Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community President Delbert Ray, Sr. addresses the crowd during his welcome remarks to kick-start the 40th Annual Indian Law Conference at the Talking Stick Resort on April 9.

Indian Law Conference Celebrates 40 years of Tribal Sovereignty 

By Sheila Begay
Au-Authm Action News

This year, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community hosted the Federal Bar Association’s 40th Annual Indian Law Conference at the Talking Stick Resort on April 9 and 10. Legal practitioners, judges, government representatives and tribal leaders gathered to discuss governance issues and possible opportunities for Indian Country.

This year’s conference theme was “40 Years Strong: The Indian Self-Determination Era Strengthening Tribal Sovereignty.” Within the last four decades, the relationship between tribal nations and the United States has evolved, bringing significant change and opportunity.

The conference featured various topics and breakout sessions. This year, tribal and government representatives covered Indigenous rights, economic diversification and entrepreneurship, Indian law, tribal courts, climate change, tribal sovereign immunity and more.

Representatives from the SRPMIC who participated in the conference included President Delbert Ray, Sr. (welcome address), Council Member Ricardo Leonard (song and luncheon prayer), the Salt River Police Department Honor Guard (posting of the colors) and former President Diane Enos (a panelist for the presentation “Advancing Indian Self-Determination and Indigenous Rights”).

“I welcome you to the land of the O’odham and Xalychidom Piipaash,” said Ray in his welcoming remarks. Ray briefly pointed out his concerns and also encouraged those in Indian law to keep fighting for their people, their land and their sovereignty. He also weaved his past experiences as a chief judge for the SRPMIC into his remarks.

Ray elaborated on Senate Bill 1393, which was signed into law by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. “Senate Bill 1393 makes it easier for tribal natives to be able to get a birth certificate. [This] has always been a problem, but this bill being signed into law [will be more beneficial for tribal nations],” said Ray. (See sidebar for more on Senate Bill 1393.)

For more information about the 40th Annual Indian Law Conference, visit

Obtain Your Birth Certificate, Thanks to S. 1393
If you are a Native American born before 1970, particularly born at home and in a rural area, until now it has likely been very difficult to receive a delayed birth certificate because the process involved seven separate forms of identification and traveling to Phoenix. But now a new Arizona law makes it easier. Senate Bill 1393, recently passed and signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey, requires only official tribal enrollment showing your name, your parents’ names, and your date and location of birth, along with one supporting document. You are encouraged to reapply for a delayed birth certificate if you have been denied in the past.

Fees as of July 1, 2011
Birth Certificate, $20.00
Delayed Birth Certificate, $20.00
Amendment/Correction, $30.00

Apply in person:
Maricopa County Office of
Vital Records
1818 W. Adams
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Apply by mail:
P.O. Box 3887
Phoenix, AZ 85030

(602) 364-1300 or
(888) 816-5907



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