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Janie Hipp, Law, Faculty,Janie Simms Hipp, J.D., LL.M. (Chickasaw)

(479) 575-4699

Janie Simms Hipp, J.D., LL.M. (Chickasaw) is Founding Director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law. She is an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation.

Prior to launching the Initiative, she served in the Obama Administration as the Senior Advisor for Tribal Relations to Secretary Tom Vilsack, and prior to her appointment within the Office of the Secretary she served in the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, as the National Program Leader for Farm Financial Management, Risk Management Education, Trade Adjustment Assistance, and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. She also served at USDA Risk Management Agency as the Risk Management Education Director. Prior to her work in Washington, DC, at the national level, she has had a long career in the field of agriculture and food law.

She has been a licensed attorney in Oklahoma for more than 30 years and specializes in food and agriculture law and Indian law.

Colby Duren, J.D.

Policy Director and Staff Attorney

Colby is the Policy Director and Staff Attorney for the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law. Based in Washington, DC, Colby has nearly 10 years of experience in federal Indian law and policy, with a specific focus on food, agriculture, and natural resources issues.

Prior to joining the Initiative, Colby served as a Staff Attorney and Legislative Counsel for the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in Washington, DC, advocating on behalf of Tribal Nations on land, natural resources, and agriculture issues, including the 2014 Farm Bill. Previously, he was a Legal Assistant for the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) Washington, DC office, and a Paralegal and Legislative Assistant at a Washington, DC law firm specializing in food and agriculture, and represented Tribes on land reparation and agriculture issues.

Colby earned his law degree from the American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC, and his Bachelor of Arts from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. He is licensed to practice in Maryland, the District of Columbia, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and the Supreme Court of the United States. In 2016, Colby was nominated by the Native American Bar Association of Washington, DC for its Significant Contribution in Indian Law Award for his work on environmental issues in Indian Country.

Dr. H.L. Goodwin, Ph.D.

Senior Economist (retired)

Dr. Goodwin is a Professor and Poultry Economist at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, a Senior Economist at the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative, and the Director of Student Networking and Curriculum Enhancement for Bumper’s College. He joined the faculty of the University of Arkansas’ Center of Excellence for Poultry Science in Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness in December 1997.

Prior to joining the university, he was the Agricultural and Food Systems Policy Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture in Slovakia and a Fulbright Scholar in Czechoslovakia. He was faculty at Texas A&M’s Department of Agricultural Economics and served as the Associate Director of the Texas Agriculture Market Research Center. He received his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Oklahoma State University in 1982.  Dr. Goodwin has been involved for many years in food safety training.

Josiah Griffin

Program Specialist

Josiah is the program specialist and is located in the Washington office.

Griffin most recently served in the US Department of Agriculture’s Office of Tribal Relations as outreach and communication coordinator, advising USDA leadership on tribal implications of proposed regulatory policies and expanding outreach to Indian Country on available federal resources.

A native Hawaiian, Griffin graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor of science degree in agricultural leadership and development, focusing on communications, and is certified in mediation from Blinn College.

Sandy Martini

Administration and Programs Director/Staff Economist & Food Safety Coordinator
(479) 575-4434

Sandy is the Director of Administration, a staff economist, and the food safety coordinator for the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative. Her primary responsibilities are grant management, food safety training coordination, data collection and analysis, team building, and development of business planning, record keeping and risk management materials for producers.

She brings with her 10 years of experience facilitating training and workshops for produce growers and beef producers on business planning and management, seven years managing the grant program at Extension Risk Management Education Center, and 11 years managing research projects focused on poultry economics, poultry compost, Farm Service Agency direct loan programs, and food safety recalls.

Sandy earned a master of science in agricultural economics from the University of Arkansas in 2002.



Erin Shirl, Law, Faculty,Erin Parker, J.D., LL.M.

Research Director and Staff Attorney
(479) 575-6572

Erin currently serves as the Research Director of the Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law, where she supports the Initiative through program development, research and writing, and analysis of legislative and regulatory issues affecting Tribal governments, businesses, and individual producers. The bulk of her professional work centers on the tension between the tectonic plates of food & agricultural law and federal Indian law, and as part of this work, she will be part of a team of Initiative attorneys developing a Tribal Model Food & Agriculture Code. Most recently, she authored the 2015 Intertribal Food Systems Report, which lifts up nearly one-hundred different innovative food systems programs doing work across Indian Country. This work was generously supported by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the report should be released in early spring 2016.

Before beginning her work with the Initiative, she worked as a Staff Attorney and Research Coordinator for the Cobell Commission, a national working group convened by the Secretary of the Interior to repair the federal government’s Indian land trust management system. She is a proud Law Hog and holds both her J.D. and her LL.M. in Agricultural & Food Law from the University of Arkansas, and her final thesis for the LL.M. program was a practical legal guide to conducting food recovery in the state of Arkansas. She continues to advance her work in the area of food conservation law and policy by volunteering her time and experience to the law school’s Food Recovery Project. 

9097_Bryan_Pollard lawBryan Pollard (Cherokee)

Communications Director
(479) 575-3765

Bryan Pollard is the Communications Director for the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative.

Prior to joining the Initiative, Pollard was the executive editor of the Cherokee Phoenix, the tribal news organization for the Cherokee Nation based in Tahlequah, Okla. During his term as executive editor, Bryan expanded the audience of the Cherokee Phoenix by improving the quality of the newspaper and launching an array of digital products such as a responsive, multimedia website, a daily electronic newsletter, a weekly radio show, news videos, and the adoption of social media platforms. He also positioned the organization to play a vital role in revitalizing the Cherokee language by using the Cherokee syllabary in many of its print and digital products. As a result, the Cherokee Phoenix was recognized as one of the best newspapers in the state of Oklahoma and all of Indian Country.

Bryan is a lifetime member and current president of the Native American Journalists Association and is a member of NAJA’s Free Press Committee. He sits on the board of directors for the High Country News and UNITY: Journalists for Diversity. In 2014, he was awarded the Medill Milestone Achievement Award by Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism for outstanding contributions to Native journalism.

Toni Stinger 1 small_0367 copyToni Stanger-Mclaughlin, J.D. (Colville)

Director of Tribal Governance

Toni is the owner of a consulting firm and the founder of After graduating law school she began working for the United States Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in Washington DC. During her time in Civil Rights, she led the office in reviewing thousands of outstanding claims as well as the settlement of the Keepseagle Opt-Outs, resulting in the protection of over 380,000 acres of tribal land from foreclosure.

Toni moved from Civil Rights to the USDA Office of the Secretary where she represented the Department in working with the United States Forest Service on improving sacred sites policies. She now works with tribes in lending, business and infrastructure development, code writing and agricultural development.

Consulting Attorneys

Christina Murphy Lusk, J.D. Candidate

Research Assistant

Christina currently serves as a Research Assistant for the Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Before beginning her work with the Initiative, Christina worked as the Chief Development Officer and Vice President of East Harding Construction, overseeing new business acquisition, CRM and corporate strategy.

Now a Law Hog, Christina is pursuing a J.D. with interests in AML Compliance and Construction and Real Estate Law.

Nezzie2Dave Nezzie, J.D. (Navajo)

Dave is a LL.M. candidate in Agriculture & Food Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. He received a J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law with program certificates in Federal Indian Law and Natural Resources & Environmental Law. Nezzie attended Arizona State University as an undergraduate, earning concurrent degrees in Anthropology and American Indian Studies. Nezzie is a tribal member from the Navajo Nation and resides near Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife and three children.