Daniel Paul Nelson

Work Experience

Co-director, Lakota People’s Law Project (aka Lakota Law)                             Apr 2021-present

■         (Ongoing) Overseeing partnership with Loyola University Chicago to develop academic archive of footage, transcripts, and court documents related to the Dakota Access Pipeline 

■         (‘22) Oversaw Lakota Law attorneys’ authoring of amicus brief with U.S. Sen. James Abourezk for Supreme Court case Brackeen v. Haaland (ICWA)

■         (‘22) Oversaw Lakota Law’s role as plaintiff in successful lawsuit against South Dakota for violation of the National Voter Registration Act

■         (‘21) Lakota Law acknowledged by New York Times for playing role in Deb Haaland’s appointment as first Native American interior secretary 

Director, Lakota People’s Law Project                                                                 Sep 2016-Mar 2021

■         (‘20) Partnered with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to manage phone bank, made 250,000 calls into Indian Country activating Indigenous voters for national election

■         (‘19) Produced 2 events in Dakotas with Greta Thunberg

■         (‘19) Managed media for Ponca elder Nathan Phillips when he was accosted by MAGA hat-wearing youth at the Indigenous People’s March (became global news story)

■         (‘18) Partnered with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to manage 100 tribal canvassers, activated voters after ballot suppression law passed by North Dakota (became a major national news story)

■         (‘17) Worked with Lakota Law attorneys to publicize legal defense of Chase Iron Eyes, lobbied North Dakota to drop charges against water protectors, garnered 50,000 signatures and reached tens of thousands in festival tour.

Director, Let’s Green CA! (subsidiary of the Romero Institute)                       Jan 2016-Aug 2016

■         Doubled size of Central Coast Community Energy, CA’s largest community choice energy program at the time, by recruiting low-income municipalities of color to join program. Lobbied leaders of 14 cities and 3 counties. Partnered with farmworkers, environmentalists, labor, and Catholic Diocese.

Director of Media & Outreach, Bhakti Fest                                                              Jun 2015-Oct 2015

■         Bhakti Fest is the longest running yoga and sacred music festival in the United States

Operations Manager, Full Circle Venice                                                                   Dec 2014-Jun 2015

■         Full Circle Venice is an art space in Venice Beach, CA. The project was featured by the Los Angeles Times and ABC’s Nightline during my tenure.

Academic Tutor, DOME Prep/Ivy Prep/private clients                                       Aug 2014-Jun 2015

■         Tutored the SAT and all high school subjects

Field Coordinator, South Side Health and Vitality Studies                                      Jun-Aug 2014

■         SSHV is a program of the University of Chicago that conducts annual surveys of business enterprises on the low-income south side of Chicago.  Field coordinator duties include overseeing and mentoring high school youth employees.

Organizer, Lakota People’s Law Project (subsidiary of the Romero Institute) May 2011-Aug 2013                                                              

■         Organized first-of-its-kind Lakota foster care summit in Rapid City, SD. Oversaw writing of report to Congress, prepared with the nine Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) directors of South Dakota, articulating violations of ICWA by SD. Covered by NPR (whom we invited to South Dakota and who won a Peabody Award for the series). Campaign elicited a condemnatory letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs by Rep. (now Sen.) Ed Markey.

■         Designed and course-assisted class taught by Lakota Law chief counsel Daniel Sheehan at UC Santa Cruz. Explicated implications for justice of eight famous cases Attorney Sheehan played a central role in, including Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee (Supreme Court) and Avirgan v Hull (helped break the Iran-Contra scandal). Numerous students reported the class was the best they’d taken at UC Santa Cruz, and five students interned at Lakota Law.

Secretary-Treasurer, Romero Institute                             May 2011-Aug 2013, Jan 2016-present

Project Developer, Romero Institute                                                                Feb 2004-Sep 2006

Founder/Coordinator, Democreation Project                                                       Aug 2003-Feb 2004

■         During 2004 presidential primary, created 7-month initiative for Dennis Kucinich for President Campaign. Led young artist/activists who produced 3 major music events with Kucinich and undertook biodiesel bus tour from California to New Hampshire, receiving coverage from CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, U.S. News & World Report,NPR, BBC, MTV, and C-SPAN.

Researcher/Writer, Romero Institute                                                                                2000-2003

■         The Romero Institute is a nonprofit, public interest law firm based in Santa Cruz, CA

Academic Tutor                                                                                               May 1998-August 2008

■         Tutored the SAT and all junior-year high school subjects


Brown University, admit (Ph.D., Political Theory)                                                        Spring 2015    

University of Chicago, M.A. (Social Science)                                                                      2013-2014   

GPA: 3.6

Harvard College, B.A.  (Social Studies)                                                            1997-1998, 2008-2011

GPA 3.6. Graduated cum laude with High Honors in Social Studies. Won the Dudley House Book Prize for the “Dudley House student who has shown the greatest promise and progress during his/her years at Harvard.”        

Sarah Lawrence College                                                                                                      2006-2008

GPA 3.9 Studied political theory and music