1L selected for prestigious Udall Congressional Internship

April 20, 2015

Elisabeth Guard will spend her summer in Washington, D.C., interning at the Bureau of Indian Affairs  in the office of Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn. She is one of just 12 students in the country to be selected for the Native American Congressional Internship Program.

The program provides American Indian and Alaska Native students with the opportunity to gain practical experience with the federal legislative process in order to understand first-hand the government-to-government relationship between tribes and the federal government. Also called the Udall Internship, the program honors the legacies of Morris Udall and Stewart Udall, whose careers had a significant impact on American Indian self-governance and health care, as well as the stewardship of public lands and natural resources.

Elisabeth GuardGuard, class of '17, is a member of the Mitchell Bay Band of Indians and is Swinomish. She intends to pursue a legal career protecting sovereignty, and environmental and natural resource rights for Native American tribes. She is particularly interested in helping tribes who are not federally recognized gain formal status.

As part of this internship, she will complete an intensive, 10-week internship and have opportunities to meet with key decision makers.

Guard has dreamed of going to law school since she took an AP Government course in high school. She worked for Ladenburg Law, LLP in Tacoma for three years while she was a student at the University of Puget Sound and worked  at Perkins Coie LLP in Seattle before enrolling in law school.

"I feel very fortunate to be selected for the internship," Guard said. "It's an unparalleled experience. I will get to see how government works with tribes."

 Guard was drawn to Seattle University School of Law's focus on Native American issues through the Center for Indian Law and Policy.

"The fact that the school promotes Native American law and works with the tribes is great," she said. "There are not enough Native American lawyers, and that's what we need."