Update: Tribal Law Journal 20th Anniversary Symposium

The Tribal Law Journal is hosting its 20th Anniversary Symposium on Honoring Indigenous Dispute Resolution. Speakers include Rep. Deb Haaland and the Honorable Robert Yazzie. There will also be a screening of Tribal Justice, with film panelists the Honorable Abby Abinanti and the Hoborable Claudette White. This program has been approved for 3.0 general and 1.0 ethics CLE credits.


The Symposium will be held at the University of New Mexico School of Law on March 29, 2019. Please see the announcement for more details.

Tribal Law Journal Volume 17 Issue

Here is a link to the Tribal Law Journal’s newest issue, Volume 17: http://lawschool.unm.edu/tlj/volumes/index.php

Volume 17 features three recently published law review articles written by students:

  • Federal Restrictions of Tribal Customary Law: The Importance of Tribal Customary Law in Tribal Courts  by Concetta R. Tsosie de Haro (Dine)
  • “Black Water” – The Devastating Effects of Alcohol on the Core Values of the A:Shiwi (Zuni) by Christy Chapman (Zuni)
  • “Postcolonial” Management of the Transboundary Guaraní Aquifer System: Indigenous Input As A Guide For Environmental Sustainability by Melissa Leonard

New Scholarship on Federal Restrictions on Tribal Customary Law

Concetta Tsosie de Haro has posted “Federal Restrictions on Tribal Customary Law: The Importance of Tribal Customary Law in Tribal Courts.” The paper was published in the Tribal Law Journal.

Here is the abstract:

This article examines the adverse effects of federal case law and legislation on tribal courts and tribal courts’ ability to incorporate tribal customary law. Tribal customary law is the law given to tribes by holy deities which governs tribal ways of life. It is important to maintain tribal customary law because it strengthens tribal communities’ identities and cultural foundations. While Supreme Court precedent has, at different times, both restricted and promoted tribes’ ability to use tribal customary law to adjudicate the cases of tribal members, federal legislation including the Major Crimes Act, the Indian Civil Rights Act, the Tribal Law and Order Act, and the Violence Against Women Act continues to restrict tribes’ ability to apply customary law in tribal courts. To illustrate one way in which current federal Indian policy limits tribes’ ability to use customary law, the author highlights the ways in which two-spirit tribal members are excluded and ignored by the protections established in the Violence against Women Act. As the use of tribal customary law is critical to the maintenance of tribal sovereignty, this article advocates for corrections to these legislative restrictions to promote tribal court’s use of tribal customary law.

New Student Scholarship on Understanding Tribal Courts and the Application of Fundamental Law

April Wilkinson has posted “A Framework for Understanding Tribal Courts and the Application of Fundamental Law: Through the Voices of Scholars in the Field of Tribal Justice,” forthcoming in the Tribal Law Journal, on SSRN.

Christine Zuni Cruz on Shadow Scholarship and Indian Law

Christine Zuni Cruz has posted her great paper, “ Shadow War Scholarship, Indigenous Legal Tradition, and Modern Law in Indian Country “, published in the Tribal Law Journal, on SSRN.

Here is the abstract:

This article documents the purposes and reasons for the development of the Tribal Law Journal, the University of New Mexico School of Law’s electronic journal created to promote scholarship on tribal law and the Indigenous legal tradition. It discusses the use of the internet for the work of the journal and of the need to increase an understanding and awareness of the law of Indigenous peoples. The diversity of indigenous peoples, in and of itself, requires unique approaches to the discussion of tribal law. The article considers how the Zapatista Movement in Chiapas utilized the internet. The Zapatista’s engagement of the Mexican government has been described as a “shadow war” for its engagement in conflict in “symbolic rather than real terms.” This early exploitation of the internet allowed the Zapatista to get their position across without having to rely on gatekeepers. The article describes how the Journal follows the same strategy in respect to tribal law. The important developments occurring in law at the tribal level require Indigenous Peoples’ awareness of trends among Indigenous peoples in the United States and across the world. Electronic communication has significantly facilitated this. The article concludes with a discussion of the limitations that challenge electronic communication among Indigenous Peoples.