2019 Udall Foundation Congressional Internship Award Recipient: Austin Moore

Austin Moore, ’20, is one of two MSU Law students – and one of 12 students nationwide – to receive a congressional internship award from the Udall Foundation this year. Moore will spend the summer in Washington, DC, working with the Office of Indian Rights and Claims, Environment and Natural Resources Division in the Department of Justice.

Part of the Udall Foundation’s mission is “to provide programs to promote leadership, education, collaboration, and conflict resolution in the areas of environment, public lands, and natural resources in order to strengthen Native nations, assist federal agencies and others to resolve environmental conflicts, and to encourage the continued use and appreciation of our nation’s rich resources.”

Moore is looking forward to experiencing the federal government’s approach to tribal relations and decision-making. He has experience on the tribal side, but this internship will be new territory. He worked with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians last year, “I learned a lot, and that was a pretty awesome experience. I got to work with a tribal government and now I’ll get to see the other side – the federal government.”

He’s pursuing the Indigenous Law Certificate at MSU Law, learning from professors like Kathryn Fort in the classroom and in the Indian Law Clinic. “Professor Fort is a great professor. She’s by far the hardest-working professor and attorney that I know right now. She’s been super busy with a lot of different things,” Moore said. “Seeing her balance her career and also teach at the same time, and give her full effort to teaching, has motivated me to work just as hard.”

He was recently elected president of his Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) chapter, and appointed the Area 4 Representative for the National NALSA. In these positions, Moore will work to keep the Midwest and surrounding states’ NALSA chapters in communication with the National NALSA and each other.

As a rising 3L, Moore has his sights set on working with federal recognition for tribes upon graduation. “My tribe, the Samish Indian Nation, had a 30-year battle with federal recognition and they weren’t recognized until 1996. My mom’s tribe, Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is currently going through their fight for federal recognition. It just kind of hits home on a personal level for me,” he explained.