There are a variety of factors that should be considered when designing the curriculum for a course on Indian law. Students should learn to read for content, interpret legal language and symbols, and gain an understanding of who makes, implements, and interprets the law.
American Indians are sorely underrepresented in the legal profession. But there is a greater need for more Native attorneys now than ever. By offering lay advocate, paralegal, or pre-law programs, TCUs can make a major difference.
Teaching tribal college students about Indian law and policy can be an emotional and challenging endeavor. The process, however, can galvanize and empower them to work for change in their own communities and in Indian Country as a whole.
An attorney, TCU president, former tribal chairman, and rancher, Ron His Horse Is Thunder discusses how his legal training opened up doors for him and his tribe.
One only needs to look at the career of Menominee activist Ada Deer to see how an understanding of the law can have far-reaching ramifications. Quite simply, Indian Country needs more Indian lawyers.
The lack of lay advocates and attorneys representing Native defendants creates tremendous problems for tribal members who find themselves in civil or criminal court.
A trained attorney, the president of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium has made it her life work to advocate on behalf of all Native peoples. The state of the tribal college movement today underscores her efficacy.
One tribal college’s exemplary lay advocate program offers legal training for its students—and illustrates how American Indian nations can broaden legal representation for Native defendants in tribal courts.
By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Beacon Press (2014)
Review by Jennifer Denetdale
By Joel W. Palka
University of New Mexico Press (2014)
Review by Laurie A. Occhipinti
By Daniel Gibson and Kitty Leaken
Gibbs Smith (2014)
Review by Margaret A. MacKichan
By Lisbeth Haas
University of California Press (2014)
Review by William Bauer