Eldorado Springs, CO 80025
Bio graphical statement for Jerilyn DeCoteau
Jerilyn is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota. As an attorney, she pressed for the rights of Indian tribes to govern themselves, control their resources and insure human rights for their members. She was a staff attorney for the Native American Rights Fund, trial attorney for the U.S.D.O.J. Indian Resources Section, and Director of the Indian Law Clinic at the University of Colorado. She also taught Indian law courses at Yale Law School, the University of Denver Law School, and the Turtle Mountain Community College.
In her first career, her six years as Academic Dean at TMCC provided grounding for her law career and for her goal to strengthen tribal communities. In her “recovering attorney” phase, Jerilyn served as the Director of Policy at First Nations Development Institute, where she led the implementation of the Native Asset Watch Initiative, a comprehensive strategy for effecting systemic economic change by helping Native Communities regain control of their own assets.
Currently, Jerilyn serves as Chief Justice for the Pueblo of San Ildefonso Supreme Court and as reserve judge for the Turtle Mountain Tribal Court. She also co-directs two projects: Toward Right Relationship, which offers the workshop, “Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change; Toward Right Relationship with Native People” on the Doctrine of Discovery and the effects of colonization, and Right Relationship Boulder, a group of Native and non-Native citizens who work with local governments to promote and practice right relationship with Native People.
Jerilyn serves on many local committees that work on Native issues, including one that established Indigenous Peoples Day in Boulder and one that works on restoring use or ownership of public land to the Arapaho and other tribes who were in the Boulder Valley.
Jerilyn lives in Eldorado Springs, Colorado with her husband. She has two daughters and one son and eight grandchildren. All but her son live at Turtle Mountain.
Additional Professional Services
- Licensed Attorney