The University of Arizona's James E. Rogers College of Law offers 20 - 30 credit hours of specialized courses each Fall and each Spring semester focusing on all aspects of Indian and Indigenous law (and that doesn't include related law classes or other graduate classes on campus). The number and variety of courses means students can either pursue a general course of study or can choose to sub-specialize in areas such as human rights, cultural resources, and environmental law.
Native American Natural Resources
This course will examine several themes: conflicts over which government has sovereign control over which resources; the role that tribal governments play in natural resource allocation and management; questions relating to ownership of natural resources; changing federal policies relating to natural resources allocation; the role of federal courts, Congress and Executive branches in relation to the trust responsibilities to protect tribal lands and resources; environmental protection, including EPA policy in relation to Indian Reservations; and natural resources development and management. Full course description...
Who Owns Native Culture
This 2-credit course examines cultural heritage protection and the redefinition of indigenous peoples’ heritage as a proprietary resource. Discussion will include select case law, the ethical and economic issues raised by the worldwide circulation of indigenous art, music, and biological knowledge, and the fundamental dichotomy of heritage as a protected resource within a multicultural society. Full course description...
International Human Rights Advocacy Workshop
IPLP represents Indigenous communities and other groups before a variety of international human rights bodies, including the Organization of American States and United Nations. Students will have the opportunity to work on these cases. Full course description...
UN Special Rapporteur Support Team Workshop
This course provides instruction on the procedures and methods of international human rights advocacy. While the position of United Nations Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples is held by Professor Anaya, the course will engage students in work to assist him in that position. Full course description...
Gaming and Gambling
After Indian Tribes won the right to regulate gaming within their jurisdictions in the Supreme Court, Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 which created the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), and struck a balance between state, tribal, and federal interests. This course will explore the IGRA statute ,as well as and issues involved in tribal gaming from the tribal, state and federal perspectives. Topics include (but are not limited to): The role of the NIGC, the division between Class II and Class III gaming, gaming compacts between states and tribes, and taking land into trust. Full course description...
This course will explore critical nation-building issues confronting Indigenous peoples in North America, with a primary focus on Native peoples in the United States. The course will examine multi-dimensional settings that confront Native societies and their social, cultural, political, educational, and economic leaders. The issues to be analyzed include: economic development, politics, culture and identity; and leadership and institution-building. Issues, concepts, and theories examined in the course will provide a basis for examining current Indigenous institutions of self-government; assessing policies of federal, First Nation/tribal, and state/provincial governments; analyzing how to enhance the foundational capacities for effective governance and for strategic attacks on education, economic, and community development problems of Native nations; and augmenting leadership skills, knowledge, and abilities for nation-building. Course participants will link concepts of politics, economics, and culture, with nation-building and leadership through readings, discussions, case studies, short assignments, mid-term exam, and a final exam.
Native American Economic Development
The emergence of a burgeoning Native American economy over the past thirty years has become a central goal in the exercise of successful tribal self-determination. Native American economic development has been studied in relation to the efforts of tribal entrepreneurs on the reservation, trial governments seeking to creat employment opportunities for their members, and a range of cooperative agreements between tribal, state and federal authorities. This course will examine the scope and content of Native American economic development with reference to the legal and regulatory framework at the tribal, state, and federal level. Attention will be given to the role of institutions that tribal governments deal with and how their business dealings transcend into deeper institutional knowledge and information sharing. Case studies will be employed to assist in discussion and analysis. In this regard, students will review the basic tenants that define specific business structures and will apply them to the case studies (i.e., the tribally owned corporation). This exploration will also include reference to tribal leasing, debt instruments, management agreements, and the enforcement of commercial transactions in tribal court. Full course description...
Conflict of Laws
This course will examine three major concepts: Which government can apply its law to regulate particular activities (choice of law), which courts can hear disputes regarding particular activities (choice of forum), and the extent to which one government must recognize the court decisions issued by another government's courts. These topics are of both practical and theoretical importance. Practically speaking, both litigators and transactional attorneys must understand and know how to work with choice of law and choice of forum principles. Theoretically, these concepts explore the ways in which different governmental systems relate to each other. Primary emphasis will be placed on domestic US law, particularly that of state governments. The course will also include an examination of how tribal governments and tribal courts fit into the U.S. system. Full course description...
International Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples
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. Full course description...
Comparative Law on Indigenous Peoples
aims to identify common and divergent trends between different countries and regions of the world and assess them in light of contemporary international human rights standards. Full course description...
Critical Race Theory
explores the legal history of racism in the post-colonial and post-modern West from critical race and post-colonial theoretical and practice-oriented clinical perspectives. Full course description...
The Law, Policy, and Economics of Contemporary Native Nation Building
Using numerous case studies and extensive research on what is working and what is not working to promote the social, political, cultural and economic strengthening of American Indian nations, the course emphasizes themes applicable to community development worldwide. Full course description...
and Tribal Law
emphasis is on American Indian tribal governments, tribal courts, tribal peacemaking, tribal laws, and American Indian customary law, with a special focus on Navajo common law as a case study model. Full course description...
Dissertation (for SJD students only)
For SJD students who are working on their dissertation. Meeting times are arranged individually between the student and the chair of the dissertation committee.
Students work under the supervision of a faculty member to write a publishable paper or complete a comparable project. Arrangements with the supervising faculty member must be made prior to registration.
With prior approval, students may also spend up to 5 credits in an internship.
Moot Court National Team
Students who represent the University of Arizona at the National NALSA Moot Court Competition may be eligible to receive course credit for doing so. Each student must consult the law school policies to determine whether the student meets the requirements.
Jurisdiction in Indian Country
A combination of federal statutes and court decisions have created different set of rules for civil and criminal jurisdiction in Indian country than exists for the rest of the United States. This course will explore those rules, primarily through a series of hypothetical problems. Full course description...
Tribal Court Clinic
Students provide research support to tribes and tribal courts in Arizona and the Southwest, including serving as law clerks, drafting rules and procedures, drafting training materials, drafting statutes and other projects as identified. Topics concerning tribal courts and tribal law will be discussed during class. Full course description...
From time to time, the College of Law offers other courses or cross-lists other courses offered across campus. In recent years, these have included:
- Anthropology, Colonialism and the Law
- Cultural Property
- Who Owns Native Culture
For a full listing of law school courses and course descriptions, see the College of Law's complete course listing.