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King Day event planned at United Tribes
11 January 2010

BISMARCK (UTN) - A Federal Indian law attorney, who is both Native American and African American, will highlight a program in Bismarck on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.

      Angela Delorme-Gaines will share her unique, multi-racial perspective as guest speaker on the federal holiday, Monday, January 18, at United Tribes Technical College.


Angela Delorme-Gaines

      The program, “The King Holiday in the age of President Obama,” is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon in the lower level of the Jack Barden Student Life and Technology Center. The event is open to the public free of charge.

      Delorme-Gaines was born in Belcourt, ND, and is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. She is the daughter of a Native American mother and African American/Native American father. Raised and educated on the reservation and military bases, she attended the U. S. Air Force Academy and became a lawyer. She now operates a consulting firm, serves as a tribal judge and advocates for Native American children, families and veterans. Soon she will publish an account of growing up as one of the first black members of her federally recognized tribe.

      Delorme-Gaines will make two presentations during the event. At 9 a.m. she will participate in a program geared for elementary students. At 11 a.m. she will talk as guest speaker about the federal holiday that is devoted to racial equity as expressed in the life of the slain civil rights leader.

      Visitors, and especially students, are invited to attend any or all of the three specific, one-hour sessions that make up event. Refreshments will be served.

      Scheduled for 10 a.m. is a panel discussion with members of the newly revived North Dakota Commission on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. The organization was re-incorporated in 2009 by those involved with the original commission and the legislation that led North Dakota to adopt the holiday in 1991. Discussion moderator Brian Palecek is the commission’s board chair and a United Tribes instructor. Other members are Mandel Robinson, Ramona Klein, Scott Davis, David M. Gipp, Chad Litton, Bruce Hagen and Tom Disselhorst.

      Also scheduled are video showings of King’s “I Have A Dream” speech delivered in 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, and a United Tribes video describing the parallel experience of Native Americans and African Americans in seeking civil rights. A representative from the Gandhi Peace Network of North Dakota is scheduled to initiate the group’s “Season of Non-Violence.” A native drum group will provide honor songs.

      The United Tribes Martin Luther King Jr. event is sponsored by the UTTC Culture Committee, Sonja Cain chairperson, and the North Dakota Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission.

Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Agenda
“The King Holiday in the age of President Obama”
Monday, January 18, 2010
Jack Barden Center, United Tribes Technical College

9 a.m.  “I Have a Dream” speech, Martin Luther King Jr. 1963
“Continuing the Dream,” Native American Civil Rights, United Tribes 2005
Theodore Jamerson Elementary School Program
Angela Delorme-Gaines presentation
10 a.m. Panel Discussion, ND Commission on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday: What does the Martin Luther King Holiday mean in the age of President Barack Obama? Brian Palecek moderator.
11 a.m.  Gandhi Peace Network of North Dakota: “Season of Non-Violence”
Guest Speaker: Angela Delorme-Gaines (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa)

Angela Delorme-Gaines Biography

      Angela Delorme-Gaines, a Federal Indian Law Attorney, is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and was born on the reservation in Belcourt, ND. After obtaining a Bachelor's in Biology and Neuroscience from the University of Denver, she earned a JD in Federal Indian Law from the University of New Mexico. As a third generation Federal Indian Law attorney, she used the experience of her tribe and family while completing two judgeships and working as one of the youngest Attorney Generals in Indian Country.

      Ms. Delorme-Gaines has experienced the challenges faced by First Nations people. As a judge, she adopted a newborn from her tribe. Her son, who is now four years old, represents the experience that Indian Country judges acquire in service to their people. As both an adoptive and foster parent, she has endured the discrimination and lack of support for special needs children in public schools.

      Ms. Delorme-Gaines volunteers on multiple boards advocating for ICWA compliance and recruiting Native American foster families. She also volunteers as an honorary member of the VFW and works with Veterans on housing, homelessness, healthcare, Agent Orange claims and education.

      Ms. Delorme-Gaines is a fourth generation Veteran. Members of her family served in World War I, Korea, Vietnam, and Gulf War, and her only brother currently serves in Iraq. Her experience growing up in a military family – living at military bases and on the reservation – guides her when pursuing benefits for Veterans living on reservations.

      With a rich background rooted in our country's history, Ms. Delorme-Gaines lends her knowledge and experience to further the interests of her people whether Native American, African American or Veterans.

      Ms. Delorme Gaines recently gained national attention at the White House Tribal Nations Conference on November 5, 2009 when she raised the issue of under-representation of Native Americans on the Federal Bench and U.S. Supreme Court. “Why is it that my African American grandmother can proudly claim two Supreme Court justices yet my Ojibwe grandmother has none? Why isn’t being Native American good enough? How can I be good enough to serve and die for my country, if necessary, but have no opportunity to serve on the Supreme Court? My heart just doesn’t understand why we aren’t represented,” said Delorme-Gaines.

      Ms. Delorme Gaines has signed with Wampum Books to publish “The Veterans’ Daughter: A Native American Story of Survival and Triumph.” In it she shares her unique perspective as a "girl next door" who was raised on reservations and military bases, providing a foundation for championing the causes of tribal nations.