Philip S. “Sam” Deloria

Philip S. “Sam” Deloria is a Yankton Dakota descendant, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of Fort Yates, North Dakota, and a lifetime advocate for Native American peoples and politics. He is the former director of the American Indian Law Center, Inc. (AILC) and the American Indian Graduate Center, Inc. (AIGC), both based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

At AILC, he was responsible for policy, staff, budget, and management and served as president of the AILC Board of Directors. He oversaw the organization’s efforts to conduct research and provide legal technical assistance and training to American Indian tribal governments. He also focused on inter-governmental relationships and the federal domestic assistance program delivery system. For almost 40 years, he ran the organization’s Special Scholarship Program, a pre-law prep program that provided scholarship assistance to law students. The program evolved into the Pre-Law Summer Institute, a comprehensive program that prepares Native American students for law school and remains in existence today. 

As director of the AIGC, he oversaw the efforts of the national, private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to provide scholarships and fellowships to American Indian and Alaska Native graduate students throughout the United States. 

Deloria is a founding delegate and a former secretary-general of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples, an international organization comprising Indigenous representatives from 19 nations. He is also a founder of the Commission on State-Tribal Relations and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs-Policy, U.S. Department of the Interior.  

He received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University, where he also attended law school.