Interview with Fletcher and Rebecca Tsosie on Indian Law

Here, on Prism, is “Supreme Court Rulings Undermine Indian Law.”

An excerpt:

Levy Uyeda: What is sovereignty, and how has its definition changed over time?

Fletcher: Sovereignty, I suspect, is not really an Indigenous principle. It comes from the notion that there is an all powerful sovereign entity like a king that has an absolute monopoly on violence, over lands, and over the people on those lands, who typically are called subjects. By offering individual rights to people in the U.S. we’ve papered over some of the difficult aspects of that understanding of sovereignty. On one hand, when tribes assert sovereignty, it means tribes are saying that there is a hierarchical group of people and an elite that makes decisions for all others beneath them. 

Tsosie: I do agree that the terminology of “sovereignty” is problematic because Anglo-American law and jurisprudence does give that hierarchical meaning that comes out of English tradition. 

I tell my students that the term “property,” which also has that Western meaning, along with “sovereignty,” are both modes of discourse. If you think about these terms in the context of a treaty, the treaty is designed to be a contract between sovereigns.

New Scholarship by Rebecca Tsosie on Cultural Production

Rebecca Tsosie has published Just Governance or Just War?: Native Artists, Cultural
Production, and the Challenge of “Super-Diversity”
 in Cybaris an Intellectual Property Law Review.

An excerpt:

Many, if not most, non-Indians fail to understand the significance of cultural identity to Indigenous peoples, nor do they understand the concept of cultural harm. Consequently, the battle over cultural appropriation continues as Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington team, proclaims that the “Redskins” logo and team name actually honors Indians, ignoring the protests of Native leaders and tribal members who assert that the mascot disparages and degrades them. The battle continues over sacred symbols as pop music giant Pharrell Williams and countless other celebrities wear garish “war bonnets” in a caricature of the ceremonial headdress that is culturally authorized for use only by esteemed and worthy tribal leaders from the Indigenous nations of the Southern and Northern Plains. But is this really a desecration or is it a permissible act of artistic appropriation? If there is no legal right to stop these appropriations, why should it matter? Perhaps most vexing of all, it seems to outsiders that not “all Indians” agree on the terms of the debate. Team owner Dan Snyder pointed this out as he hosted his VIP guests, then-Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly and First Lady Martha Shelly, during a 2014 football game in Glendale, Arizona, all wearing hats with the infamous Washington Team logo. 

It’s always a good day when a new article by Professor Tsosie arrives.

Current Washington Law Review Features Several Indian Law Articles


A list:

Negotiating Jurisdiction: Retroceding State Authority over Indian Country Granted by Public Law 280

Robert T. Anderson
87 Wash.L.Rev. 915

Full Article

Inextricably Political: Race, Membership, and Tribal Sovereignty

Sarah Krakoff
87 Wash.L.Rev. 1041

Full Article

Indigenous Peoples and Epistemic Injustice: Science, Ethics, and Human Rights

Rebecca Tsosie
87 Wash.L.Rev. 1133

Full Article

Fleeing East from Indian Country: State v. Eriksen and Tribal Inherent Sovereign Authority to Continue Cross-Jurisdictional Fresh Pursuit

Kevin Naud, Jr.
87 Wash.L.Rev. 1251

Full Article

And a special treat (for me at least), an article by my legendary criminal law and criminal procedure prof:

The Rise, Decline, and Fall (?) of Miranda

Yale Kamisar
87 Wash.L.Rev. 965

Full Article

Rebecca Tsosie Named ASU Regents Professor

Here. An excerpt:

Rebecca Tsosie is one of the most highly regarded scholars of Indian law in the world, authoring more than 40 law review articles and book chapters during the past 15 years. She is co-author of the nation’s leading treatise on Indian law, “Indian Law: Native Nations and the Federal System.” Her work is widely cited and she has contributed chapters to almost every leading volume on American Indian law published since 2001.

Among the many awards she has been granted include the Native Nations Distinguished Alumnus Award from the UCLA School of Law. She is a past recipient of the American Bar Association’s 2002 Spirit of Excellence award and she was honored as Professor of the Year in 2009 at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. The University of Oregon awarded her its inaugural Oregon Tribes Professor of Law position.

As executive director of the ASU Indian Legal Program for 15 years, Tsosie was instrumental in transforming the program into one of the nation’s best and she helped in the formation of the law schools master’s degree program in Indian Law. A graduate student mentor, she also serves on many law school and university committees and she aided in the formation of the Indian Legal Clinic that was recently awarded the President’s Award for Social Embeddedness.

As a valued member of the American Indian community, she is a Supreme Court justice for the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and San Carlos Apache Tribe. She is also engaged in public education efforts and training Indian law attorneys.

Fantastic News: Rebecca Tsosie Scholarship Created

From the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law website:

A new scholarship named for Professor Rebecca Tsosie, currently on sabbatical leave from the Indian Legal Program, has been established with a $10,000 pledge from Dr. Gary Weiss and his wife, Cathleen, the parents of Melissa Dempsey, who graduated from the program in May 2011.

The Rebecca Tsosie Spirit of Excellence Award will be given each year to the student who is most committed to the ideals of the program and plans to serve the legal needs of Native communities.

Weiss said Tsosie was a great influence on his daughter’s life, and her choice to attend the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

“The first time we visited ASU, we met Professor Tsosie and I was extremely impressed,” Weiss said. “She was very helpful talking about the school and community and excited and energetic. When we walked out of that meeting, I turned to Melissa and said, ‘There’s no question this is the place you should go. We don’t need to look any further.’

“In the following three years, I continued to be impressed, and we wanted to do whatever we could to help other students have the same experience, to have enough money that they could participate in a law journal without having to worry about where every single penny was coming from.”

Continue reading

Three Papers from Rebecca Tsosie

Incl. Electronic Paper Climate Change, Sustainability, and Globalization: Charting the Future of Indigenous Environmental Self-Determination
Environment & Energy Law & Policy Journal, Vol. 4, No. 2, p. 188, 2009
Rebecca A. Tsosie 
Arizona State University (ASU) – Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Date Posted: June 19, 2011
Accepted Paper Series

Incl. Electronic Paper Keynote Address – Indigenous Peoples and Global Climate Change: Intercultural Models of Climate Equity
Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation, Vol. 25, p. 7, 2010
Rebecca A. Tsosie 
Arizona State University (ASU) – Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Date Posted: June 19, 2011
Accepted Paper Series

Incl. Electronic Paper Native Nations and Museums: Developing an Institutional Framework for Cultural Sovereignty
Tulsa Law Review, Vol. 45, No. 1, p. 3, Fall 2009
Rebecca A. Tsosie 
Arizona State University (ASU) – Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Date Posted: June 19, 2011
Working Paper Series

Rebecca Tsosie to Join New Mexico Law Faculty

From John LaVelle:

Dear Indian law colleagues,

It my great privilege and pleasure to announce that Professor Rebecca Tsosie will be joining the faculty of the University of New Mexico School of Law, beginning in the summer of 2011.

Thanks to Dean Kevin Washburn for working creatively to facilitate Rebecca’s appointment.

— John