Indian Law Certificate Courses
Federal Indian Law – LAW 204 - 3 credits
This course examines the United States' policies and laws regarding tribal governments and individual Indians. Major topics include: the origin and scope of federal power over Indian affairs, tribal governmental powers, tribal court systems, tribal property rights, limitations on state powers, and civil and criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country.
Tribal Law - LAW 278 - 2 credits
This course involves an examination of how Indian tribes legislate the law and adjudicate disputes that evolve in tribal communities. Instead of focusing on the relationship between the federal government and Indian tribes this course undertakes an analysis of how Indian tribes promulgate and enforce the law and how they interact with each other and state governments. Students will be given the option of writing a paper on a topic impacting this area or writing a judicial decision in an actual case in a tribal court utilizing the principles learned in the class.
Tribal Clerkship & Codification - LAW 361 – 3 Credits (Experiential)
Each student will be given a legal issue(s) associated with an active or simulated case present in the tribal courts from our region. Under the supervision of the professor – the student will research the legal issue(s) and draft a bench brief suitable for presentation to tribal judges. As an additional component of this course, students will be trained to carefully read cases issued from tribal courts and will serve as annotators, assisting in the creation of a regional tribal reporter. After annotation, the cases will be scanned, organized, collected, and published electronically through the Northern Plains Indian Law Center and the University of North Dakota School of Law.
Indian Law Primary Courses
(Certificate Students Must Earn a Minimum of 7 Credits)
Criminal Jurisdiction in Indian Country – 2 credits
This course is focused on the criminal aspect of Indian law. It looks at the basics of criminal jurisdiction for the United States, states, and Indian tribes. It explores exceptions to basic jurisdictional rules created by Congress like the expansion of tribal court authority in the Violence Against Women Act and Public Law 280. The course examines how to determine the locus of a crime when elements occur both inside and outside Indian country and an examination of tribal sentencing. Finally, it includes procedural rights in tribal court – including topics like extradition, right to a jury trial, access to counsel, and the limits of lawful searches on reservations.
Indian Child Welfare Act - 2 credits
This course will combine an academic and historical analysis of the Indian Child Welfare Act with an examination of how native children are treated in the legal system in the child welfare area, as well as other areas (health care, education, and child support enforcement). The final grade will be based upon the students writing a brief for an Indian tribe, Indian parent, adoptive parent, or other party to an ICWA proceeding in an actual case that has been litigated or completing a comprehensive paper that may satisfy the writing requirement. Students will have the opportunity during the class to hear from tribal leaders, native persons who have been adopted out, and others about the historical displacement of Indian children from their Tribes and the impact of this legacy.
Indian Country Environmental Law - 3 credits (Fulfills Intensive Writing Requirement)
Course Coverage: This course examines how an anomalous confluence of federal environmental, administrative and Indian law exacerbates environmental injustice in Indian country, but also offers its most promising solution. The modern environmental law paradigm of federal-state partnerships falters in Indian country where state regulatory jurisdiction is constrained by federal Indian law. A resulting void of effective environmental regulation threatens the cultural survival of American Indian tribes, who face air and water contamination from a legacy of federally encouraged natural resource development. A potential solution for closing the circle of national environmental protection accords sovereign tribal governments a state-like status. The course examines comprehensively the tribal treatment-as-a-state approach first developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and later codified by Congress in amendments to most of the major environmental laws, as well as federal cases brought by states and non-Indians challenging EPA's and tribes' authority to make binding value judgments about Indian country environmental protection.
Indian Gaming Law - 2 credits
What is Indian gaming, and how did it turn into a multi-billion dollar industry and the most prominent public policy issue concerning Native Americans today? Framed by tribal sovereignty and the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 (IGRA), this course examines the substantive law governing Indian gaming, as well as the broader political context of reservation economic development through gaming. In just over two decades, Indian gaming has become a $26.5 billion industry with some 440 casinos operated by 230 tribes in 28 states. The course will explore the history of tribal gaming, substantive provisions of IGRA as well as other pertinent federal, tribal, and state law, and the continuing development of case law, statutory and administrative law, and, of course, politics. Topics include regulatory authority, casino-style gaming and tribal-state compacts, socioeconomic effects, revenue sharing, and "off-reservation" gaming.
International & Comparative Indigenous Peoples Law – 2-3 credits
This course focuses on the international aspects of law and Indigenous people. The international part of the course looks at the development of legal protections of indigenous culture at the multi-state level. It is primarily focused on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) but also includes discussion of regional human rights bodies like the International Labor Organization 169, the Inter-America Court of Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights, and the broader U.N. treaty system. The comparative portion of the course looks at the treatment of indigenous people by other nation states and compares them to both the United States and to each other. The course focuses primarily on the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (all common law countries) but includes discussion of other nations as well. This course is offered infrequently but may also be independent studied any semester.
Jurisdiction in Indian Country – 3 Credits
Jurisdiction in Indian Country focuses on going in depth on the authority of a tribe to adjudicate disputes and legislate rules and regulations that govern both Indians and non-Indians on and near the reservation. No prior Indian Law coursework is necessary. Topics given particular attention are the tribes legislative authority to zone, to regulate hunting and fishing, and to tax. Additional attention is paid to the state’s respective authority to create rules or levy taxes in these same areas on the reservation. This tension between the tribe and the state forms the basic focus of this course.
NALSA Moot Court – 1-2 credits
Members of UND’s Native American Law Student Association may be invited to participate in the national NALSA moot court competition during the spring semester. Students who participate are eligible to earn up to two credits. UND typically sends four students a year to the competition. Participation is only by selection for the university team by the team coach(es).
Race & Justice – 2-3 credits
Race and Justice is an examination of what role race plays in the administration of justice in the United States starting with an analysis of how race was used as a legal construct to elevate the legal standing of certain persons over others based upon race and then how racial disparities continue to exist in our criminal and civil legal systems as a by-product of that era. The course focuses heavily on race in the criminal justice system by examining the impact of the War on Drugs on persons of color and the interaction between the police and people of color. The course offers the option of a final exam or a comprehensive paper on a topic to be approved by the instructor.
Tribal Economic Development – 2 credits
This course provides instruction on the intersection of federal and tribal laws that impact the planning, development and implementation of new businesses or the enhancement of existing businesses in tribal communities. Course instruction also pertains to the many statutory and common laws that may apply to businesses and professionals entering into business relationships with tribal governments and tribal businesses. This course will include application of the laws discussed.
Tribal Externship – 1-7 credits
Students may earn externship credit by working for an Indian tribe or in a related placement like a non-profit or government agency with Indian law as the primary focus. For an externship credit to count toward the Indian Law Certificate it must be approved by the Director of the certificate program. Students have earned credit for externing with local tribes, for agencies like the National Indian Gaming Commission, and for government work like the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.