Economic Development in Indian Country

Elective Course
Course Number: LAW 595 - Special Topics
Credits: 3

The successful development of vibrant and sustainable economies in Indian Country continues to present challenges for Indian tribes, their members and potential business partners, as well as federal, state and local governments. The unique legal status of Indian tribes and the consequences of that status inform these challenges and require a detailed examination of federal policy and Supreme Court jurisprudence. Thus, attorneys play a central role in understanding and advising their clients about the challenges of tribal economic development. This course aims to provide a foundational understanding of the legal issues surrounding economic development in Indian Country and then build on that foundation through examination of various types of actual or potential development, including natural resource development, gaming, online lending and other enterprises. Throughout the course, we will discover how history, federal policies, and the unique status of each tribe play a role in determining that tribe’s options for building an economic engine. We will also study practical issues, such as popular misconceptions about tribal status, which may affect business transactions in Indian Country. By the end of the course, participants will understand the foundational issues affecting all tribes and have the analytical framework to assess unique circumstances relevant for a particular tribe or development opportunity.