We asked our two interns this summer a few questions about their time "here" working with us during the pandemic.
What projects are you working on?
I have been working a litigation memo investigating long waitlists for treatment programs at Montana State Prison, assisting in the voting rights case ACLU of Montana is co-counseling on, as well as researching the handling of cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Montana.
What do you find valuable about your internship?
There have been so many valuable experiences to this internship. However, I think the most valuable has been how included I feel. Alex, the ACLU of Montana’s Legal Director, has made sure we (the interns) are included in important legal department meetings as well as ensuring we play a role in ongoing litigation. I was told by fellow law students to prepare for a summer internship where I do research and rarely participate in cases. Yet, the ACLU of Montana has made sure my voice is heard, and I get to participate in all aspects of the legal department’s work. I have found this new insight to be immensely valuable for both my experience as a lawyer and to help me decide what I want my legal career to look like.
What has been exciting?
I would say working closely with the legal team on new projects and litigation has been exciting. But, overall, the most exciting part of my internship is the ACLU of Montana’s dedication to Indigenous Justice and being allowed to participate and learn from this growing outreach.
What's the funniest Zoom call you've been on?
The funniest zoom call I have been on is a result of my own doing. When my internship started I had just adopted two 8 week old kittens. I warned my colleagues that a kitten may appear in a zoom call occasionally. Yet, right as I was saying this, one of the kittens jumped from the ground to my shoulder making his first appearance on camera. The timing of it all was pretty funny.
What has been hardest/easist about being remote due to COVID?
To start with the positive, the easiest has been how welcome and supported the entire ACLU of Montana staff has made me feel. I am really grateful for this welcome. The hardest part for me has been not being able to meet my colleagues in person. I miss a “work-setting” and I have found it challenging to be unable to connect to those I work with in-person.
A first year law student in the Indian Legal Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, Liliana Elliott graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Religious Studies and a certificate in Native American and Indigenous Studies. Throughout her undergraduate career she worked as the Research and Digitization Assistant at the Native American Rights Fund. Liliana also worked at the Museum of Boulder and co-founded Inclusipedia, a program that teaches women how to write Wikipedia pages in order to further the representation of women and peoples of color on Wikipedia. Liliana decided to attend law school to further Native American religious and land rights. She is also interested in environmental law and looks forward to finding a career in Indian Country after graduating from law school. Outside of her studies, Liliana loves to bake, hike, and take photos with her film camera.