Professor Hoffmann's areas of expertise include federal Indian law, natural resources law, and public lands law. Her recent scholarship analyzes the systems governing natural resource uses on federal and tribal lands and explores the conflicts that arise from Constitutional and other systemic challenges facing indigenous nations in the United States. She has also lectured and published extensively on the topics of energy development, mining, livestock grazing, and other extractive uses of public lands and tribal lands. Her recent book—A Third Way: Decolonizing the Laws of Indigenous Cultural Protection (Cambridge U. Press 2020)—examines the federal and state legal structures inhibiting the protection of indigenous cultural values and resources, such as sacred sites, intellectual property, culturally and historically significant items, and ancestral repatriation, and explores the various legal mechanisms that tribes and other indigenous communities are using, challenging and changing to better protect their cultures.
Professor Hoffmann has commented extensively on current issues related to federal public lands, tribal rights, and tribal sovereignty, including the reduction of the Utah national monuments by President Trump in 2017 and the controversy related to the Dakota Access Pipeline construction near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in 2016-2017. Her commentary and scholarship on the Monument reduction can be found here and here. Her scholarship has also explored various alternatives to the current land management regime on public lands, including the use of tribal co-management agreements and tribal ecological knowledge to revitalize ecosystem integrity and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Prior to joining the faculty at Vermont Law School, Professor Hoffmann practiced in the litigation group at Fabian & Clendenin, P.C. in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her practice areas included general commercial litigation, administrative appeals, and natural resources law. She represented a wide variety of clients in state and federal court, and before the Department of Interior’s Office of Hearings and Appeals. Professor Hoffmann received her BA in Spanish literature with high honors from Middlebury College and her JD from the S. J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. In law school, she was a William H. Leary Scholar, the Richard L. Dewsnup Fellow in Natural Resource Law, and a member of the Utah Law Review. Professor Hoffmann is licensed in Utah and Vermont and is admitted to the Vermont Supreme Court, the Utah Supreme Court, the federal district courts for the districts of Utah and Vermont, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Federalism and Indigenous Environmental Governance: The Unconstitutionality of Natural Resources Regulation in Indian Country,” The Regulatory Review (forthcoming 2021).
The Rocky Road to Energy Dominance: The Executive Branch's Limited Authority to Modify and Revoke Withdrawals of Federal Lands from Mineral Production, Georgetown Envtl. Law Review (forthcoming, 2021).
Speaking Regional Truth to Washington Power Over Federal Public Lands, 20 Vermont Journal of Environmental Law 161 (Sept 2019).
“Transitioning Natural Resource Management to an Ecological Model Using Tribal Co-Management Agreements,” in From Environmental to Ecological Law (Routledge, forthcoming 2021).
A Third Way: Decolonizing the Laws of Indigenous Cultural Protection (co-authored with Monte Mills, Assoc. Professor and Director, Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic, Alexander J. Blewett III School of Law, University of Montana), Cambridge Univ. Press (2020).
"Trump's America First Energy Plan Puts Industry First, Environment Last", VJEL Top 10 Environmental Watchlist (co-authored with student Marisa Heiling, '20).
Tenth Circuit Issues Decision Regarding Claims to R.S. 2477 Rights of Way Over Federal Lands. Environmental Law Prof Blog, December 5, 2014.
Brief of Amici Curiae Federal Indian Law Professors in Support of Petitioner, Herrera v. Wyoming, United States Supreme Court (Sept. 18, 2018) (signatory).
Brief of Amici Curiae Natural Resources and Property Law Professors in Support of Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Utah Supreme Court, October 9, 2015.
Brief of Amici Scholars of Statutory Interpretation and Native American Law in Support of Petitioners, in Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma, et al. v. Borough of Jim Thorpe, et al., Supreme Court of the United States, July 2, 2015 (signatory).
“Restructuring Environmental Federalism: Indigenous Nations and the Future of Environmental Governance,” Indigenous Peoples, Native Nations, and Environmental Law and Policy, University of Miami Law School (Feb. 9, 2021).
"The Environment-Cultural Disconnect: Protecting Indigenous Cultures in an Exclusionary Context," Fall 2020 Robert H. McKinney Family Environmental Law Lecture, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Indianapolis, IN (Oct. 29, 2020) (with Prof. Monte Mills).
“Structural Deficiencies in Tribal Repatriation Laws,” Assoc. of American Indian Affairs Fifth Annual Conference, Healing the Divide, Ft. McDowell Yavapai Nation (Nov. 13, 2019).
“Energy Mineral Development on Public Lands in a Post-Extractivist Economy,” Economics for the Anthropocene Law & Governance Research Initiative (E4A) and Ecological Law and Governance Association (ELGA) Speaker Series – Ecological Law, McGill University (June 6, 2019).
“Using Tribal Ecological Knowledge to Manage the Bears Ears National Monument,” Engaging Economies of Change, Canadian Society for Ecological Economics, 12th Biennial Conference, Waterloo, ONT (May 24, 2019).
"Ecological Law and Tribal Governance in the Bears Ears National Monument," Economics for the Anthropocene Webinar on Ecological Law and Governance, co-hosted by Vermont Law School and McGill University Faculty of Law (February 26, 2019).
"Tribal Natural Resource Co-Management Agreements: the Bears Ears National Monument," Indian Law and Policy in the Era of Trump, Indian Nations and Indigenous Peoples Panel, American Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA (Jan. 3, 2019).
FLPMA Mineral Withdrawal Revocations Under the Trump Administration, 9th Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship, Vermont Law School (Sept. 22, 2018).
Interview, "Oil and Gas Drilling Could Endanger U.S. Archaeological Sites," All Things Considered, National Public Radio (Aug. 19, 2018).
"FLPMA Mineral Withdrawals Under the Trump Administration," 64th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute, Natural Resources Law Teachers' Workshop, Victoria, B.C. (July 22, 2018).
Presenter, "Tribal Natural Resources Co-Management Agreements: Transitioning Natural Resource Management From a Jurisdictional Model to an Ecological Model," Economics for the Anthropocene (E4A) Law and Governance Research Initiative and Ecological Law and Governance Association (ELGA) Workshop, McGill University Faculty of Law, Montreal, QC, October 18, 2017.
Awards & Accomplishments
Member, American Law Institute (2020-present)
Co-editor, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Law Teachers’ Newsletter (2019-present)
Commissioner, Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs (2019-present)
Member, Sierra Club Litigation Committee (2014-present)
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (2013-present)
Federal District Court for the District of Vermont (2006-present)
Vermont Supreme Court (2006-present)
Federal District Court for the District of Utah (2003-present)
Utah Supreme Court (2003-present)
American Bar Association
Awards, Honors or Grants
Richard Brooks Award for Outstanding Scholarship (2020)
Finalist, 2020 Land Use and Environment Law Review Annual Scholarship Competition
Dean’s Teaching and Service Award (2018/2019)