Indian Tribes as Governmental Stewards of the Environment



2015 Summer - Term 4

About This Class

This course examines the unique body of law governing “Indian country,” the geographic areas recognized by the federal government as the homelands of sovereign American Indian tribes. Major topics include the history of federal-tribal relations, tribal property rights, tribal court systems, and the balance of governmental power between tribes, states, and the federal government. Particular attention will be devoted to understanding the legal framework that supports the tribes’ role as governmental steward of the natural world, including powers derived from the tribes’ inherent sovereignty authority and rights stemming from treaties and federal statutes. The course will include a close examination of treaty-based fishing rights and federal environmental statutes that accord tribes a role as governmental partners in the implementation of federal environmental programs (for example, the Clean Water Act).

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