A unique legal program within Mitchell Hamline
The Native American Law and Sovereignty Institute has four main components: 1) an academic component offering a certificate for JD students to specialize in this area; 2) a public education component through events, such as our annual conference; 3) advising for the Native American Law Student Association (NALSA) chapter, including participating in the annual National NALSA Moot Court Competition; and 4) a commitment to our law students by focusing on recruitment, retention, graduation, and alumni connections.
As the Director of the Institute, Professor EagleWoman seeks to build community for our law students who are Native American or who have an interest in Native American law. With 570+ Tribal Nations in the United States, it is important to have well-educated legal practitioners to assist in maintaining our homelands, ensuring treaty provisions are upheld, and in furthering Tribal sovereignty.
Further, we maintain a strong connection to the Indigenous peoples of this region and the sovereign Tribal Nations in Minnesota. Contributing to the strength of the law school in a variety of ways, the Institute is also engaged in highlighting and supporting the cultural and traditional Indigenous legal principles our Native faculty and students bring to the law school.
We will work with you to create a course of study tailored to your specific interests and career goals. You can choose from any of Mitchell Hamline’s enrollment options—study full time, part time, on campus, or partly online. Native Justice Scholarships guarantee that recipients will pay no more than $40,000 in tuition for their J.D. (excluding summer and J-Term courses). Pro-rated scholarship amounts are available for summer and J-Term.
We acknowledge our presence in the Tribal and treaty homelands of the Dakota Oyate since time immemorial. These lands are home to the Sisseton, Wahpeton, Mdewakanton and Wahpekute Dakota peoples. There are four Tribal Nations who remain in these lands as Tribal governments, the Lower Sioux Indian Community, the Prairie Island Indian Community, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, and the Upper Sioux Community. We acknowledge and respect the Dakota Oyate as part of the larger Sioux Nation, traditionally known as the Seven Council Fires, the Oceti Sakowin. We also acknowledge the regional territory of the Ojibwe/Chippewa/Anishinaabe peoples in these Tribal homelands. There are seven Tribal Nations who remain in these lands as Tribal governments, the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, and the White Earth Nation. We also acknowledge the ancestral connection of the Ho-Chunk Nation to this region. In these Tribal lands, Indigenous peoples have joined together in community, stewardship, and spirituality upholding traditional values and legal principles.
—This land acknowledgment is not available for public use and is specific for our institution. Please contact the Native American Law and Sovereignty Institute for permission to use.
Individual guidance to fit your goals
Our program is unique because our professors provide students with a high degree of individual attention. Faculty guide students through a specialized track featuring introductory courses such as Native American Law and Introduction to Tribal Law. Advanced courses cover topics including the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), Tribal gaming, treaty rights, and cultural resources. Students can compete in national moot court competitions, and participate in clinics that offer real-world contributions to society and the law.
The Native American Law and Sovereignty Certificate
The Native American Law and Sovereignty Certificate allows students to explore the cross-cultural fields of Native American Law to include: Indigenous legal principles, Tribal law, federal Indian law, and the relationships between Tribal Nations and other governmental entities and systems.
Learn from Native American law scholars and practitioners
Our law professors bring a wide range of experiences to the practice of law.
Professor EagleWoman’s experience includes serving as General Counsel to her own Tribal Nation, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate. As a practicing attorney, she engaged in solo practice representing Tribal individuals and worked in law firms in D.C. and Oklahoma representing Tribal Nations on a range of issues including business development, taxation,code development, civil litigation issues, and on criminal law matters. Professor EagleWoman has experience as a Tribal Court trial judge and currently serves as Chief Justice of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Supreme Court and on appellate panels for intertribal judicial systems.
Professor Forrest Tahdooahnippah formerly served as lead Tribal Attorney for the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma. As a practicing attorney, he represented Tribes from across the United States in matters concerning jurisdictional disputes, energy development, gaming, and the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, among other things. Professor Tahdooahnippah serves on the board of directors of Comanche Nation Enterprises, Inc., a federally-chartered corporation under the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act.
Additionally, the Native American Law and Sovereignty Institute proudly invites a number of notable scholars and practitioners to teach courses during the J-Term and summer sessions. During summer term, Justice Anne McKeig ’92 of the White Earth Nation has offered a course on the Indian Child Welfare Act.
Connect with us
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“The practical skills and knowledge you learn at Mitchell Hamline will help you in your Indian law practice. You will be ahead of the curve.”
–Lenor A. Scheffler ’88 (Lower Sioux)
Former Mitchell Hamline Trustee
- Fall 2023 Native American Law Online Information Sessions for Prospective StudentsPosted August 22
- Professor Tahdooahnippah featured in NPR story at psychedelic studies conferencePosted June 26
- Professor EagleWoman weighs in on Supreme Court’s ICWA rulingPosted June 16
- Mitchell Hamline’s Native American Law Student Association named chapter of the yearPosted April 18
- Mitchell Hamline professor Angelique EagleWoman sworn in as chief justice of tribal Supreme CourtPosted January 11
49 Mitchell Hamline Law Review 623 (2023)
“The Capitalization of “Tribal Nations” and the Decolonization of Citation” by Angelique EagleWoman