New Scholarship from Grant Christensen: “A View from American Courts: The Year in Indian Law 2017”

On SSRN, here.


This paper summarizes the topics and trends in Indian law confronted by courts in 2017. Designed as an update that will be useful to practitioners as well as scholars, the paper breaks the discussion down into more than forty topics and subtopics. For this paper I tracked and read all 646 judicial opinions issued by state and federal courts that squarely decided questions of federal Indian law. From those cases I have distilled this update. Ideally the first in an annual collection. 

The paper includes an empirical discussion of Indian law looking at which circuits and districts are presented with the most Indian law questions. It also examines what topics receive the most coverage providing a summary of more than 200 ICWA opinions as well as capturing obscure topics like the 4 cases decided on the Navajo-Hopi Rehabilitation Act. It captures important moments in Indian law like Justice Thomas dissenting from denial of cert. in a land into trust case but also highlights the return of Leonard Peltier to federal court. 

I hope the user finds this comprehensive update a useful survey of Indian law in 2017.

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