American University Washington College of Law (WCL) is hosting a conference, What Do We Know About Tribal Courts? An Examination on the 30th Anniversary of Oliphant, examining tribal law and tribal courts on March 6, 2008. The call for papers deadline is Dec. 20, 2007.
While Federal Indian Law, the law governing federal-tribal relations, has made its way onto an increasing number of state bar exams and Indian law scholarship periodically even is published in leading law reviews, tribal law in some respects remains Indian law’s younger sibling.
Ten years ago, while a professor at WCL, Nell Jessup Newton, now Dean of Hastings, observed that “the work of tribal courts is little known outside the circle of attorneys practicing before tribal courts on a regular basis and scholars of Indian law.” Nell Newton, Tribal Court Praxis: One Year in the Life of Twenty Indian Tribal Courts, 22 AM. INDIAN L. REV. 285 (1998). A scholarly focus on tribal courts is also a logical outgrowth of the U.S. Supreme Court’s problematic understanding of tribal courts 30 years ago in Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, 435 U.S. 191 (1978).
Borrowing from the conclusion of Dean Newton’s exploration of tribal courts, the hope is that this conference will “serve to allow for a critical dialogue” on tribal law.
— If you are interested in presenting at this conference, please contact
Ezra Rosser by Dec. 20, 2008 at 202-274-4064 or erosser|at|wcl.american.edu.