Matthew L.M. Fletcher

Matthew L.M. Fletcher
[Hi-Res Photo]
Professor of Law & Director of the Indigenous Law & Policy Center
Law College Building
648 N. Shaw Lane Rm 405B
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300

  • Biography

    Matthew L.M. Fletcher is Foundation Professor of Law at Michigan State University College of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Arizona Rogers College of Law, the University of Michigan Law School, the University of Montana Blewett School of Law, and Stanford Law School. He is a frequent instructor at the Pre-Law Summer Institute for American Indian students. He sits as the Chief Justice of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Supreme Court and also sits as an appellate judge for the Colorado River Indian Tribes, the Hoopa Valley Tribe, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians, the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, the Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska, and the Tulalip Tribes. He is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

    He is the Reporter for the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law of American Indians. His newest book, Ghost Road: Anishinaabe Responses to Indian-Hating, will be published by Fulcrum Publishing in 2020. His most recent law review articles appeared in the California Law Review, Michigan Law Review, and Stanford Law Review Online. His hornbook, Federal Indian Law (West Academic Publishing), was published in 2016 and his concise hornbook, Principles of Federal Indian Law (West Academic Publishing), in 2017. Professor Fletcher co-authored the sixth and seventh editions of Cases and Materials on Federal Indian Law (West Publishing 2011 and 2017) and two editions of American Indian Tribal Law (Aspen 2011 and 2020), the only casebook for law students on tribal law. He also authored The Return of the Eagle: The Legal History of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (Michigan State University Press 2012), and American Indian Education: Counternarratives in Racism, Struggle, and the Law (Routledge 2008). He co-edited The Indian Civil Rights Act at Forty with Kristen A. Carpenter and Angela R. Riley (UCLA American Indian Studies Press 2012) and Facing the Future: The Indian Child Welfare Act at 30 with Wenona T. Singel and Kathryn E. Fort (Michigan State University Press 2009). Professor Fletcher’s scholarship has been cited by the United States Supreme Court; in more than a dozen federal, state, and tribal courts; in dozens of federal, state, and tribal court briefs; and in hundreds of law review articles and other secondary legal authorities. Finally, Professor Fletcher is the primary editor and author of the leading law blog on American Indian law and policy, Turtle Talk,

    Professor Fletcher graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1997 and the University of Michigan in 1994. He has worked as a staff attorney for four Indian Tribes – the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, the Hoopa Valley Tribe, the Suquamish Tribe, and the Grand Traverse Band He previously sat on the judiciaries of the Grand Traverse Band, the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians; and served as a consultant to the Seneca Nation of Indians Court of Appeals. He is married to Wenona Singel, a member of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, and they have two sons, Owen and Emmett.

  • Degrees

    J.D. 1997, University of Michigan Law School; B.A. 1994, University of Michigan

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Courses

    Advanced Topics in Indian Law
    (Formerly DCL 563) Provides an opportunity for in-depth discussion and examination of current legal issues of federal and tribal law in Indian country including tribal gaming and economic development, tribal policy and governance, treaty rights, international indigenous peoples, and other contemporary topics.

    Federal Law and Indian Tribes
    (Formerly DCL 486) An examination of the law and policy of the United States regarding Indian tribes and their citizen members. Study the relationships between the federal, state, and tribal governments; and examine the source and scope of federal, state and tribal authority in Indian Country

    Foundations of Law
    The primary focus of this course is to provide first-year students with an introduction to the study of law, with preliminary exposure to legal reasoning, the structure of the American legal system, and fundamental legal-theoretical concepts. This course also seeks to put students who come to the law from a variety of academic backgrounds on a more equal footing.

  • Notes
  • Bar Admission(s)

    Arizona, Michigan, Washington

  • Publications

    Law Faculty Repository »

    SSRN Author Page »


    On Indian-Hating (Fulcrum Publishing, forthcoming)

    Cases and Materials on Federal Indian Law (West Academic Publishing) (7th ed. 2017) (with Charles F. Wilkinson, Robert A. Williams, Jr., and Kristen A. Carpenter)

    Principles of Federal Indian Law (Concise Hornbook Series) (West Academic Publishing 2017)

    Federal Indian Law (West Hornbook Series) (West Academic Publishing) (2016)

    The Eagle Returns: The Legal History of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (Michigan State University Press 2012)

    Forty Years of the Indian Civil Rights Act (co-edited with Kristen A. Carpenter and Angela R. Riley, UCLA American Indian Studies Press 2012)

    American Indian Tribal Law (Aspen 2011)

    Selected Articles

    Politics, Indian Law, and The Constitution, 108 California Law Review __ (forthcoming 2020), available at

    Failed Protectors: The Indian Trust and Killers of the Flower Moon, 117 Michigan Law Review __ (forthcoming 2019)(reviewing David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (2017)), available at

    Indian Children and the Federal-Tribal Trust Relationship, 95 Nebraska Law Review 885-964 (2017) (with Wenona T. Singel)

    Tribal Jurisdiction – A Historical Bargain, 76 Maryland Law Review 593-628 (2017) (with Leah Jurss)

    Bullshit and the Tribal Client, 2015 Michigan State Law Review 1435-1472

    Contract and (Tribal) Jurisdiction, 126 Yale Law Journal Forum 1-7 (April 11, 2016), available at

    Tribal Disruption and Federalism, 76 Montana Law Review 97-126 (2015)

    A Unifying Theory of Tribal Civil Jurisdiction, 46 Arizona State Law Journal 779-843 (2014)

    Tribal Disruption and Indian Claims, 112 Michigan Law Review First Impressions 65-72 (with Kathryn E. Fort and Nicholas J. Reo) (2014), available at

    American Indian Legal Scholarship and the Courts: Heeding Frickey’s Call, 4 California Law Review Circuit 1-22 (2013), available at

    Indian Courts and Fundamental Fairness: Indian Courts and the Future Revisited, 84 University of Colorado Law Review 59-96 (2013)

    (Re)Solving the Tribal No-Forum Conundrum: Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community, 123 Yale Law Journal Online 311-19 (2013), available at             

    Tribal Consent, 8 Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties 45-121 (2012)

    The Past and Future of American Indian Legal Scholarship: An Introductory Essay for the American Indian Law Journal, 1 American Indian Law Journal 1-27 (2012) (inaugural essay), available at

    Resisting Federal Courts on Tribal Jurisdiction, 81 University of Colorado Law Review 973-1025 (2010)

    Factbound and Splitless: The Certiorari Process as a Barrier to Justice for Indian Tribes, 51 Arizona Law Review 933 (forthcoming 2010)