Call for Papers: American Indian Law Review

The American Indian Law Review (AILR) welcomes articles by legal scholars and practitioners in the areas of law relating to Native Americans and indigenous peoples. The American Indian Law Review serves as a nationwide scholarly forum for analysis of developments in legal issues pertaining to Native Americans and indigenous peoples worldwide, and is one of the most cited legal publications in the nation.

Adhering to the traditional law review format, the Review offers in-depth articles by legal scholars, attorneys and other expert observers. The American Indian Law Review is committed to advancing the quality of published scholarship relating to Native Americans and other indigenous peoples. Toward this goal, the Review considers article submissions through an independent, double-blind peer-review process. Publication decisions are based upon objective recommendations from reviewers as well as the student board of editors.

Electronic submissions may be sent in one of two ways: (1) via ExpressO, an electronic submission service operated by the Berkeley Electronic Press, or (2) directly by email to the Review via Submissions should follow these guidelines:

  1. Submissions may be in Microsoft Word or PDF format.
  2. The cover letter or transmitting email should specify that the submission is intended for the American Indian Law Review. (Submissions for other OU Law journals are received in both ExpressO and email venues.)
  3. Both the article being submitted and the cover letter should include the title of the article.
  4. The article itself should be anonymous. The author’s name or affiliation should not appear anywhere in the article unless as a citation which is not clearly identified with the author.
  5. The article should use footnotes, not endnotes, for citations. AILR recommends that submitters follow The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation(20th edition, 2015) for format and The Chicago Manual of Style for grammatical structure.

Hardcopy submissions may be submitted to:

American Indian Law Review
Andrew M. Coats Hall
300 Timberdell Road
Norman, OK 73019

The American Indian Law Review also recruits scholars and experts in the field of Native American law and indigenous peoples’ issues to review articles submitted to the Review for publication. Anyone interested in joining the Review’s pool of reviewers should contact Naomi Palosaari, Articles Development Editor, at

Questions and inquiries may be sent to Austin R. Vance, Editor-In-Chief, at

American Indian Law Review, Vol. 39, No. 2


Vol. 39, No. 2 (2014-2015)


Tribal Criminal Jurisdiction Beyond Citizenship and Blood – Addie C. Rolnick

When a Tribal Entity Becomes a Nation: The Role of Politics in the Shifting Federal Recognition Regulations – Lorinda Riley


Native Americans and the Legalization of Marijuana: Can the Tribes Turn Another Addiction into Affluence? – Melinda Smith

Coalbed Methane Development in Wyoming and Montana: The Potential Impacts of Montana v. Wyoming, Coalbed Methane Development, and Water Quality on the Tribes of the Powder River and Wind River Basins – Mallory Irwinsky

The Bureau of Land Management’s Finalized Hydraulic Fracturing Rule on Tribal Lands: A Responsibility or Intrusion? – Kerstie Moran


Analysis of a Bias-Based Exception to the Doctrine of Exhaustion in Wilson v. Bull – Mitch McGrew

New Article by Lorinda Riley on the Role of Politics in Federal Recognition

Lorinda Riley has published “When a Tribal Entity Becomes a Nation: The Role of Politics in the Shifting Federal Recognition Regulations,” in the American Indian Law Review.

Here is a description excerpted from the article’s introduction:

This article explores how each presidential administration has both shaped and bent the federal recognition regulations to fulfill its political priorities. By merging a quantitative analysis of each administration’s federal recognition record and the political realities that each administration faced, this study provides a rare inquiry into the political nature of the recognition process. First, this article examines the regulatory history of federal recognition, including a detailed discussion of various versions of the regulation and accompanying guidance published by the Department of the Interior (DOI). Then the article provides an overview of how politics play into the regulatory process and the implementation of regulation. Finally, the article re-visits each administration’s actions related to federal recognition, and considers how each administration has utilized these regulations to serve its own political priorities.



American Indian Law Review — 2013-14, First Issue

Archived here:


The Indian States of America:  Parallel Universes & Overlapping Sovereignty – Joseph William Singer

The Leonard Peltier Case: An Argument in Support of Executive Clemency Based on Norms of International Human Rights – Joseph Ezzo

State v. Jim: A New Era in Washington’s Treatment of the Tribes? – Matthew Deisen


Bordering on Discrimination: Effects of Immigration Policies/Legislation on Indigenous Peoples in U.S. and Mexico – Sara Daly

Off the Beaten Path? The Ninth Circuit’s Approach to Tribal Courts’ Civil Jurisdiction over Nonmember Defendants – Jacob R. Masters

Climate Change and Its Effect on Indigenous Peoples of the Southwest – Josh Merrill

Special Features

Progress in Self-Determination: Navigating Funding for ISDA Contracts After Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter – Steven L. Mangold

Winner, Best Appellate Brief in the 2013 Native American Law Student Association Moot Court Competition – Zachary Diionno & Sommerset Wong


American Indian Law Review — 2013-14, Second Issue


Vol. 38, No. 2 (2013-2014)

Click any link to view in PDF format


Room for a (Sacred) View? American Indian Tribes Confront Visual Desecration Caused by Wind Energy Projects – Allison M. Dussias

