Humboldt State University

College of Professional Studies Logo

An Interview with Alumni Jim Glaze

Jim Glaze and Family
Tribal Attorney

Jim Glaze received a BA in Language studies and Philosophy from HSU in 1984 and went on to pursue a MA in linguistics from UC San Diego and a Jurisprudence Degree from U.C Davis. He has worked as a tribal rights attorney, as a legal consultant, and has assisted tribal clients in litigation, negotiations, and a wide range of other matters. 

What are you passionate about?

’m a tribal attorney, that’s been my career with a law firm that focuses on representing Indian tribal governments and I just recently semi-retired. I’ve got a lot more free time now, but I’m also a dad. I have two 26 year old twins who are in college, and two boys who are 7 and 10. They both love sports, so we spend a lot of time going to baseball, football, and basketball games. 

What was it like to be a student at HSU?

When I went up to HSU I was really young and was trying to figure out my way in the world. I was in a wonderful program that doesn’t exist anymore called Cluster. It incorporated alternative education con-cepts and allowed you to take all your general education classes over the course of one year with a group at what was called the “Cluster House.” I was really able to bond with the students and Professors. 

How do you think HSU and other life experiences prepared you for your profession?

One of my professors through the Cluster program was working on a native language preservation project with the Hoopa tribe. About five of us students went with him to help Hoopa Natives create a phonetic alphabet for their oral language so they could teach their language in Elementary Schools. At the time, there were only about eight or nine original speakers of their native language who were getting old and trying to preserve it. It was interesting because I had these points of contact with native tribes and now in my career I work with tribal leaders.

What have you taken away from your work in tribal rights?

It was a wonderful career. I still do it, I’m still a counselor. To do work that is about helping indigenous tribes preserve their culture and lands and help better the life of their people is really meaningful. You can study these big problems and write reports and that’s important, but it was really powerful to help individual people and see the changes right away. With tribes, they don’t take you in quickly. You have to show your interest and your desire to be a full partner and also come at it with a humble heart, not acting like you know it all. 

What would your message to HSU be?

I think it’s important to keep in mind that you don’t have to know ex-actly what your path is. Find what you really love to do. Give yourself a chance to discover your life’s purpose and career rather than fol-lowing a path because you feel you have to.