The scholarship, made possible by a $1 million gift from an anonymous donor, covers tuition and all costs of attendance for an American Indian or Alaska Native law student enrolled in Harvard Law School’s three-year course of study.
The goal is to eliminate financial hurdles to earning a juris doctor degree at Harvard Law School.
Samantha Maltais, an enrolled member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head/Aquinnah on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, is the current scholarship recipient. Maltais is an American Indian College Fund student ambassador, a 2018 Dartmouth College graduate, and an American Indian College Fund Full Circle Scholar. She plans to be the first Wampanoag tribal citizen to graduate from Harvard Law School this spring.
Maltais is co-president of the Native American Law Students Association. She worked as an article editor for the Harvard Environmental Law Review and in research assistant roles for projects related to tribal land acquisition, tribal constitutions, and the newest edition of Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian law. She was a Cravath International Legal Fellow for her work in Aoteoroa/New Zealand on the environmental benefits of Indigenous self-determination rights under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and a T.A. Barron Fellow for public interest environmental law for her work as a summer law clerk at the Native American Rights Fund. She held additional law clerk positions at the Department of Justice – Environment and Natural Resources Division and the White House Council on Environmental Quality through Harvard’s Environmental Law and Policy Clinic.
Maltais served as an adjunct lecturer in legal studies at Brandeis University in 2023, teaching a class on Indigenous rights, environmental justice, and Indian law. After graduation, she plans to serve as a judicial law clerk for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The American Indian Law School scholarship application window closes March 25. Applications are open to American Indian or Alaska Natives who are enrolled tribal members or lineal descendants of an enrolled parent or grandparent. Interested students should complete the application through the College Fund’s web portal.