Tribal Law & Government Center
Effectively representing Indian nations and tribes requires an understanding of the laws, history and policies that affect them. The complexity of "Indian law," and the lack of specific programs designed to educate graduates about the unique legal and cultural needs of Indian people, has created a situation in which lawyers representing Indian tribes place too great an emphasis on state law and federal law when dealing with Indian nations. As a result, these lawyers may unconsciously be contributing to the weakening of unique tribal legal and governance traditions by recommending the adoption of tribal laws and policies founded upon the Anglo-American legal and political traditions rather than the unique traditions of their tribal clients.
Through its activities, the Tribal Law & Government Center at KU Law aims to equip students and legal professionals who will represent Indian nations with the skills necessary to appreciate and strengthen the unique nature of indigenous tribal legal systems.
- Sovereignty, Self-Determination and the Indigenous Nations
- Native American Natural Resources
- Federal Indian Law
- Comparative Law
- Special Topics in American Indian Law (such as Indian Gaming and Economic Development in Indian Country)
- Federal Courts and the Federal System
- Public International Law
- International Law Seminar
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Business Associations I
- Public Lands and Natural Resources
- Water Law
- Local Government Law
- International Human Rights
- Oil and Gas
Tribal Lawyer Certificate
The Tribal Lawyer Certificate program is designed to ensure that law students aspiring to a career representing Indian nations have the skills necessary to appreciate and strengthen the unique nature of indigenous tribal legal systems.
JD/MA in Indigenous Studies
KU Law's joint degree program in law and indigenous studies allows students to graduate with both the J.D. and an M.A. in Indigenous Studies in seven semesters, including summer school. The program aspires to facilitate the protection and strengthening of indigenous sovereignty, self-determination, and self-sufficiency in indigenous nations throughout the Americas. The University of Kansas was the third institution of higher learning in the United States to offer a joint degree program relating to indigenous peoples.
The Tribal Judicial Support Clinic gives second- and third-year students the opportunity to assist tribal court systems through a variety of projects. Although the Tribal Law & Government Center gives priority to the research requests of regional tribes (Kansas and Oklahoma), clinical students have worked on projects for tribal courts throughout the nation.
Students also may be interested in the Legislative Clinic, in which they intern for members of the Kansas Legislature and study advocacy in the legislative process.
Tribal Law & Government Conference
Friday, March 1, 2013 | Burge Union | University of Kansas | Lawrence, KS
The conference has reached capacity, and registration is now closed. As space allows, walk-in traffic may be accommodated on the day of the conference.
Each year, KU hosts the Tribal Law & Government Conference, which devotes significant scholarly attention to the study of organic tribal law, modern tribal governments and the evolution of tribal common law.
The conference highlights how works of scholars and tribal jurists addressing the emerging and historical problems of indigenous law and governance are critical to strengthening tribal sovereignty. This year’s theme is climate change and its impact on indigenous peoples.
The conference will also mark the domestic launch of the book “Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples: The Search for Legal Remedies” (Randall Abate & Elizabeth Ann Kronk eds., Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013).
KU Law's annual Diversity in Law Banquet will follow the conference. This year’s banquet is hosted by the KU Native American Law Students Association. Conference attendees are invited to attend the banquet. Register online
CLE Credit and Lunch
6 hours of CLE credit, including 1 hours of ethics, has been approved in Kansas and Missouri. Lunch will be provided.
Parking is available for $1.50 an hour in the Visitor Parking Garage, just south of Green Hall. Visitors who park in the surface lot east of the law school will be ticketed.
Contact Professor Elizabeth Ann Kronk at 785-864-1139 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Associate Dean Melanie Wilson, KU Law
Professor Elizabeth Kronk, director, KU Tribal Law and Government Center
|9:00-10:00||Introduction to Climate Change Law and Science
Professor Robin Craig, S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah
Moderator: Ava Azad, KU Environmental Law Society
CLE materials (PDF)
|10:15-11:45||Domestic Impacts of Climate Change on American Indians, Alaskan Natives and Tribal Colleges
Panelists: Heather Kendall Miller, Native American Rights Fund; Professor Judith Royster, University of Tulsa College of Law; and Dr. Daniel Wildcat, Haskell Indian Nations University
Moderator: Rebecca Howlett, KU Environmental Law Society
CLE materials: Kendall Miller (PDF) | Royster (PDF)
|12:00-1:00||Lunch, Gridiron Room, Burge Union|
|1:00-2:00||Official Book Launch of Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples: The Search for Legal Remedies (Randall S. Abate & Elizabeth Ann Kronk, eds., Edward Elgar 2013) and Book Signing|
|2:00-3:30||International Impacts of Climate Change on Indigenous Peoples
Panelists: Professor Randall Abate, Florida A&M University College of Law; Leonardo Crippa, Indian Law Resource Center; and Isabel Segarra, KU Native American Law Students Association
Moderator: Professor Tonya Kowalski, Washburn University
CLE Materials: Abate (PDF) | Crippa (PDF)
|3:45-4:45||Ethical Quandaries Arising from the Practice of Climate Change and Indian Law
Professor Elizabeth Kronk, University of Kansas
CLE materials (PDF)
KU's Native American Law Students Association is an organization of dynamic students, both Indian and non-Indian, who organize annual service projects and social events. NALSA members attend National NALSA conferences and participate in the National NALSA Moot Court Competition. On two occasions, the KU team has won first place in the competition. NALSA members also routinely attend the annual Federal Bar Association's Indian Law Conference in Albuquerque, N.M. Group members also provide mentoring and study materials.