Shawn Watts

Director, Strategic Initiatives

Shawn has dedicated his entire legal career to Indian law. He joined The Christensen Fund in 2021 after having most recently served as director of the Tribal Law & Government Center, Tribal Judicial Support Clinic, and Mediation Clinic at Kansas University. Prior to KU Law, Shawn taught at Columbia Law School in New York City where he was the associate director of the Mediation Program and also taught a Native American Peacemaking Clinic at both Columbia Law School and Yale Law School. As a law professor, Shawn specialized in helping tribal courts to integrate traditional and customary tribal justice practices. In addition to his work with Indian tribes and tribal organizations, Shawn is also a lead trainer and formal partner for the United Nations Institute of Training and Research where he trains and advises world diplomats on the issues facing the world's Indigenous Peoples. He also provides the U.N. training and curriculum on conflict resolution, negotiation, and peace dialogue. A citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Shawn is also a district court judge for the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. Shawn lives in Kansas City, Missouri