Summer American Indian & Indigenous Law


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June 6 - July 22, 2016

Spend the summer in beautiful Missoula, Montana studying Indian Law! The School of Law invites you to participate in the ninth annual Summer American Indian and Indigenous Law Program, June 6 - July 22, 2016. This year we will be offering seven courses taught by a faculty comprised of expert Indian law scholars and practitioners from around the country. Participants in the program may choose from any of the seven courses or take them all. Courses will be offered for law credit (for matriculated law students) and cross-listed for graduate credit. CLE credits are also available and currently pending approval.

Registration Information

School of Law and Graduate Students

Current law and graduate students at the University of Montana may register for courses as they normally would through cyberbear. Program courses are offered through the School of Extended and Lifelong Learning (SELL) at the University of Montana. A flat fee of $650/credit will apply to each course. Students must take at least six credits to qualify for financial aid in the summer term. In addition, tuition waivers may not apply to the fees for summer courses.

Limited scholarships are available to current students of the School of Law on the basis of need and demonstrated interest in Indian Law. To apply, the potential applicant should address a letter to Dean Paul Kirgis at the School of Law, with a carbon copy to Assistant Professor Monte Mills indicating the courses and credits for which the applicant is seeking assistance and explaining 1) the applicant’s need for scholarship assistance; 2) the applicant’s background or interest in federal Indian or tribal law; and, 3) how the applicant’s participation in the program will build on or enhance that background and interest. In order to ensure timely review, scholarship requests must be received not later than May 27, 2016.

Visiting Students

Law students currently enrolled at other institutions should contact Lori Freeman, Director of Admissions, at lori.freeman@umontana.edu or (406) 243-2698 for enrollment and registration information. A summer application for admission will need to be submitted.

Registration for CLE Credit

CLE credit is pending approval.  Credit amounts vary by course and are listed below along with the tuition rate and registration link for each course. Names of those attending for CLE credit will be submitted to the State Bar of Montana.  Attendance at all sessions is required for full CLE credit.

2016 Course Schedule

Indian Law Research

Credits: 1
Professor: Stacey Gordon
Dates: June 6 - 10
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

CLE Credits: 11.5 (pending)
CLE Tuition: $650
CLE Registration: Online

Given that American Indian and Alaska Natives are sovereign governments, the field of American Indian and Indigenous Law encompasses distinct legal issues and sources. Researching both federal Indian law (the relationships between tribal governments and the U.S. government) and tribal law (the law of individual tribes) requires a unique set of tools and research skills . In this course, students will learn the skills and sources necessary to research general Indian law issues as well as the very specialized skills and sources used in researching the legal history of a tribe, including reserved treaty rights. The course will cover researching treaties, Indian land claims, statutory and case law, and tribal law.


Mastering American Indian Law

Credits: 2
Professor: Maylinn Smith
Dates: June 13 - 17
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

CLE Credits: 23.75 (pending)
CLE Tuition: $1,300
CLE Registration: Online

Course Textbook:
Mastering American Indian Law, Angelique Townsend Eaglewoman and Stacey L. Leeds, Carolina Academic Press

This course looks at fundamental aspects of American Indian law and provides a basic understanding of core Indian law principles, both on the federal and tribal level. The course familiarizes participants with the development of foundational concepts in the area of Indian law and addresses the continuing impact of federal legislation and court actions on tribal governance structures and principles of sovereignty. In addition to providing substantive information on legal principles associated with American Indian law, participants will engage in practical skill building exercises that build upon the substantive materials being covered.


Energy in Indian Country

Credits: 1
Professor: Monte Mills
Dates: June 20 - 24
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

CLE Credits: 11.5 (pending)
CLE Tuition: $650
CLE Registration: Online

Course Textbook:
Sovereignty for Survival: American Energy Development and Indian Self-Determination, James Robert Allison III, Yale U. Press

This course will trace the history of energy development and related issues in Indian Country, discuss the statutory, regulatory, and other legal issues that arise in that context, and provide participants with background and perspective on the issues currently facing Indian tribes interested in pursuing energy development. In doing so, we will learn more about the social, cultural, and other policy issues faced by tribes when considering decisions about development and examine the federal government’s role in fulfilling its trust responsibilities to Indian tribes engaged in energy-related activities.


Indian Gaming

Credits: 1
Professor: Melissa Schlichting
Dates: June 27 - July 1
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

CLE Credits: 8.5 (pending)
CLE Tuition: $650
CLE Registration: Online

Course Textbook:
Indian Gaming Law & Policy, Karthryn R.L. Rand and Steven Andrew Light, Carolina Academic Press

This class reviews federal statutes, regulations, and case law pertaining to Indian gaming issues. Participants will learn about contemporary issues affecting Indian gaming, the gaming regulation system, and the compacting process. Special emphasis will be placed on Montana tribal gaming concerns.


Supreme Court Jurisprudence and Indian Country

Credits: 1
Professor: Matthew Fletcher
Dates: July 5 - 8
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Course Capacity: 30 Students

CLE Credits: 12 (pending)
CLE Tuition: $650
CLE Registration: Online

This course will introduce participants to the distinctive constitutional issues arising from and affecting Indian country. The initial portion of the class will cover the legal history of federal Indian law, dating from pre-constitutional times, the Marshall Trilogy, the Plenary Power Trilogy, to the modern era of federal Indian law beginning in 1959. The main portion of the class will address critical modern era cases and their impacts on contemporary tribal governance and Indian affairs.


Indian Water Law

Credits: 1
Professor: John Carter
Dates: July 11 - 15
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Course Capacity: 25 Students

CLE Credits: 11.5 (pending)
CLE Tuition: $650
CLE Registration: Online

This course provides information about the various aspects of Indian water law and addresses the historical sources for Indian water rights, the scope of Indian water rights, protection of Indian water rights and the compacting process.


Current American Indian Legislative Issues

Credits: 1
Professor: Kevin Washburn
Dates: July 18 - 22
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

CLE Credits: 11.5 (pending)
CLE Tuition: $650
CLE Registration: Online

Federal Indian law and policy develops in the courts, in Congress, and in federal agencies. This course will focus on the legislative and administrative processes in forming laws and regulations, but will also explore the relationship between the courts and these other forums by focusing on Congressional and administrative reactions to decisions in the Supreme Court and the lower courts. The content of the course will include recent developments in the 114th Congress and the Obama Administration.