Thursday, 22 December 2016

Indigenous Rights: Changes and Challenges in the 21st Century

Now published: Indigenous Rights: Changes and Challenges in the 21st Century
Edited by Sarah Sargent and Jo Samanta
Published by University of Buckingham Press

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

SLSA 2017 Newcastle Call for Papers: Indigenous Rights

SLSA 2017 Newcastle

Call for Papers: Indigenous Rights

Call for papers: Horses, Society and the Law: Past, Present and Future

A symposium will be held at De Montfort University, Leicester, United Kingdom. This symposium explores the relationship of horses, society and the law across many positions, including, for instance, the use of horses in the rehabilitation of juvenile and adult criminal offenders, the role of the horse in national identity, modern popular culture and cultural heritage, in sport, and in leisure and recreation activities, and in the preservation of public access to bridle paths and other green common areas. 
We are inviting paper abstracts of 250-300 words to be submitted for inclusion in our Symposium to be held at De Montfort University.  There will be an edited edition of Contemporary Issues in Law to publish selected papers (subject to the usual peer review process) from the conference. 
Proposal Your proposal should be sent to Dr Sarah Sargent at by no later than noon, Tuesday January 31, 2017. Please also direct your abstracts queries to Dr Sarah Sargent. 
A decision regarding all abstracts/papers for the conference will be made no later than Wednesday, February 15, 2017.  

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

International Indian Treaty Council sends urgent communication to UN about Dakota Access pipeline

The International Indian Treaty Council has filed an urgent communication with four of the UN Special Rapporteurs regarding the Dakota Access pipeline and the concerns raised about it by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The communication is addressed to four thematic rapporteurs: on the situation of human rights defenders, on the rights of indigenous peoples, on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, and the environment and human rights.

This press release from the International Indian Treaty Council  explains that the urgent  communication  "requests the intervention of these UN human rights mandate holders to call upon the United States to uphold its statutory, legal, Treaty and human rights obligations and impose an immediate and ongoing moratorium on all pipeline construction until the Treaty and human rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, including their right to free prior and informed consent, can be ensured."

Monday, 29 August 2016

Dakota Access Pipeline Getting National Attention in the US

Efforts to continue construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline in spite of the concerns and protests of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have finally reached national consciousness in the United States. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe  has been raising concerns about the pipeline for months. This blog has been following the developments and concerns raised about the pipeline since March of this year.

The comparisons to the controversial Keystone XL pipeline are inevitable, with this story noting that  the Dakota Access pipeline is “quickly emerging as a sort of Keystone XL Part 2.”

Sunday, 26 June 2016

US Supreme Court decision on tribal court jurisdiction over non-tribal member

On June 23, 2016, the US Supreme Court issued a ruling on the issue of whether tribal courts have jurisdiction over non-tribal members in civil tort claims.

The decision was split 4-4, finding in favour of the jurisdiction of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, in the decision Dollar General v Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.  In essence this deadlock upholds the decision of the lower court, which found in favour of tribal jurisdiction.

The judgment from the US Supreme Court itself does not shed much light on the reasoning behind the decisions on either side, simply stating that “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.” 

As one opinion analysis notes, the case centered on the issue  of “exactly constitutes enough consent”  from non-members for  tribal jurisdiction to apply.

This decision is yet another part of the complex and at times unclear federal law on American Indians. One commentator notes that: 

 “Because of the uniqueness of Indian law and as a result of its patchwork nature, Justices have been known in private conversation to express frustration with the vagaries of Indian law cases. More than two decades ago, a Justice who was speaking in private to a group of scholars observed that when it came to Indian law, “we just make it up as we go.”

Useful commentary on the decision can also be found here. 

Will this decision provide clarity on the contentious issue of tribal jurisdiction, or is this to be regarded as an instance of the Court side-stepping a difficult question? 

Monday, 13 June 2016

"The Exercise of External Self-Determination by Indigenous Groups: The Republic of Lakotah and the Inherent Sovereignty of American Indian Peoples"

A 2015 article on the Republic of Lakotah
"The Exercise of External Self-Determination by Indigenous Groups: The Republic of Lakotah and the Inherent Sovereignty of American Indian Peoples" Sarah Sargent and Graham Melling