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John Eberhart
John Friel
Lisa Jaeger
Sarah Lawson
Margaret Nelson
Mike Walleri
Jim Williams
Kristi Williams


John Eberhart
As Deputy General Counsel for Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), Mr. Eberhart performed legal services and advised tribes, clients and programs for an 800 employee organization covering 42 tribes and tribal organizations spread over 235,000 square miles. He mentored the Human Resources Department, oversaw corporate compliance and governance, and was the staff member assigned to transportation matters. He is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources by the Society for Human Resource Management.

Before TCC, Mr. Eberhart was In-House Counsel and Director of Human Resources for Fairbanks Native Association, where he performed legal services and directed the Human Resources Department for a 350 employee social services organization with 14 locations.

Since 1991, he has served as an Arbitrator, Mediator, Hearing Examiner, and Hearing Officer, including as a labor and employment, commercial and construction arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association; arbitrator with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service; hearing examiner for the Alaska Human Rights Commission; and hearing officer for the University of Alaska. Mr. Eberhart is an adjunct lecturer for the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He teaches two business law courses and a course called Employment Law for Human Resource Practice.

He has a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, a Master’s degree from Columbia University in New York City, and a law degree from Seattle University. Mr. Eberhart was admitted to the Alaska Bar in 1981. He later worked in Australia; qualified in law through the University of Sydney; and is a member of the Law Society of New South Wales, Australia. His focus has been on labor and employment, construction and commercial law.

He served for nine years on the Fairbanks City Council, including as the City Council representative to the Public Safety Commission. In October 2013, Mr. Eberhart was elected Mayor of the City of Fairbanks, Alaska.

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John Friel
John Friel, CPA, is Director of Financial Services with the Falmouth Institute, who provides a wide range of financial management services to Alaska Native governments. Mr. Friel leads the team that prepares and negotiates indirect cost proposals for all Falmouth IDC clients. He recently saved over a million dollars in alleged over-recoveries by a large Alaska Native government.

Other services include: Training, internal controls analysis, cost allocation policy facilitation and corrective action plans in response to audit findings issued in according with A-133 audits.

He achieved the status of master trainer due to his outstanding achievements in workshop presentation and methodology. He has consistently demonstrated an understanding and sensitivity to the issues faced by attendees in the workshops he conducts.

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Lisa Jaeger
Lisa Jaeger has served as the tribal government specialist for the Tanana Chiefs Conference in Fairbanks Alaska since 1979. The Tanana Chiefs is a non-profit Native corporation that provides technical assistance and service delivery to 37 federally recognized tribes in the Interior of Alaska. She has traveled extensively into the villages of the Interior and other parts of Alaska assisting tribes in designing tribal government structures and procedures; drafting constitutions, ordinances, codes and policies; and assisting tribes on land issues and in the development of their tribal courts.

Ms. Jaeger has also been very involved in the development of Circle Peacemaking in Alaska and collaborative efforts between the Alaska Court System and Alaska tribal courts. She teaches Indian law and tribal government courses for the University of Alaska, National Judicial College and through a wide variety of other collaborative training efforts. She has written handbooks for Alaska tribes on tribal government, code drafting, Alaska Native lands and tribal court development. The tribal court development handbook for Alaska tribes is available online here. Ms. Jaeger is the producer of multiple films on tribal court development for Alaska tribes, of the documentary film entitled, "Tribal Nations, The Story of Federal Indian Law." Information on that film can be found here. Information about a 60-minute documentary film called "Alaska Tribes: The Story of Federal Indian Law in Alaska in 2012," can be found here. She has produced a website on Federal Indian Law in Alaska in collaboration with the University of Alaska, which can be found here and a website for tribal court administration, which can be found here.


Ms. Jaeger has undergraduate degrees in biology and secondary education and a Master’s degree in Northern Studies-Indian Law from the Universities of Arizona and Alaska.

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Sarah Lawson
Sarah Lawson is an attorney with Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt. She focuses her practice on Indian law, with over a decade of experience advising tribal governments on a variety of matters including real estate, land use planning and development, and tax. Ms. Lawson is widely regarded as an authority on issues involving Indian trust land, and has increasingly been assisting tribes with Alaskan trust land and the BIA. She is an enrolled member of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska.

Ms. Lawson began her work in Indian Country as in intern with the Assembly of First Nations in Canada, where her research on Indian residential school abuse and impacts laid the groundwork for the Indian Residential Settlement Agreement (IRSSA). During law school she was a law clerk for the Oneida Indian Tribe of Wisconsin and the Native American Rights Fund in Washington D.C., where she worked on the Indian trust class action suit Cobell v. Salazar.

