A Note about Walter Echo-Hawk’s “In the Courts of the Conqueror”

Any day now, Fulcrum will publish Walter R. Echo-Hawk’s “In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided.” (Book website here.)

This is one of the finest works of legal history I’ve seen in Indian law and policy. I’m deeply impressed by the depth of the scholarship here — and from a practicing lawyer who doesn’t get summers off to contemplate his navel!

Walter chooses several of the more notorious Supreme Court cases, along with a few surprises (especially from lower courts), to comprise the ten worst Indian law cases. Cherokee Nation, Lyng, Tee-Hit-Ton, Lone Wolf, and six others all make the grade (I won’t list them all, so as not to spoil the surprise).

What do you think are some of the worst Indian law cases of all time? Comments welcome!

Walter Echohawk’s Ten Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided Book Announcement

In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided

Book website here.

Press release here: InTheCourts_release.


The fate of Native Americans has been dependent in large part upon the recognition and enforcement of their legal, political, property, and cultural rights as indigenous peoples by American courts. Most people think that the goal of the judiciary, and especially the US Supreme Court, is to achieve universal notions of truth and justice. In this in-depth examination, however, Walter R. Echo-Hawk reveals the troubling fact that American law has rendered legal the destruction of Native Americans and their culture.

Echo-Hawk analyzes ten cases that embody or expose the roots of injustice and highlight the use of nefarious legal doctrines. He delves into the dark side of the courts, calling for a paradigm shift in American legal thinking. Each case study includes historical, contemporary, and political context from a Native American perspective, and the case’s legacy on Native America. In the Courts of the Conqueror is a comprehensive history of Indian Country, from a new and unique viewpoint. It is a vital contribution to American history.