Muskrat vs. Canary: The Future of Federal Indian Law

This Thursday @ 7PM it’ll be time to unveil the new book project (now just have to write it).

Federal Indian law is marked by dramatic confrontations between paradigms such as George Washington’s “Savage as the Wolf” policy or Felix Cohen’s “Miner’s Canary” parable. These metaphors reflect the reality that federal Indian law and policy was imposed on tribal nations. Even today, five decades after the beginning of the tribal self-determination era, the Miner’s Canary parable remains the most used metaphorical shorthand to describe Indigenous affairs in the United States, but those metaphors are no longer useful. Tribal nations now possess political and economic power. Congress and the executive branch have largely embraced tribal self-determination. The Supreme Court has not. Or has it? Tribal nations have fared better in the Supreme Court since 2014 than in any other period of American history. Even so, the Court is paradigmatically split. The Anishinaabe creation is a story about the lowly, but heroic, Muskrat as a metaphor to describe modern tribal nations. The Supreme Court is poised to either accept the new paradigm of tribal self-determination or eradicate it in favor of keeping tribal nations weak. It is a paradigmatic battle of the Muskrat versus the Canary.

Miigwetch to John Low at THE school that shall not be named on this blog for the invitation to present!

2022 Rennard Strickland Lecture at Oregon Law [live and livestreamed]


The 16th Annual Rennard Strickland Lecture will take place on Monday, October 24th at 6:00pm in Room 175 of the William W. Knight Law Center of the University of Oregon School of Law. The lecture will also be available live online. This hybrid event is free and open to the public. This year we welcome Matthew L.M. Fletcher (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa) as our guest speaker. 

This lecture is part of a series established by the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center in 2006 to honor Rennard Strickland, late dean of University of Oregon School of Law. Strickland served as Oregon Law’s dean from 1997 to 2002 and remained part of the law school’s faculty until his retirement in 2006. He was Osage, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, and widely regarded as a national leader in Indian law and policy. The Rennard Strickland Lecture series is designed to recognize and underscore the importance of Indigenous environmental leadership in the 21st century, in keeping with Strickland’s vision for an “Indian future” (Tonto’s Revenge 1997).

11th Annual William C. Canby Jr. Lecture January 25

The Indian Legal Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University is pleased to present the:

11th Annual William C. Canby Jr. Lecture

Struggles in Federal Indian Law: Alaska Native Rights and the Katie John Litigation CLE

Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. 
W. P. Carey Armstrong Great Hall
Beus Center for Law and Society
111 E. Taylor St. , Phoenix, AZ 85004

Guest Lecturer:
Robert T. Anderson
Director, Native American Law Center, University of Washington
Professor of Law, University of Washington
Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

More on the Keystone Spill

200,000 Gallons of Oil Spill From the Keystone Pipeline: The leak comes just four days before TransCanada faces an important vote.” [The Atlantic]

And a message for the Nebraska Public Service Commission: “Keystone XL Needs Much Higher Oil Prices To Be Viable.”