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Course Details

Native American Law and Literature




2 cr.

Senior Writing


Student Year



This is a course about Native American storytelling — as law — and literature. The Acoma Pueblo poet Simon Ortiz once noted that "€œbecause of the insistence to keep telling and creating stories, Indian life continues, and it is this resistance against loss that has made life possible."€ Similarly, Crow Creek Sioux novelist Elizabeth Cook-Lynn wrote that the most important question we can ask of native literature is "What role does American Indian literature play in today's struggles to defend and clarify tribal sovereignty."€ This course will examine the regenerative power of Indigenous stories in relation to both tribal law and federal Indian law. Students will read legal and literary texts produced by Native authors (including Joseph Boyden, Louise Erdrich, Linda Hogan, Basil Johnston, Thomas King, Susan Power, Leslie Silko, Gerald Vizenor, James Welch, Robert Williams Jr., etc) to understand how stories continue to contribute to the persistence of First Nations law in contemporary North America. Topics to be addressed include Native American legal ethics, Indian removal, tribal land allotment, termination, cultural property rights, Indigenous legal education, child welfare laws, etc.


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