Indigenous Law & Policy Center
The Indigenous Law & Policy Center is the heart of the MSU Law Indigenous Law Program. The Center has two goals: to train law students to work with Indian Country, and to provide services to institutional clients such as Indian tribes, tribal courts, and other tribal organizations on a wide variety of legal and policy questions. Students who participate in the three-credit experiential learning Center course perform extensive research and writing on real-world Indian law questions, subject to intense staff review.
Center students’ final work product is analyzed and used by tribal attorneys; tribal, federal, and state courts; and legislators. The course also provides a variety of occasions for law students to network with tribal court judges, public and private sector Indian lawyers, and legislative staff at all levels of government—opportunities critical to landing a job in Indian Country.
The Center holds an annual Indigenous Law Conference and a yearly speaker series, both of which bring speakers from around the country to discuss issues involving indigenous justice systems, tribal sovereignty, and self-determination. Past conferences include:
- 2013: Nd’Nakweshkodaadimin: A Gathering of Anishinaabe Scholars
- 2012: Off-Reservation Gaming in Michigan: A New Gamble
- 2011: Beyond the Tribal Law and Order Act
- 2010: Persuasion and Ideology
- 2009: International Indigenous Peoples
- 2008: Forty Years of the Indian Civil Rights Act: History, Tribal Law and Modern Challenges
- 2007 (Spring): The Indian Child Welfare Act at 30: Facing the Future
- 2007 (Fall): American Indian Law and Literature
- 2006: Indigenous Justice Systems of North America
- 2005: Tribal Constitutional Issues in the Self-Determination Era
With funding from the Casey Family Programs, the Center is the first law school to join the QUICWA Compliance Collaborative. The affiliation gives students an opportunity to observe and participate in real cases involving Indian child welfare issues.