Native American Law (previously titled American Indian Law) (LWPP557)
3 credits, Letter Graded
Instructor: Vanessa Racehorse, CalNAGPRA Attorney and former Deputy Attorney General for the Colorado River Indian Tribes
This course provides an overview of Native American law and the legal and political history that has shaped this area of law. Students will gain an understanding of the foundational cases and federal statutes that form the basic tenets of federal Indian law. This course also explores a broad range of topics, including tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, civil rights, economic development, resource rights, civil and criminal jurisdiction, and the relationship between tribal governments, the federal government, and state governments.
The course will be graded by a final paper on a topic of the student’s choosing completed under the professor’s guidance after submission of a first draft.
November 30, 2021 at 12:00pm
Warren Hall, Grace Courtroom
Join Vanessa Racehorse and Angela Medrano for a lunch talk, “The Contemporary Fight for Tribal Sovereignty”. This discussion will cover the social, political and legal foundations of tribal sovereignty, Federal Indian Law, and the case law that shapes current efforts to advance justice, equity, and tribal sovereignty in the U.S.
Vanessa Racehorse is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and a descendant of the Cherokee Nation and Shoshone-Paiute Tribes. She has a JD from Columbia Law School and an LLM in International Criminal Law from the University of Amsterdam. Ms. Racehorse has worked in-house for the Colorado River Indian Tribes, was an associate with a boutique law firm that provides general counsel services and represents tribes across the country in litigation, and is currently an attorney for the California Native American Heritage Commission where she focuses on cultural resources protection. Ms. Racehorse will be teaching Native American Law at USD Law in Spring 2022.
Angela Medrano is a member of the Cahuilla Band of Indians and is an alumna of University of San Diego School of Law. She operates her own law practice in North County specializing in general civil, tribal, and federal Indian law. Ms. Medrano is a current board member of the San Diego County Bar Association and is President of the Native American Lawyers Association of San Diego County. In 2019, Ms. Medrano joined the Intertribal Court of Southern California as a pro tem judge.
Co-sponsored by the Student Bar Association, American Constitution Society, Black Law Students Association, Law Students for Cross-Racial Understanding, Public Interest Law Foundation, and Women's Law Caucus.
In 1990, President George H. W. Bush approved a resolution designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month, thereafter commonly referred to as Native American Heritage Month. Native American Heritage Month focuses on the cultures of American Indians and Alaska Natives, groups indigenous to our country. Here at the University of San Diego, our campus's story is intrinsically tied to the Kumeyaay band of indigenous peoples, who owned the land upon which the university was built prior to its founding in 1949.
In 2019, USD endeavored to recognize the history and legacy of our local indigenous tribes on which our campus was built with the renaming of several buildings on campus. Serra Hall was renamed Saints Tekakwitha and Serra Hall in honor of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American Catholic saint, and the Mission Crossroads facility was renamed Mata'yuum, which means "gathering place" in Kumeyaay. The Mata'yuum dedication ceremony (above) featured a group from the Campo Band of Kumeyaay performing music traditional to the indigenous people of the Southwest United States.
Check out the resources on this page for a sampling of the great resources about this topic available on campus in the LRC's collection, online with USDOne login, or free on the Web. Explore the library catalog to find more related resources.
*Formerly the American Indian Law Collection.