Ms. Lawson serves as an appellate judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System and has taught courses on the history of federal Indian policy, rights of tribes, Indian self-determination, and legal studies for Northwest Indian College. She is as a member of the boards of the Northwest Indian Bar Association, National Tribal Land Association, and is past president of the board of directors for Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theater.

Prior to joining Schwabe, Lawson served as General Counsel for the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, Trust Services Director for the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, and Assistant Attorney General for the Tohono O'Odham Nation in Sells, Arizona. Lawson received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, and is admitted to practice in Washington, Wisconsin and Arizona.

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Margaret Nelson
Margaret Nelson is Alaska Native and a life-long Alaskan now residing in Anchorage, AK. She currently owns her own company and is a licensed as a real estate salesperson in the state of Alaska. Previously she has served as a Senior Vice President of Business Development at two Alaska Native corporations--Calista Corporation and Upeagvik Inupiat Corporation--bringing in more than $25 million in business to those organizations. She also has served as President/CEO of the Alaska Native Heritage Center during its development and opening, employing more than 140 cultural representatives with an operating budget of more than $5 million. She has also served Vice President of Tourism at Goldbelt, Inc., an Alaska Native village corporation. Ms. Nelson prides herself on her outstanding record of Alaska Native hire. Ms. Nelson has 30 years of experience in corporation management, strengthening financial approaches, diversifying earned income opportunities and developing business strategies and commercial ventures especially SBA 8(a) startups and acquisitions.

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Mike Walleri
Michael Walleri is an attorney with over 35 years’ experience in Alaska Native/ Indian law and policy, particularly with the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA). He travels extensively to provide assistance and advocacy to Alaskan villages and lower 48 Indian tribes on corporate, municipal and tribal matters. Mr. Walleri has assisted over 17 Alaska tribes and corporations with retribalization of ANCSA lands, including one transfer of land into trust prior to the recent change in federal regulations expressly authorizing such transfers. Mr. Walleri also has extensive experience with other issues under the Indian Reorganization Act, including the first, and several subsequent, tribal government reorganizations under the IRA after ANCSA. He also has both a federal and state court practice, including frequent appearances before the Alaska Supreme Court, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and has written amicus briefs to the United States Supreme Court. He frequently presents on tribal, corporate and municipal matters.

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Jim Williams
Jim Williams is the Chief of Staff for the City of Fairbanks and is responsible for the administration of municipal government operations. He handles strategic planning and oversight of the City and oversees City functions such as human resources, information technology, finance, engineering, public relations, a police department, fire and EMS services, 911 call center and public works department. Mr. Williams is responsible for planning and executing City-wide operational and capital budgets in excess of $35 million annually.

He was the former Chief Information Officer at Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) in Fairbanks, Alaska. He crafted and executed a technology road-map for 42 Interior Alaska villages with primary service offerings in health care and social services. During his time at TCC, he led dozens of IT capital project implementations, to include a corporate wide ERP system, electronic health records, document retention system and 3rd party medical billing systems.

Mr. Williams retired from the United States Air Force in 2007 where he led operations both in garrison and in combat. He was awarded the Bronze Star plus multiple meritorious service and commendation medals. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2005 and earned an MBA in 2011.

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Kristi Williams
Kristi Williams joined the law firm Hobbs Straus in September of 2015, opening the Firm’s Alaska office. Ms. Williams was born in Fairbanks and is of Gwichyaa Gwich’in and Koyukon Athabascan descent. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of California, Berkeley in anthropology with minors in public policy, and Native American studies. Prior to law school, Ms. Williams attended the Pre-Law Summer Institute (PLSI) and received the Outstanding Student Award in Federal Indian law. She went on to receive her Juris Doctor from the University of New Mexico School of Law and completed the Indian Law Certificate Program. She received Clinical Honors as a second year law student and was actively involved in the Indian Law Committee, Tribal Law Journal, as well as the Native American Law Students Association and the Women’s Law Caucus.

During her first summer of law school, Ms. Williams worked as a legal intern for U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) and post law school began her career in Washington, D.C., working as a Legislative Assistant to Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). Ms. Williams transitioned to the Department of the Interior, as Counselor in the Office of the Secretary, where she provided policy guidance to the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs. Ms. Williams became a member of the District Columbia Bar in 2012, becoming the first Gwichyaa Gwich’in licensed attorney. Most recently Ms. Williams owned a consulting firm in Anchorage that specialized in Alaska Native tribal advocacy.

Having served as legislative and policy advisor in the U.S. Senate and at the Department of Interior, Ms. Williams is well informed on Alaska Native and American Indian issues. She has expertise in government-to-government consultation, small business and economic development issues, strategic planning, negotiations, as well as legislative and appropriations advocacy. Ms. Williams and her husband Ben love the outdoors. In their spare time they can be found fishing, foraging, and exploring Alaska with their young son, Liam.

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