Course Details

American Indian Law

Federal Indian law is of obvious relevance to those with an interest in our indigenous tribes and populations. Less obvious, however, is the importance of rulings in the field for law more broadly defined. For example, Chief Justice John Marshall's opinions in the so-called Cherokee cases of the early 1800s were foundational in determining the obligation of states to abide by decisions of the Supreme Court. Further, understanding of Federal Indian law is crucial for any lawyer representing tribes or advising investors whose capital is to be connected, even if only in a tenuous way, with Indian tribes or reservations. This course provides an overview of federal Indian law, including the nature and history of the tribal?federal legal and political relationship, basic legal definitions within federal Indian law (such as what is "Indian country"), canons of construction unique to Indian law, tribal sovereignty and its protection, basic questions of federal and state authority within Indian country, and tribal, federal, and state jurisdiction in Indian country according to default rules as well as special statutory regimes. Specific topics for study and analysis include the foundational doctrines of original Indian title; inherent tribal sovereignty; congressional plenary authority over American Indian affairs; and the federal trust duty to protect American Indian lands and rights. These doctrines' impact on the contemporary lives, resources, cultures, and rights of the American Indian peoples will be evaluated within selected legal frameworks. After covering the foundational material, this course examines in greater depth selected specialized areas such as: (a) civil and criminal jurisdiction within Indian country; (b) Indian natural resources law; (c) Indian environmental law; (d) Indian taxation; (e) Indian cultural and religious freedoms; (f) Indian child welfare law; (g) Indian gaming; (h) Indian economic development; (i) Indian reserved water rights; and (j) Indian hunting and fishing rights. Registration Requirements: Recommended - Constitutional Law Eval Method: Grading by class attendance and participation, several class-wide writing assignments, and a research paper on a topic of the student's choosing with prior approval of the professor. Class Materials: Carole E. Goldberg, Rebecca Tsosie, Robert N. Clinton, Angela R. Riley, American Indian Law: Native Nations and the Federal System, (7th ed. 2015) Carolina Academic Press ISBN 978-1-6328-0967-4 Other readings as assigned.

Catalog Number: CONPUB 633
Practice Areas: Comparative Law Practice AreaConstitutional Law & ProcedureLaw and Social Science
Additional Course Information: Open to First Year Students,  Research Writing


Course History

Spring 2019
Title: American Indian Law
Faculty: Zimmerman, Clifford (courses | profile)
Section: 1     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 25     Actual: 10