Professor Mary Jo Hunter, UCLA JD '82, was honored recently by UCLA's Native Nations Law & Policy Center as the recipient of the Native Nations Distinguished Alumnus Award. Professor Hunter received the award at UCLA’s Student/Alumni Breakfast Reception at the Federal Bar Association Indian Law Conference in April.
With a reputation for advocating for children and families in distress, Professor Hunter demonstrates compassion and legal insight in her clinical instruction and practice. She also teaches Native American law.
Hunter was elected the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Ho-Chunk Nation, formerly the Wisconsin Winnebago Nation. She currently serves as a tribal appellate judge for the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and has served as an appellate judge for the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe. She has also conducted workshops on the Indian Child Welfare Act and cultural issues of American Indians.
Hunter is a full-time supervising attorney in the Child Advocacy Clinic. In addition to serving on the board of directors for Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, she is a volunteer guardian ad litem for Ramsey and Hennepin counties. Hunter is also a leader in the area of the rights of children in the legal system and on creating a voice for children in the courts.
Active in the community, Hunter has worked for the Neighborhood Justice Center and Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services in Saint Paul. She taught Indian Law and directed the Native American Law Project clinical program at the University of North Dakota School of Law. Hunter is a frequent speaker in the areas of cultural diversity, culture, and the Indian Child Welfare Act.