Course Details

American Indian Law

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. Federal Indian law is of obvious relevance to those students with an interest in our indigenous nations and their 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 Federal Indian law is crucial for any lawyer who represents a tribe or advises investors whose capital is to be connected, even if only in a tenuous way, with a federally recognized tribe. After covering the foundational material, this course examines in greater depth selected specialized areas such as: civil and criminal jurisdiction within Indian country; missing and murdered indigenous women; environmental law; taxation; cultural and religious freedoms; child welfare law; gaming; economic development; reserved water rights; food sovereignty; cultural sovereignty; and hunting and fishing rights. The areas to be covered will be determined early in the first half of the course. Text: Robert Anderson, Bethany Berger, Sarah Krakoff, Phillip Frickey, American Indian Law: Cases and Commentary 3rd ed. (West Academic Publishing 2015) ISBN 9780314290236

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 2020
Title: American Indian Law
Faculty: Zimmerman, Clifford (courses | profile)
Section: 1     Credits: 2.0
Capacity: 25     Actual: 22

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