Barstow Lecturer to Explain History of Indian Land Law
Saginaw Valley State University will host a lecture by American Indian legal expert Matthew Fletcher Thursday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. In his talk, he will explain how a 2007 decree finally ended a 170-year-old dispute regarding Michigan Indians’ land rights. The lecture is part of SVSU’s Barstow Humanities Seminar series.
Fletcher says the delay owes its origins to miscommunication. In 1836, five Michigan Indian tribes entered into a treaty with the state and federal governments over “inland rights” – a treaty in which the Indians ceded their land in exchange for defined areas where they could fish, hunt and gather. The problem was that two of the treaty’s key words – “occupancy” and “settlement” – had vastly different meanings in the local Indian language. Relying on their understanding, the Indians agreed to the treaty.
An associate professor at the Michigan State University College of Law and the director of its Indigenous Law and Policy Center, Fletcher has devoted his career to issues in American Indian law and sovereignty. His work has appeared in many legal journals, including the Harvard Journal on Legislation, the Hastings Law Journal, and the Tulane Law Review. Fletcher also has authored two books, including “American Indian Education: Counternarratives in Racism, Struggle, and the Law” in 2008, and the upcoming “American Indian Tribal Law.”
In addition, Fletcher serves as a staff attorney for four Indian Tribes, sits as an appellate judge for both the Hoopa Valley Tribe and the Pokgan Band of Potawatomi Indians, and serves as chief justice of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Supreme Court. He is a citizen of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, located in Peshawbestown, Mich.
The lecture is open to the public; admission is free of charge. It is sponsored by the Barstow Humanities Seminar endowment and the SVSU College of Arts and Behavioral Sciences.
For more information, please contact Brad Jarvis, assistant professor of history, at 989-964-4337 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.