Arizona Law Alum, Indigenous Rights Attorney Gabriel Galanda Receives ABA Spirit of Excellence Award

Feb. 23, 2022

Gabriel S. Galanda (‘00) has been named a recipient of the 2022 ABA Spirit of Excellence Award, presented to the lawyers who personify excellence on the national and international level and have demonstrated a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. 

Galanda, an alumnus of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy (IPLP) Program at Arizona Law, is an indigenous rights attorney and the managing lawyer at Galanda Broadman in Seattle. He focuses his practice on complex litigation and crisis management for indigenous nations, businesses and citizens. Galanda belongs to the Round Valley Indian Tribes of California and a descendant of the Nomlaki and Concow tribes. 

"I'm deeply honored by this award because it recognizes the unfulfilled promise of human rights to indigenous persons in our country,” says Galanda. We remain the only citizens of the U.S. who are not universally guaranteed human rights protection. I dedicate this award to the Nooksack 306, a group of indigenous kinfolk in northern Washington State whose human rights have been violated by tribal political actors since 2012. Despite a decade of domestic persecution, the 306 have yet to receive adequate legal or political protection from their trustee, the U.S."

The Spirit of Excellence Award symbolizes the determination of racially and ethnically diverse lawyers who have not only navigated their own path to success but paved the way for those who follow them. 

“Without indigenous representation in the law, there will never be a guarantee to indigenous citizens or residents of this country that they will be afforded the human rights protection that everyone else in this country enjoys, said Galanda in ABA Journal Magazine. So unless there are indigenous advocates, there will not be Indigenous human rights.” 

Regents Professor and IPLP Director Robert A. Williams, Jr., nominated Galanda for the award and says Galanda is a standout graduate and advocate. 

"I’ve taught, mentored, graduated, and kept up with the careers of over 200 Native lawyers in my 40+ years as a law professor. Yet, whenever I’m asked who was the best law student I ever taught in terms of going on to impact the field, putting forward a positive image as a role model for Native lawyers in the profession, and ceaselessly trying to make Indian country and the world a better, more just place, it is an easy question for me to answer; no other student I’ve ever taught comes close, and there’s no other student I’m more proud of or admire more than Gabe Galanda,” said Williams.