• MALD, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
  • Co-Founder of Native American Law Student Association
  • Delegate for the NATO Summit in Budapest Hungary and Nexus Global Youth Summit, hosted by the UN
  • Becoming a member of the Yurok Tribal Court Bar
  • Member of negotiating team to reacquire Yurok ancestral territory

Javier I. Kinney JD’04

Director, Office of Self-Governance, Yurok Tribe, Weitchpec, Calif.

When he looks out over the Klamath and Trinity rivers of Northwest California, which course through the steep and lush forests of the Yurok Ancestral territory, Javier Kinney sees a future where “the rights of indigenous peoples are recognized and respected under the law worldwide.”

Given Kinney’s remarkable accomplishments, both before and after he earned his Suffolk Law degree, he might just make it happen.

Kinney reflects tribal law for the Yurok Tribe, as statistics literally indicate that he should not exist. However, Kinney has always found a way to not only accomplish his objectives but complete them with a passion. He can be working to recover ancestral land from the federal government one moment, and negotiating his tribe’s new hotel casino project the next. What matters most, he says, “is to carry on the work that has been laid down before me by tribal elders, tribal leaders, tribal youth and my family.”

Kinney says Suffolk is where he marshaled the skills he uses today.

“Suffolk helped prepare me for this work every day,” he says. “The access to federal, state and local attorneys, judges, and policy makers assisted me to excel in areas of negotiations, mediation, litigation and decision making.”

Kinney’s commitment to recognizing the international indigenous people’s movement all over the world over was evident when he co-founded Suffolk Law’s Native American Law Student Association chapter in 2002. It started with three students and now has more than 50 members.

Kinney urges young lawyers to “love what they do and how they do it.”

“The Suffolk alumni network is friendly, effective and supportive because of the attorneys and legal professionals both in California, the nation and around the world. I know I can count on my colleagues and friends not only to assist me in professional matters but welcome me if I ever need a place to stay in my travels.”