Arlinda Locklear, lawyer

Arlinda Locklear has spent nearly forty years in the practice of Native American law. Working for the Native American Rights Fund, and later for Patton Boggs LLP, she has defended Native American tribes in federal and state claims related to treaty land and water rights and to tribal jurisdiction on reservations. She has also established a national reputation regarding federal acknowledgment of Native American tribes. She testified before Congress in 1988 (while representing the Lumbee Tribe) on the need for better procedures for federal acknowledgment, and again in 1989, recommending approval of the Indian Federal Acknowledgment Administrative Procedures Act of 1989. From 1987 through March 2010, she represented the Lumbee Tribe pro bono in its efforts to obtain full federal acknowledgment. Locklear was born September 9, 1951, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

[Entry written 08/2012]

Her father, Edsel Locklear, was a boson mate in the Navy. Her mother's maiden name was Mary Elizabeth Revels. Her academic training includes a B.A. in political science from the College of Charleston (1976) and a J.D. from the School of Law at Duke University (1976).

She joined the Native American Rights Fund as a staff attorney at the Boulder, Colorado office in 1976. Then, in 1982, she became directing attorney of the Native American Rights Fund's Washington office. During that time, she became the first licensed female Native American attorney to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court (1983; Solem v. Bartlett, 465 U.S. 463, which involved criminal jurisdiction over an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe who was convicted and serving a prison sentence for a crime committed on the tribe's reservation). She won this case. In 1984, she again argued before the Supreme Court (County of Oneida v. Oneida Indian Nation, 470 U.S. 226), successfully defending the Oneidas' federal common law right to sue to enforce their aboriginal land rights.

Locklear had started a federal Indian law practice in Maryland, planning to leave the Native American Rights Fund and work part time, since she had a four-year-old son and a 16-month-old daughter. But, in 1988, her husband, Gil Hall, died of a heart attack. She began working for the Washington, DC law firm Patton Boggs LLP while also doing private practice work and representing the Lumbee Tribe regarding federal acknowledgment. She stopped working for Patton Boggs in 2005 in order to focus more attention assisting the Lumbee Tribe with federal acknowledgment.

Locklear was removed from representation of the Lumbee Tribe on federal acknowledgment around March, 2010, shortly after Tribal Chairman Jimmy Goins and three Tribal Council members signed a contract with a gaming company, Lewin International, and the Tribal Council later ratified the contract. The intent of the contract was to amend the pending Senate bill for full federal acknowledgment of the Lumbee Tribe so that it would allow the tribe to operate a casino. If the amendment was successful and the law was passed, Lewin International would have the rights to build and operate the casino. The contract with Lewin also specified that Lewin would be the exclusive lobbyist for the tribe on federal acknowledgment.

Locklear has received numerous honors, including the following:
• Honorary doctorates from the State University of New York at Oneonta in 1990, North Carolina State University in 2007, and the College of Charleston in 2012
• service on the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Board of Trustees of UNC-Pembroke
• recipient of the Julian T. Pierce Award , which recognizes an outstanding attorney and advocate of equal justice
• recipient of the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award from the American Bar Association in 2012
• profiles in the following directories: Who's Who in the East (33rd-38th editions); Who's Who in American Politics (22nd and 23rd editions); Who's Who in American Law (14th-16th editions), and Who's Who in America (60th-64th editions)

[Entry written 08/2012]

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