Mitchell Hamline’s Native American Law and Sovereignty Institute Certificate – News and Events


Posted: December 16, 2021

Mitchell Hamline’s Native American Law and Sovereignty Institute recently gained faculty approval for a new certificate.

Certificates are targeted avenues within the JD program to enable law students to specialize in an area of ​​law and obtain out-of-the-box skills. The Native American Law and Sovereignty Certificate allows students to explore cross-cultural areas of Native American law to include Indigenous legal principles, tribal law, federal Indian law, and relations between tribal nations and other entities and government systems.

Through this certificate, students will acquire basic skills to practice in legal settings and forums involving Native American law. The term Native American law is most inclusive to encompass Native American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Native peoples of North America.

Professor and Director of the NALS Angelique EagleWoman Institute

“We have a strong student interest in our institute’s certificate with over 40 students enrolled in the Native American Prerequisite Law Course for Spring 2022,” said Principal Angelique EagleWoman (Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate). “By offering a certificate, we will now be recognized as a fully-fledged Native American law program nationwide with the National Native American Bar Association and the American Indian Law Center, which will attract potential students to Mitchell Hamline who seek to acquire this expertise. “

The institute is built on a history of commitment to the law that makes an impact and is created by tribal governments, a commitment stemming from the two schools inherited from Mitchell Hamline and involving eminent law professors over the past two decades. previous ones.

“Mitchell Hamline recognizes the important role tribal nations play in the fabric of American democracy, and it is through this commitment that the NALS Institute has a special place in the family of law school centers and institutes.” said President and Dean Anthony Niedwiecki. “Our school has a national reach and law students from tribal nations in almost every part of the country.

“The presence of Native American law students enriches class discussions, enables cross-cultural engagement with legal material, and advances the law school’s commitment to meeting the needs of contemporary society through its anti-racism efforts. “

Current students have offered their support for the certificate, with many indicating that they would be interested in pursuing the specialization on their own. “I chose Mitchell Hamline primarily because of the availability of Indigenous law courses,” 2L Kristi Corcoran wrote in an email. “It’s a passion that I can only fully explore at this school.”

GeWaden Dunkley, President of the Native American Law Student Association at Mitchell Hamline

GeWaden Dunkley (Bois Forte Band of Chippewa), a 3L who is president of the Mitchell Hamline Native American Law Student Association, said the certificate “would not only support the past work of Indigenous students and faculty, but would also make a statement that Mitchell Hamline supports this work and is an ally moving forward with the many Indigenous issues and legal battles ahead. “

A variety of topics are covered in the course offerings to complete the certificate, for which students are required to complete 18 credit hours. Three core courses focus on the historical and legal framework of the tribal nation-US relationship; an opportunity to conduct legal research focused on tribal topics; and advanced topics on Indian gambling law, natural resources, pipeline disputes and other pressing matters.

Certificate students may choose to take the Native Law Clinic: Tribal Code Drafting, which provides a small business simulation that allows students to work directly with in-house lawyers from tribal governments to draft laws, regulations and other legal documents. supporting tribal sovereignty. The certificate also includes courses in Indigenous International Law and Indian Child Welfare Law.

With the certificate, Mitchell Hamline joins approximately 17 other national Native American law programs serving the need for legal practitioners in this area of ​​law.

“Mitchell Hamline is physically located on Dakota peoples’ treaty lands and continues to lead the way in legal education on the importance of tribal governments and relations with the United States,” EagleWoman added. “By completing the certificate, students will have skills, knowledge and tools to take back to their native tribal communities or to work as allies at the tribal, state or federal level.

“There is never a shortage of legal positions in an area with more than 570 federally recognized tribal governments. “


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