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Founders of ACES


Joseph Austin

Founder and CEO

Mr. Austin is a member of the Navajo Nation. He has a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in business administration and management from the University of Arizona, Eller College of Management. He received a law degree (J.D.) and a certificate in Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy from the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law. He also received a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in International Economic Law & Policy from the same institution.


Prior to founding and establishing OSA, Mr. Austin practiced, and continues to practice, law as a solo practitioner. Currently, he manages his own law practice, the Law Office of Joseph Austin. In prior years, he served as a prosecutor for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and worked as a law clerk for the Law Offices of Thomas Higgins PLLC and Barnhouse, Keegan, Solimon & West LLP. He is licensed to practice in state and various tribal courts; his areas of practice are in federal Indian law and tribal law. Mr. Austin specializes in nation building, customary law, business, economic development, and international trade. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) and continuing the work he did in the Master of Laws program—the engagement of international trade among Native Nations. Mr. Austin’s passion for helping Native Nations achieve self-determination and uprooting the systematic abuses perpetuated by federal Indian law has earned him the moniker, the Wolf of Indian Country.


Adam Crepelle

Founder and President

Mr. Crepelle is an enrolled citizen of the United Houma Nation and has served on the tribe’s election committee, diabetes coalition, and tribal security and community services committee. He is a former vice president of the California Indian Law Association and is a co-founder of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana. He has authored several articles on topics including tribal federal recognition, violence against American Indian women, and American Indian economic development. Adam is also an award winning film producer. His film, Indian Santa, screened at numerous venues including the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. He is currently a professor of law at Southern University Law Center and also serves as a justice for the Pascua Yaqui Court of Appeals.

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Ernest Sickey

Founder and Chairman of the Board

As a leader of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana for nearly three decades and tribal chairman from 1973 to 1985, Ernest Sickey is a trailblazer in the evolution of Indian affairs in the southeastern United States. He is best known for leading his own tribal community from legal obscurity to becoming the first tribe recognized by the state of Louisiana in 1972. Sickey also played an instrumental role in securing government-to-government status for the Coushatta tribe, laying the foundation for multiple economic ventures that have since placed the Coushatta among Louisiana’s top employers.


Sickey continues to serve as an advisor to the Coushatta Tribal Council and to other tribal governments in addressing economic and social development. Sickey lobbied the Louisiana legislature to create an Office of Indian Affairs, for which he served as its first executive director, and was among the founders of the Louisiana Inter-Tribal Council and Institute for Indian Development.

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