Course - Law


Recommended Courses:

International Human Rights, Federal Indian Law


This three-credit course provides students with an overview of the practice and theory of international human rights law and policy as it has developed to address in particular the concerns of indigenous peoples worldwide. It supplements and bridges the law school’s Federal Indian Law and International Human Rights courses, although neither of those two courses are prerequisites. This area of international human rights law now forms an important part of the legal practice and scholarship concerning indigenous peoples in the United States and other parts of the world.  Given the doctrinal and practical limitations of domestic legal systems, indigenous peoples worldwide increasingly look to the processes of international human rights law as tools in their efforts to survive as distinct communities with historically-based cultures, political institutions, and entitlements to traditional or ancestral lands. Indigenous peoples’ demands have generated a great deal of activity within global and regional human rights institutions, placing the concerns of these peoples at the forefront of international human rights law.


This course should be if interest, not just to those interested in the law as in concerns indigenous peoples, but also to those interested in human rights more generally. The focus on indigenous peoples provides a means of examining the evolution of the international system for the protection of human rights as it grapples with issues of inter-cultural understanding and group rights, beyond addressing classic individual rights, in an increasingly globalized world.


Particular attention in the course will be paid to developments in the United Nations as well as in regional and specialized international institutions, and to how those developments have practical applications for indigenous peoples within the United States and selected other countries.


Anaya, International Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples, and supplemental materials

Course Format

Lecture, class discussion, and problem simulation based on assigned readings and occasional videos.

Written Assignments

Reaction papers of 2-4 pages each, for 10 of the 12 reading assignments or problem simulations.

Type of Exam


Basis for grading

Written assignments - 80%; class participation - 20%

Additional Comments


The class will meet in three-hour sessions 12 times during the semester.

Print this Course Description