Lorinda is of Native Hawaiian and Cherokee ancestry. She earned her BA from UCLA and then came to the University of Arizona for three degrees -- completing the JD as well as an MA in American Indian Studies in 2006 and the SJD in the college's IPLP program in 2010.
Of her time at Arizona Law, Lorinda recalls the excitement of learning new things and a great sense of possibility.
"It was also one of those rare periods in my life where I had time to reflect -- reflect on the ways that these cases, that we all read, impact our daily lives, shape the way that we understand the world around us, and influence how we engage with each other."
Lorinda's law school experience also included summer clerkships with Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and DNA People's Legal Services at the Navajo Nation. And during her 3L year she was able to work at the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs chaired by Senator John McCain.
As a student and afterward, Lorinda says that Professor Rob Williams has been a consistent mentor. He suggested that she consider pursuing an SJD after the JD -- a path she had not previously considered.
"In a way, Professor Williams saw potential in me that I had not yet seen for myself. He, along with other faculty and staff, such as Melissa Tatum, and Robert Hershey ('72), have always been steadfast supporters. But perhaps the most valuable thing that they have taught me is how to see and nurture that special light in others."
After finishing her course work for the SJD, Lorinda moved to Washington, DC, where she worked in a boutique Indian law firm before taking several positions, including a tribal liaison position, in the federal government. Arizona Law connections proved especially important in DC, where, she says, she met several alums who quickly became friends and helped expand her professional network.
Lorinda and her family had the opportunity to move back to Hawaii in 2012: "It has been a blessing to be able to live and work in the community that made me who I am."
She says that what brought her back to her home state was the focus on ohana (family) and community that she remembers from her childhood. "I wanted those same things for my children." She also admires the Native Hawaiian community's resilience, and her work has been deeply affected by the indigenous community:
"Having worked here now for several years ... I deeply appreciate the importance placed on using an indigenous methodology whenever conducting research on, with, or for the indigenous community. I have always considered myself a community engaged scholar, but working in Hawai'i has really opened my eyes to just how beautiful and valuable our scholarship can be when we approach it from a pono (righteous) place."
Lorinda now teaches Justice Administration at the University of Hawaii, West O'ahu, a baccalaureate institution serving a high number of Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander students. Her focus is on ensuring that indigenous issues are incorporated into justice and public administration courses so that the next generation of civil servants will have a solid foundation on the importance of indigenous issues and how best to work with indigenous people. Lorinda also introduced nation building concepts into courses such as Indigenous Governance, Federal Indian Law, and Constitutional Law. She says, "All of this stems from my time at Arizona Law."
Thank you for sharing your unique Arizona Law story, Lorinda.