Leo Brisbois, the first Minnesota State Bar Association president of known American Indian heritage and descent, was honored at a dinner hosted by the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association Aug. 21 in Mahnomen on the White Earth Indian Reservation.
In addition to MAIBA members, attending the dinner were members of the White Earth Tribal Council, the MSBA Council, the Minnesota Supreme Court, the Minnesota Court of Appeals, district courts and several tribal courts.
Brisbois, whose father is an enrolled member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, was presented with a White Earth flag by members of the Tribal Council in recognition of his becoming the first American Indian president of the MSBA.
White Earth Tribal Chairwoman Erma Vizenor and White Earth Tribal Court Chief Judge Anita Fineday spoke about White Earth's constitutional reform efforts and recent developments in the expansion of the Tribal Court's jurisdiction.
Brisbois, senior counsel with the Minneapolis law firm of Stich, Angell, Kreidler & Dodge, PA, grew up in Hibbing and graduated from Hibbing High School in 1980. He graduated from Hamline University School of Law in 1987.
Brisbois' parents, Gabriel and Mary Ann Brisbois, live in rural Lengby on the White Earth Reservation.
The White Earth Reservation covers all of Mahnomen County and portions of Becker and Clearwater counties. The White Earth Band of Ojibwe is the largest American Indian community in Minnesota.
MAIBA is a nonprofit organization of American Indian attorneys, law students and officers of tribal courts. The organization also welcomes non-Indian attorneys and law students who are interested in Indian Law.
With more than 16,000 members, the MSBA is the largest and most influential voluntary organization of attorneys in Minnesota. It provides continuing legal education and public service opportunities for lawyers and assistance to the legal system. In recent years, the MSBA has worked closely with the state courts to advocate at the Minnesota Legislature for adequate funding of the court system, public defenders, legal services for the disadvantaged and for adequate salaries for members of the judicial branch. The MSBA also works with the Minnesota Supreme Court on setting high ethical and practice standards for Minnesota lawyers.