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Karen Biestman
Lecturer in Law


Karen Biestman is the Associate Dean and Director of the Native American Cultural Center, and teaches by invitation at the Law School and the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in the areas of Federal Indian Law, Indian Country Economic Development, and American Indian Religious Freedom.

Prior to 2011, she taught at UC Berkeley in the Law School, American Studies, and Native American Studies, and served as Assistant Dean of Students and Coordinator of Native American Studies. She left academia for one year to serve as Director of Indian Education for the Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX, in San Francisco to develop a national curriculum on "Working Effectively with Tribal Governments".

The common thread in her professional roles is the unwavering commitment to promoting academic excellence and institutional support for Native students, and creating intellectual forums for thoughtful discourse around critical issues impacting Native communities, their lands, cultures, and sovereignty. The latter drives a broad, comparative, and inclusive agenda in the academy and beyond. Karen continues to consult in Indian Country, with non-profits, and with federal, state and tribal governments on a broad range of Indian Affairs.

She serves generously on boards, including currently as Vice President of the Board of the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center. She received both her B.A. and J.D. from U.C. Berkeley.