena, Montana, where he worked on Major Crimes Act prosecutions pending before Montana federal District Courts and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
After law school, Matt served as a law clerk for Superior Court Judge Carl J.D. Bauman in Kenai, Alaska before joining NARF as a staff attorney.
Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie
Professor of Law
University of Hawai'i at Manoa, William S. Richardson School of Law
After receiving her law degree, Professor MacKenzie served as a law clerk to Chief Justice William S. Richardson of the Hawai'i Supreme Court. In 1980, she joined the staff of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC), a public interest law firm protecting and advancing the rights of Native Hawaiians. She served as NHLC's Executive Director from 1982-1986 and as a senior staff attorney from 1986-1992. From 1992-1999, she was the Executive Director of the Hawaiian Claims Office, a state program established to review and make recommendations on claims by Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries.
Professor MacKenzie has worked on cases asserting Hawaiian traditional and customary rights, dealing with land issues, and defending the constitutionality of Hawaiian programs. She currently teaches Native Hawaiian Rights, Federal Indian Law, the Second Year Seminar legal writing course, and specific topics courses in Native Hawaiian law. Prof. MacKenzie is the immediate past president of the Native Hawaiian Bar Association, which she helped to establish in 1992. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Hika'alani, a Native Hawaiian cultural and educational organization. In Fall 2017, Prof. MacKenzie served as Acting Dean of the Law School.
Professor MacKenzie is Editor-in-Chief of Native Hawaiian Law: A Treatise (2015), the definitive resource for understanding critical legal issues affecting the Native Hawaiian community. She is also a contributing author to the latest edition of Felix S. Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian Law.
Adjunct Professor of Law and Co-Director, Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic
Alexander Blewett III School of Law, University of Montana
Professor Smith has been Clinical Supervisor and Director of the Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic for many years. She teaches Federal Courts and, during the summer session, Indian Child Welfare Act as part of the University’s Summer Indian Law Program. Working under her guidance, law student interns in the Indian Law Clinic assist tribal governments and organizations dealing with Indian law issues. Activities include: drafting model codes; working on civil rights cases; practicing in tribal court; mediations; training on Indian law issues; and natural resource issues as well.
Professor Smith's previous service as Chief Judge of the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Court, as Appellate Judge of the Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals, as well as her experience as legal counsel for the Salish & Kootenai Tribal Court, benefit not only the tribes served by the Indian Law Clinic, but also the law students enrolled in the clinical program.
Stacy Gordon Sterling
Professor of Law, Director of the Jameson Law Library
Alexander Blewett III School of Law, University of Montana
Professor Sterling is the Director of the Jameson Law Library. She teaches several courses: Legal Research, Advanced Legal Research, Environmental Law Research, Indian Law Research and Animal Law. Professor Gordon is a frequent CLE presenter on legal research and animal law topics. She writes in the area of animal law and is the advisor of the law school’s chapter of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. She is also the Director of the First-Year Law Firm Program.
Professor Gordon is a graduate of Eastern Washington University, the University of Washington School of Library and Information Science, and The University of Montana School of Law, where she was a member of the Jessup International Moot Court team and served as business editor of the Public Lands and Resources Law Review. Before coming to the University of Montana, she was the Library Director at Salish Kootenai College.
In addition to her work in the law school, Professor Gordon serves as the Secretary of the Board of the Humane Society of Western Montana and Chair of the HSWM Legislative and Advocacy Committee. Her pro bono and volunteer work focuses on consulting on animal law issues. She is also a HOPE foster parent for the Humane Society of Western Montana and always has a house full of animals in need of permanent homes.