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Lewis & Clark Law Review

Spring Symposium

Date: April 15, 2011 Location: Lewis & Clark Law School, Classroom 7

Lewis & Clark Law School, Classroom 7

The Future of International Law in Indigenous Affairs: The Doctrine of Discovery, the United Nations, and the Organization of American States.


For More information visit the Spring Symposium Homepage.


This conference brings together expert practitioners and cutting-edge academic thinkers from around the globe to discuss very timely questions about the future and the promise of international law in Indigenous affairs.

For the past several decades, Indigenous Peoples have forced the international community and international law to increasingly turn attention to the rights and issues of Indigenous Peoples.  Some 370 million Indigenous People in more than 90 countries around the globe face educational, poverty, legal, health, political, and sociological issues that surpass what most nations and other specific peoples have to address.

This conference will focus primarily on international law issues surrounding the Doctrine of Discovery, the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Organization of American States.

Proceeding with an examination of the Doctrine of Discovery, the original international law from the fifteenth century, and how it was adopted and applied by settler/colonizer societies in North and South America and in Australia and New Zealand, conference participants will describe how Indigenous Peoples have resisted conquest and settler society mindsets and legal regimes and have remained viable communities today that exercise sovereign and legal powers.

The process of enacting and implementing the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be examined.  In particular, the conference will address the promise of the Declaration for the future of Indigenous affairs.

In addition, a commissioner of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, and other conference participants, will address and analyze the use of the OAS by Indigenous Peoples to fight for their property and human rights.

The impacts that international investment have had and continue to have on Indigenous Peoples, and the legal mechanisms that can mitigate the threats posed by foreign investments, will also be addressed.

The 2011 Spring Symposium is a collaboration between the Lewis & Clark Global Law Program, the International Law Society, and our co-sponsor—Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney.


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