MSU American Indian Law & Lit Speaker Profile: Kirsten Matoy Carlson

In the coming weeks, we will be profiling the work of the speakers scheduled to present at the 4th Annual Indigenous Law Conference, “American Indian Law and Literature.”

The first profiled speaker, Kirsten Matoy Carlson, will be presenting a paper called, “Unresolved Disputes:Narratives in the Transformation and Processing of Persistent Claims.”

Kirsten’s abstract (from SSRN):

In 1980, the Supreme Court decided the largest land claim ever lodged against the United States government in favor of the Lakota people. The decision should have ended Lakota claims to the Black Hills, but it did not. This law review article seeks to understand why these claims persist despite their formal adjudication. It brings two traditions of legal scholarship together for the first time by considering the role of narrative in the sociolegal processes of dispute creation and re-creation. It argues that grievances persist through narratives, which facilitate the naming, blaming, and claiming stages of dispute creation. These narratives present a separate historical and legal perspective, and argue for the righting of historical injustices. As these narratives are repeated, the dispute is created and re-created intergenerationally, often evolving along the way. The article concludes that these narratives, which diverge from traditional legal narratives about the claims, explain the persistence of the unresolved dispute.