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Native Land Law


Native Land Law: CLE Series

Native Land Law is a continuing legal education (CLE) series for legal professionals, tribal leaders and others interested in Indian law. The series offers continuing legal education (CLE) credits and training for legal professionals, tribal leaders and others interested in federal Indian law. It provides an overview of the 17 legal principles in Native Land Law: General Principles of Law Relating to Native Lands and Natural Resources (see below for more information) and offers analysis of federal laws and policies that impact the field of Indian law today.

Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the historical and legal contexts that shape Native land law and will be challenged to consider alternative approaches that are workable within a U.S. constitutional framework.

Trainings are fully accredited and provided online through Thomson Reuters West LegalEdcenter. To register for an upcoming training, or to view previously aired programs On Demand, click on the active link for each CLE below.

More CLE programs coming soon!

CLE Series 

Originally Aired on April 9, 2013 1:00-3:00 p.m. (CST)

Native Land Law 101: Fundamentals of Policy & History

Provides an overview of the fundamental principles of U.S. federal Indian law and examines the policies underlying Indian land law. Also provides an overview of Native Land Law’s 17 General Principles, including the historical context in which the Principles were developed and how they are applied today. 

Originally Aired on May 14, 2013 1:00-3:00 p.m. (CST)

Principles 2, 10 & 13: Discovery Doctrine, Plenary Power & Termination

Explores the legal underpinnings of the Discovery Doctrine and plenary power and provides a review of analysis under current majority opinions and alternative analyses offered in Native Land Law

Originally Aired on June 11, 2013 1:00-3:00 p.m. (CST)

Principles 9 & 17: Treaties

Explores the history of treaty-making and the legal status of Indian treaties with the US as defined in the Constitution, in US case law and as referenced in international law.  

Originally Aired on July 9, 2013 1:00-3:00 p.m. (CST)

Principles 1, 3 & 5: Land Ownership & Tenure

Explores the legal rights of Native nations regarding ownership and control of their lands and the constitutional underpinnings of aboriginal title.

Originally Aired on August 20, 2013 1:00-3:00 p.m. (CST)

Principles 6, 7 & 8: Trusteeship & Trust Title

Reviews treaties and statutes that recognize and guarantee Indian and Alaska Native self-government and self-determination and explores whether or not it is legally necessary for land to be held in trust in order for it to be held under the jurisdiction of a Native nation, remain non-taxable by state and local governments, and continue to be protected against alienation.

Originally Aired on September 10, 2013 1:00-3:00 p.m. (CST)

Principles 11 & 12: Self-Determination

Details constitutional limits of federal government to interfere with Native governments’ ownership of their lands and compares and contrasts these constitutional limits with the policy of self-determination held by the US government for the last 50 years.

Originally Aired on October 15, 2013 1:00-3:00 p.m. (CST)

Principles 4 & 14: Taxation by Tribal/Federal/State Government

Reviews current tax law as it relates to Indian lands and the activities on Indian lands and considers constructive reforms.

Native Land Law: Publication

ILTF worked in partnership with Indian Law Resource Center to develop a set of 17 General Principles of law that create a legal framework to guide the future development of federal law relating to Indian land and resources.

The resulting publication, Native Land Law: General Principles of Law Relating to Native Lands and Natural Resources, provides a comprehensive overview of the General Principles and an extensive legal analysis of relevant federal law.

Here's what one leading legal scholar had to say about Native Land Law:

Native Land Law provides a penetrating and useful understanding of the underlying principles of native land law in the United States through a proper reading of Justice Marshall’s opinions against a backdrop of then-prevailing international law and the reinforcement of those foundational principles in modern instruments such as the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is against these basic principles that we are able to identify and address the present errors, anomalies and misunderstandings in native land law today."

--John EchoHawk, Executive Director, Native American Rights Fund

How to Order

Native Land Law, published by Thomson Reuters in 2012, is available for purchase on the Thomson Reuters WestLaw website.

Order Native Land Law now

Native Land Law - Abridged Version

We have also developed an abridged version of Native Land Law which provides an overview of each of the General Principles and includes a timeline of major events in U.S. history related to Indian law. It is available as a PDF or you can contact us to request a hard copy.

View PDF of abridged version