Obit here. PLSI Class of 1969.
Alan Parker was a big deal — his footprint on Indian affairs is massive. Before I get into his interesting career, I’m going to paste here the nice profile UCLA did of him last year:
A citizen of the Chippewa Cree Tribal Nation, Alan R. Parker attended St Thomas Seminary where he earned a B.A. in Classical Philosophy in 1965. He subsequently attended UCLA School of Law, in Los Angeles, California, where he received a Juris Doctor degree in 1972. Prior to attending Law School, he served as 1st Lt. in the Signal Corp in the US Army from 1965 1968. He was awarded a Bronze Star medal for Out-standing Leadership Service under combat conditions in Vietnam.
Parker practiced law in Washington, D.C. for over twenty years. He served as Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. (1977-81) and, subsequently, as Staff Director to the Committee from 1987 to 1991. During his service in the Senate, Parker was instrumental in securing passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act, the Indian Religious Freedom Act, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and the Tribal Self-governance Act, as well as numerous tribal land and water claims settlement acts.
Parker joined the Evergreen College faculty in 1997, where he organized the nation’s first graduate school program in Tribal Governance with his colleague Dr. Linda Moon Stumpff. This historic program is located within the Masters in Public Administration program with a curriculum based on the recommendations of Tribal Leaders in the Pacific Northwest. Professors Parker and Stumpff recruited Tribal students from the northwest who were motivated to earn a professional degree that equipped them to provide professional service to their own tribal governments as well as state and federal agencies. Students earned an MPA degree with a major focus on Tribal Governance Studies.
Upon his retirement from Evergreen in 2014, Parker collaborated with faculty at the Maori Indigenous University, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi. The University, or Wananga, is based in the city of Whakatane, New Zealand. Parker joined with Dr. Patricia Johnston to design and create a Doctoral Program focused upon the advancement of Indigenous Nations across the Western World.Â Ten of his students from Evergreen were among the first to enroll in this historic program in 2013, and the two of them have already earned their PhD degree.
Alan was a prolific scholar as well. A few years back, MSU Press asked me to blurb his book, “Pathways to Indigenous Nation Sovereignty: A Chronicle of Federal Policy Developments.” I said on the back of the book that people interested in the last 50 years of Indian law and policy should read the book. They should. Alan was there for a whoooole lot of it.
A few years before the MSU Press book, Alan co-authored “American Indian Identity Citizenship, Membership, and Blood.” All this while he was basically retired. Not bad.
Alan wrote law review articles, too, including of the earliest law review articles written by a Native person ever, “State and Tribal Courts said in Montana: A Jurisdictional Relationship,” in the Montana Law Review (1972):
He was a 3L at UCLA. Not bad.
Right out of law school (!), Alan led a team of 16 Native law students and 8 Indian lawyers that studied 17 tribal governments for the American Indian Lawyers Training Program — and published a report. Here is that report, from 1974:
He wrote reports on climate change and even ran the American Indian National Bank for a time:
Alan worked on ICWA:
Alan worked on NAGPRA:
Finally, at least for this post, I’ll post a nice, eloquent thing he said in the paper once long ago: