February 02, 2022

Study Indian Law Remotely This Summer

Indian law experts lead two intensive remote summer courses examining Federal Indian Law in the context of their impact on traditional subsistence hunting and fishing of Alaska Natives, and crime, punishment and ultimately, justice for Native Americans.

Indian law experts from around the country are teaching this summer at Lewis & Clark Law School in two remote learning courses:  “Alaska Natives and American Laws” and “Criminal Law in Indian Country.”

Law students from any accredited law school can register for the the classes conducted through Zoom. Registration for summer classes begins in February and the add/drop period ends on May 31, 2022. Summer classes are available for academic credit to Lewis & Clark law students, visiting law students, and for auditing by attorneys and non-law students.

The courses feature two of the leading scholars and practitioners in the Indian law field today Judge David Voluck and Barbara Creel. Judge Voluck sits on the benches of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, Sitka Tribe of Alaska, and Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Tribal Government. He co-authored with David S. Case, “Alaska Natives & American Laws, 3rd ed.” Barbara Creel, a member of the Pueblo of Jemez, UNM law faculty, has worked with tribal leaders, commanding officers and senior civilian managers, as well as the individual tribal members and corps staff, to translate complex Indian law issues among all parties and build relationships. She was a contributing author in the 2005 revision of the Felix S. Cohen Handbook of Federal Indian Law.

Judge Voluck teaches the “Alaska Natives and American Laws” class during the first summer session May 31 - June 30 with exams July 1 & 5. This three-credit intensive course is designed to strengthen student understanding of Alaska Native law and the cultural and historical backdrop of its application in rural Alaska. With over 229 Tribal governments, a multitude of Regional and Village Corporations formed pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), and a myriad of Native nonprofit service corporations, Alaska Natives are a powerful economic, political, and legal force.

Alaska Native values and practices regarding the traditional subsistence way of life help inform the culture of all Alaskans and are at the center of cutting edge litigation and international treaties surrounding traditional harvest of wildlife. Judge Voluck shares real life stories from Bush Alaska as well as the latest Indian law litigation to help elucidate issues such as: Aboriginal Title, Native Allotments, the unique Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) and its impact on traditional subsistence hunting and fishing. The course will cover in-depth Alaska Native Tribal Governments and organizations, as well as the latest developments affecting tribal sovereignty.

Professor Creel teaches “Criminal Law in Indian Country” during the second summer session, July 6 - August 4 with exams August 5 & 8. This three-credit intensive course reflects upon crime and punishment of Native American Indians and non-Indians within a unique framework of federal Indian law in the United States. The readings and discussions are designed to investigate issues of criminal law, constitutional law, Indian law and civil rights as they impact Indian Tribes and policy, individuals, and ultimately, justice in Indian Country.

Through the study of original treaty language to the recent decision in Oklahoma v. McGirt, Creel explores the historical underpinnings of criminal law in Indian country and the current impacts on Tribal sovereignty and individual tribal members. With this shared “criminal” history in mind, the class examines contemporary issues such as Native American overrepresentation in jails, and prisons, sentencing disparity, juvenile justice, and disturbing statistics regarding Natives as victims of crime. Students will learn how to analyze and sort through the unique jurisdictional issues and the criminal process applicable to Tribes and individual Native Americans


The Indian Law Program

Dr. Carma Corcoran (Chippewa-Cree) is the director of the Indian Law Program at Lewis & Clark Law School. Her PhD dissertation,“The Juxtaposition of Gentle Action Theory and Traditional Ways of Knowing and Being: In the Provision of Services to Native American Women Experiencing Incarceration”, explored the issue of Incarceration and Native American Women.

Dr. Corcoran teaches as an Adjunct Professor at Portland State University and Salish Kootenai Tribal College. She currently serves on the board of The Women’s Justice Project and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women USA.

Lewis & Clark’s Indian Law Program summer classes are available for academic credit to Lewis & Clark law students, visiting law students, and for auditing by attorneys and non-law students. Auditors not receiving a certificate, alumni, and government or nonprofit employees receive tuition discounts. Information on tuition rates and registering for the summer program is available on the Law School Registrar’s website.