ENV 775b/LAW () / 2022-2023
Federal Indian Law
Spring 2023: Tu,Th, 2:10-3:35, SLB tbd
This course will cover the basics of federal Indian law. It will not address the substantive content of tribal law. Tribal law is a specialized study arising from the exercise of the legal authority that the tribes retain. This course is designed to lay the ground work for a deep understanding of what kinds of sovereignty Indian nations may exercise within the framework of our legal system.
Normally, courses of this type begin with an historical exploration of the foundations of the relations between Indian and non-Indian peoples. Instead, we will begin with questions that are current and sketch out, roughly, where we are now. Typically, we start with cases pending before or recently decided by the Supreme Court. We use the Marshall Trilogy to build from the present back to the origins to see how the doctrines reflect the positive aspects of the legal expression of contact between Europe and the native nations of the Western hemisphere as well as the more malign aspects. We will also situate the doctrinal evolution of federal Indian law with the struggle over colonialism as expressed in the insular cases. We will not neglect the history; it will prove critical for understanding the ways in which federal Indian law is sui generis in domestic jurisprudence, but we will see how that history is always haunted by the specter of colonialism, extra-legality, and finally international legal norms. Every student must complete the discussion question requirements to sit for the examination or to submit a paper. Self-scheduled examination or paper option.
Note: Students are required to attend the first day of class.