Trudell Guerue, 1966
Paratrooper, Lawyer, Tribal Judge
Trudell “Butch” Guerue came to Vermont Academy in his junior year. He was a member of the Lakota Sioux and grew up on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. He came to Vermont Academy for two years through the A Better Chance Program. He had his sights set on attending Dartmouth College, but when he was not accepted, he enlisted for Airborne Infantry.
He then attended Artillery Officer Candidate School and was commissioned at age 20. He spent time in Germany before going to Vietnam and made the rank of captain. After being wounded in action while serving as the artillery forward observer with Company A, 2d Battalion, 503, Parachute Infantry, 173 Airborne Brigade, Butch was accepted at Dartmouth for the class of 1974.
He later received his law degree from Notre Dame. His accomplishments and loyalties to his native heritage describe the type of man Butch is. He is a dedicated advocate for equal justice under the law and has been called by his colleagues a “guiding light.” As an attorney, he is responsible for the legal representation of clients at the Legal Rights Center (LRC), a nonprofit, poverty and criminal defense law firm in Hennepin County, Minnesota. The LRC supports and represents low-income people and people of color who have legal problems associated with juvenile justice, criminal justice and child welfare systems. Through a variety of programs, the LRC helps build stronger communities by reducing the number of individuals who enter or return to the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
Guerue has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Northern Plains Tribal Court Judges Association in South Dakota and the National American Indian Court Judges Association in Washington, DC. From 1980-1984 he served as Associate Judge and then Chief Judge for the South Dakota Intertribal Court of Appeals, and was Chief Judge for the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Court. He clerked for the Honorable Bernard P. Becker, U.S. Magistrate Judge in Minnesota and later worked as a staff attorney at the Office of Appeals for the Social Security Administration in Minnesota. Guerue was presented a Social Justice Award at Dartmouth, for “significant contributions to the fields of civil rights, education, environmental justice, public service and public health.” He also sits on the Native American Visiting Committee at Dartmouth College. - Awarded September 30, 2006