Gabe Galanda | Forcing Hard Conversations

Gabe Galanda is an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, a confederation of tribes in Northern California. He is also a founding partner of a law firm that includes his namesake, Galanda Broadman. You can follow the firm and its lawyers on Twitter and Facebook.

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Humble Beginnings

Gabe Galanda started from very humble beginnings. Gabe’s father spent time in prison and his mom struggled with substance abuse. But Gabe was raised by a village. From the age of 4 when his mom dropped off at a Catholic School, he always had people looking out for him. A twist of fate in highschool found Gabe working for the prosecutor that sent his dad to prison (listen to the podcast to learn more!). He cites this as a pivotal moment in his life that led to college.

He spent a brief time in community college, Gabe went to Western Washington University. By the time Gabe enrolled at Western Washington University, he knew he wanted to go to law school. Eventually he attended University of Arizona Law School.

Gabe worked for a law firm in Seattle for several years before striking out on his own. He left a partnership at Williams Kastner to start his own firm with a friend. After he learned his wife was pregnant. With twins. His decision was driven by his desire to be a strong presence in his children’s lives, and his own firm allowed him to structure his work life accordingly. This was a decision that many view as a “big jump.” But when you have focus and knowledge,  The Leap is not as big as it seems.

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Since then, Gabe Galanda has made significant headway in the legal field and in Indian Country. He helped start a nonprofit organization Huy that promotes religious opportunity for Native prisoners. He also has taken on disenrollment cases for clients, and has become a strong opponent of disenrollment, calling it “wholly non-indigenous.” As Gabe has pushed the conversation into the spotlight, others have recently joined his stance, including the Last Real Indians. At a minimum, the National Native American Bar Association believes there should be due process.

Gabe acknowledges there may be differing views on these subjects, but if Indian Country does not have these discussions, others will, and others will also make decisions for us.

Listen to more of Gabe Galanda’s story and passions in the interview.

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