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Affilitiated Faculty

College News and Events

National Leader and Scholar, Melissa Tatum, Joins Indigenous People’s Law and Policy Program at Arizona Law

Melissa L. Tatum, known nationwide for her work in Federal Indian law and indigenous peoples’ rights, has been named Associate Director of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy (IPLP) Program at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.

Professor Tatum will initially teach in the areas of federal Indian law and tribal government, and will be responsible for the administration of the IPLP LL.M. and S.J.D. graduate degree programs. Law Professor and IPLP Program Director Robert A. Williams described her hiring as a “profoundly important step in taking the IPLP program to the next level.”

“We already have a mature program with a well-established global reputation in education, research, and advocacy,” Williams noted, “Attracting a faculty member with Professor Tatum’s experience and skills in all three of these areas is a testament to our strength, and an indication of how the IPLP program will continue to grow.”

As the current Co-Director of the Native American Law Center at the University of Tulsa College of Law, Professor Tatum has been involved in many academic and professional activities that complement IPLP projects at the University of Arizona.

She was a consultant for the Navajo Nation Rules Harmonization Project, directed the graduate law program in American Indian and Indigenous Law, and chaired numerous projects and professional groups related to indigenous peoples and women in legal education. She is widely published on topics ranging from cultural property protection to white collar crime jurisdiction to the handling of domestic violence cases by tribal courts.

Professor Tatum has taught a variety of general courses in the areas of constitutional law, juvenile law, torts, and criminal procedure in addition to her work in indigenous peoples’ rights. She also taught at Wayne State University Law School, Michigan State University School of Law, and the University of Detroit Mercy Law School.

Her experience in judicial process is extensive. After graduating magna cum laude from University of Michigan Law School in 1992, Professor Tatum was a federal judicial clerk at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Between 1999 and 2006 she served as a judge on the Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals.

Professor Tatum will relocate from Tulsa and join the Arizona Law faculty in January 2009.

Updated: 05/20/2008