University of Arizona Law alumnus Alfred Urbina earns victims advocacy award

Aislinn Rioux, Gertrude Heavy Runner, Alfred Urbina, and George Heavy Runner (left to right)

Arizona Law Alumnus Honored for Tribal Advocacy

Alfred Urbina Receives Bonnie Heavy Runner Victims Advocacy Award

Justin Boro

Alfred Urbina (‘08), attorney general of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, was awarded the Bonnie Heavy Runner Victims Advocacy Award on Dec. 9 at the 15th National Indian Nations Conference in Palm Springs, California, The award was given in recognition of his work to increase access to justice for members of the Pascua Yaqui community. Urbina is a graduate of University of Arizona Law’s Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy (IPLP) Program, an enrolled member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and veteran of the United States Army.

Urbina has worked diligently with Pascua Yaqui tribal leadership, along with IPLP faculty and clinic students, expanding the tribe’s jurisdiction to prosecute non-Native offenders of domestic violence and advocating for continued improvements to criminal justice and social service systems to better serve the community. Along with an expansive coalition of tribal leaders and victim’s advocates, Urbina’s advocacy was instrumental in the passage of expanded tribal jurisdiction within the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and enhanced sentencing for tribal courts through the Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA). He is also an active member of the Inter‐Tribal Working Group, providing advice to other tribes considering expanded jurisdiction and sentencing pursuant to VAWA and TLOA.

Upon hearing news of the award, Urbina thanked Arizona Law and IPLP faculty for their “tutelage and unconditional support over the years. Because of the partnership with Arizona Law and IPLP, we are protecting women and children from violence. This support has been instrumental in helping us gain the capacity necessary to implement and encapsulate what was created, so that we can share it with our sister tribes in Indian country. It is vital that this work is scaled out nationally. There is injustice being perpetrated on women, children, and Native families, and we can’t rest.”

Urbina accepted the National Indian Nations Conference’s Victim Advocacy Award on behalf of the Pascua Yaqui Tribal Council and all of the advocates working with Yaqui families. The award is named after Bonnie Heavy Runner, a tribal court judge, administrator, and consultant, and a strong advocate for victims and survivors of crime in Indian country.