Native American LEEgal Community Spotlight | Leadership for Educational Equity Skip to main content

Native American LEEgal Community Spotlight

Community-drivenLEE members use their law degrees in many different ways to influence and apply laws and policies to impact their communities. Kim Cromwell (TFA Phoenix ‘06) serves as the Deputy Attorney General for the White Mountain Apache Tribe in Arizona, where she approaches all her cases through an equity lens. 

While studying at Dartmouth, far from her home on the Fort Apache Reservation, she realized her desire to give back to the community that raised her. “I witnessed first hand the social ills that are common on the reservation due to poverty, alcoholism and drugs - I always wanted to make my life better. But not just mine. I always asked myself, “What can I do to help others? My community? My tribe?”

For the last 9 years, she has put desire into action - working with her Tribe to provide legal advice on tribal departments like corrections, the Parole Board, and the police department, as well as supervising a team of prosecutors and applying Federal Indian Law statutes to cases that impact children and families. 

In much of Kim’s work, she liaises with the Tribal Council and social workers to apply the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) - one of the foundations of Federal Indian Law. Because of the history of the disproportionate number of Native children being removed from their homes and placed outside of their community, ICWA was enacted to give Tribes and Native families more involvement in child welfare cases by promoting the stability and security of the tribe and the families. “Our job is to make sure the child has a connection with home still -- that they are always connected to our tribe and know they have a community here… these cases make my job worth it.” Kim’s commitment to her community is helping ensure all children in her tribe have access to a better future and are connected to their roots. 

 

As a member of the LEEgal Community, she is a part of a network of LEE member lawyers working to bring equity to their communities, understanding that every child deserves access to opportunity. Using her law degree, Kim ensures that children are connected and integrated into their tribal community - understanding their culture, language, and their home.