Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Thomasina Real Bird, Partner with Fredericks Peebles & Patterson LLP, is the President-Elect of the National Native Bar Association and Foundation

By Levi Rickert - October 16, 2019 at 12:01AM

Thomasina Real Bird

Published October 16, 2019

WASHINGTON — Fredericks Peebles & Patterson LLP is pleased to announce that Thomasina Real Bird is the president-elect of the National Native Bar Association and Foundation. Real Bird is a partner with Fredericks Peebles & Patterson LLP and works in the firm’s Louisville, Colorado, office; she also serves on the American Bar Association’s Commission for Youth at Risk.
Real Bird previously served as NNABA treasurer and NNABA Foundation treasurer, both volunteer roles, for three years. She said her colleagues encouraged her to run for president.
“With their support, I decided to run for the position as a way to continue to lend my skills and talents to the Native American community,” she said. “My vision is to continue to build upon the good work of my predecessors.”
Real Bird noted that she would like to see an overhaul of membership fees and categories to encourage more inclusion, participation and partnership with Native American lawyers, judges, and law students. In addition, she seeks to develop more programming, design ways to provide value to the organization’s membership through webinar CLEs, and begin a legacy project.
“The legacy project would involve interviewing past NNABA presidents and documenting their memories, reflections, and thoughts on the NNABA then and now,” she explained. “I would like to see the NNABA continue to engage high school and law school students, and for the NNABA Foundation to continue the scholarship program that offers bar examination scholarships to Native American law school graduates.”
Real Bird’s term as president will commence at the conclusion of the NNABA annual meeting in April 2020. In the meantime, she is busy with the ABA Commission on Youth at Risk, part of the ABA Center on Children and the Law. The commission’s mission is to address the legal needs of children and young adults who are disadvantaged or marginalized due to legal system involvement, poverty, race, national origin or ethnicity, gender or gender indemnification, disability, or religion.
“Current ABA President Judy Perry Martinez appointed me to the commission,” Real Bird said. “We help set the ABA’s national policy agenda on child and youth law topics; ensure the ABA speaks with a unified and coordinated voice on child law topics; and develop programs for ABA events that will share information about child and youth legal needs. I will specifically be working to ensure the ABA participates in the defense of the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act, and that the commission’s work reaches Native American youth.”
Real Bird has previously served on the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, and on the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility’s Diversity Committee. She observed that the legal profession is one of the least diverse.
“We want to facilitate the entry, participation and retention of diverse lawyers,” she said. “It is very important to ensure that native people are included in a meaningful way, and are contributing to the legal profession in this country.”
An enrolled member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, Real Bird is Ihanktonwan Nakota and Sicangu Lakota. She was born in Martin, South Dakota, near the Rosebud Sioux Reservation, and raised in the Choteau Creek community on South Dakota’s Yankton Sioux Reservation. On her family’s allotted land, they raised horses, including a beautiful appaloosa they called Sena’s Joker. She continues to pursue her passion for animals, raising quarter horses with her husband at their Colorado home.
A majority Native American-owned law firm, Fredericks Peebles & Patterson has offices in Sacramento, California; Louisville, Colorado; Rapid City, South Dakota; and Washington, DC. To learn more, visit

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