Federal Indian Law and Tribal Criminal Justice in the Self-Determination Era – Samuel E. Ennis & Caroline P. Mayhew

The Background of the Theory of Discovery – Dieter Dörr


Sacred Rain Arrow: Honoring the Native American Heritage of the States While Balancing the Citizens’ Constitutional Rights – Amelia Coates


States Versus Tribes: The Problem of Multiple Taxation of Non-Indian Oil and Gas Leases on Indian Reservations – Erin Marie Erhardt

Busted Pipes: A Review of Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann and the Lack of Direction for Oklahoma and Texas Moving Forward in a Dry Environment – Jordan LePage

Knight v. Thompson: The Eleventh Circuit’s Perpetuation of Historical Practices of Colonization – Randi Dawn Gardner Hardin

New Paper by Alex Skibine: “Constitutionalism, Federal Common Law, and the Inherent Powers of Indian Tribes”

Alexander Tallchief Skibine has posted his paper, “Constitutionalism, Federal Common Law, and the Inherent Powers of Indian Tribes,” forthcoming in the American Indian Law Review, on SSRN.

Here is the abstract:

In this Article, I argue that because Indian tribes have been incorporated into our constitutional system under a third sphere of sovereignty, the federal common law analysis under which the Court determines the extent of sovereign authority still possessed by Indian tribes is faulty. Instead of using federal common law, the Court should adopt a constitutional or at least quasi constitutional mode of analysis in determining such issues which in this case should be a dormant Indian Commerce Clause analysis. I also argue that the incorporation of tribes into our constitutional order not only has diminished the amount of power Congress has over such tribes but also may have limited the ability of tribes to escape limits the Constitution imposed on any exercise of sovereign authority within the geographical limits of the United States.

Highly recommended.

University of Oklahoma Indian Law Conference

Norman — The University of Oklahoma College of Law, American Indian Law Review and OU Native American Studies Department is hosting its third annual symposium.  This year’s “Tribal Sovereignty: A Global Perspective” symposium will highlight the issues indigenous peoples face at the international and regional levels.  This includes the ability of indigenous peoples to assert their rights at the United Nations and the Organization of American States, in addition to the ability of tribes to engage economically on an international level.

“Woven into the fabric of the College, Native American Law is central to our strategic vision and an integral part of our curriculum.  It is truly our privilege to host extraordinary world leaders to highlight significant issues facing indigenous peoples,” said Dean Joe Harroz.

Continue reading

American Indian Law Review Symposium– March 7, 2013

Overcoming Barriers Symposium Discusses Resolving Conflict in Indian Country March 7 at OU Law

For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Evie Holzer,

NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma American Indian Law Review, Student Bar Association, Native American Law Student Association, and Native American Studies program present the Overcoming Barriers Symposium with registration beginning at 7:45 a.m. Thursday, March 7, at the College of Law, 300 Timberdell Road in Norman.

This daylong symposium blends the richness of Native American culture with the profound legal landscapes facing America’s tribes. Some of the most renowned scholars and practitioners will exchange their wisdom on resolving intra-tribal conflict and defining jurisdictional boundaries. Symposium participants will also have the opportunity to take a Native American Art tour on display at the OU College of Law and experience musical entertainment by Native American musicians.

Symposium presenters include:
• Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior
• David Mullon, Staff Director and Chief Counsel, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
• Ed Kneedler, Deputy Solicitor General of the United States
• Leroy Sage Not Afraid, Justice of the Peace, Big Horn County, Montana
• Tracy Toulou, Director of the Office of Tribal Justice, U.S. Department of Justice
• Barbara Smith, Chief Justice, Chickasaw Supreme Court

For additional information and to view the full symposium agenda, go to or contact Paige Hoster at or Chris Thompson at

Fletcher on “Tribal Membership and Indian Nationhood”

I just posted a short paper prepared for an American Indian Law Review symposium on Indians and identity. The paper, “Tribal Membership and Indian Nationhood,” is a sort of sequel to my NYT’s piece on the Cherokee Freedmen (link to that whole debate is here).

Here is the abstract of the new paper:

American Indian tribes are in a crisis of identity. No one can rationally devise a boundary line between who is an American Indian and who is not. Despite this, each federally recognized tribe has devised a legal standard to apply in deciding who is a member and who is not. Even with some ambiguity and much litigation, these are relatively bright lines. Some Indians are eligible for membership, and others are not eligible. In some rare circumstances, some non-Indians are eligible and become members. However, these bright line rules are crude instruments for determining identity, and often generate outcomes that conflict with legitimate Indian identity.

This paper is about Indian tribes and Indian nations. For purposes of this discussion, there is a difference between the two. I hope to discuss how Indian tribes, shackled to some extent by these intractable questions, can develop into Indian nations. I believe there is room in the American constitutional structure for Indian nations.

I will define what I mean by Indian nationhood. I draw from pre-contact and early post-contact Anishinaabe history to reinvigorate what nationhood meant traditionally. I argue that nations must allow nonmembers some form of political power, though I leave specific details to others. I conclude by arguing that Indian nationhood, in the long-run, is a laudable and perhaps even mandatory goal for modern tribal communities’ survival.