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Courses|College of Law

American Indian Law

Call Number: 26643
Course Number: 6700-01
Professor: Debra L. Donahue
Credit Hours & Type of Credit: 3
Semester Offered: Fall
Required: No
Prerequisites: Students must have completed their first year of law school.
Recommended Courses: None

Course Overview: This course surveys the law that applies to Native Americans and tribal governments. The course deals primarily with federal law because of the unique relationship between the federal government and tribes, which are sovereign entities, and because federal law affects or governs most Native American activities. The main issues are jurisdictional; that is, they concern the allocation of legislative (or regulatory) and judicial (both civil and criminal) jurisdiction among federal, tribal, and state governments. History has played a crucial role in the evolution of federal Indian Law and is a prominent consideration in the course. We will also examine how Congress and the Supreme Court have molded the law in this area. Other topics include: family law, hunting and fishing, taxation, gaming, and protection of natural resources and the environment on tribal lands.

Course Materials: See the current Book List located under Courses and Curriculum.
Course Format: Lecture and discussion.
Written Assignments: None
Type of Exam: Open book final exam.
Basis for Grading Student Performance: Student performance will be assessed on the final exam and class participation.
Other Comments: Elements of Indian law are intertwined with several core subjects, including constitutional law, property law, civil procedure, and contract law. In addition, Indian law issues overlap issues arising in other areas, including water, environmental, and public lands law. This course should be of special value to any student who plans to practice in Wyoming or the West, where most Indian country is located. Students interested in business, natural resources development, environmental protection, constitutional law, family law, judicial activism, ethics, and history should find all or portions of the materials fascinating.

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