Environmental Law & Indian Tribes: The 'Rez and the 'Hood

ES173 - Environmental Law and Indian Tribes: The "Rez" and the "Hood"
An examination of environmental decision-making in the context of the most regulated lands in the United States--Indian reservations. An overview of Indian law and policy will be followed by a look at layers of government involved in federal environmental regulation. Will consider environmental justice issues in the context of a solid waste proposal for a reservation. Readings include edited judicial opinions that illustrate the historic threads of national environmental and Indian policies. For the final project students will consider an environmental issue involving a selected tribe and its neighbors.

Course held on: -MTWR--  Building/Room:LOVE  318
Sly, Peter
psly DIAM 317 Office Hours: Tu-W-Th 9:30-10:30 and M-Tu-W 3:30-4:30

Course Description | Required Books | Coursebook | Course requirements
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Course Description

This course will examine environmental decisionmaking in the context of the most regulated lands in the United States – Indian reservations.   It will begin with an overview of Indian law and policy, and then look at the layers of government involved in federal environmental regulation.   We will consider environmental justice issues in the context of a solid waste proposal for a reservation.   Readings will include edited judicial opinions that illustrate the historic threads of national environmental and Indian policies.  For the final project, students will consider an environmental issue involving a selected tribe and its neighbors.



Indian tribes have been at the forefront of recent environmental law and policy.    Indian law and policy affects not only the reservation environment, but also adjacent communities.  Environmental decisionmaking, difficult in a federal system, is further complicated by the unique status of tribal governments.  Many questions arise without easy answers. Should tribes have regulatory and land use authority over nonmembers of the tribe who live within reservation boundaries?   Should governments encourage or discourage commercial development in reservation border areas?   Which government makes the judgment call about a project that affects the environment of both reservation and neighboring lands?     Should courts, agencies or legislatures answer these questions?   What role should history and the passage of time play in interpreting agreements of the past?    



Readings will include edited judicial opinions that illustrate the historic threads of national environmental and Indian policies.   We will also use THE RIGHTS OF INDIANS AND TRIBES, a basic legal reference and THE CAMPO INDIAN LANDFILL WAR which explores solid waste regulation on a reservation (“the rez”) and its adjacent communities (“the ‘hood”).   We will talk with people involved with current environmental and Indian issues in Maine.   The writing project will simulate the federal legislative process for a hypothetical solid waste landfill near the border of a contemporary reservation.





Required Books

McGOVERN, THE CAMPO INDIAN LANDFILL WAR (University of Oklahoma, 1995).  



          

PEVAR, RIGHTS OF INDIANS AND TRIBES, (3rd Ed., New York University Press, 2004).



          

Coursebook (See below)     



    

RECOMMENDED:  STRUNK & WHITE, THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE



    

WEB RESEARCH, including the following one-hour audio program required for the first class:   “Nations Within: The Conflict of Native American Sovereignty, (Justice Talking audio program, 9/10/2001).    The program can be found at



    

Gover & Gede NPR discussion

 

Coursebook

 

 

Course requirements

Daily Assignments:  Class web postings or briefs will be due at 10 AM on the day of each class.  Students will prepare to discuss each others' postings in class.



    

 



    

Research Project and Congressional Simulation:  Each student will look at a contemporary reservation and its neighbors and report back to the class. Students will gather facts and policies to advise a future congressman on the following question:   



    

Which government, the ____ Tribe or ____ County should make the final decision about a proposed municipal waste landfill located near the reservation border? 



    

 



    

Evaluations: Evaluations will be based on



    

            (1) Class discussion (30%);



    

            (2) Short questions or briefs submitted by 10AM on the day of each class (30%);



    

            (3) Three quizzes (15%); and,



    

            (4) Oral and written presentation of simulated congressional testimony (25%).



    

 



    

Preview:     Students considering this course are urged to listen to a one-hour NPR debate   “Nations Within: The Conflict of Native American Sovereignty, (Justice Talking audio program, 9/10/2001).   Thie program can be found at: http://www.justicetalking.org/viewprogram.asp?progID=188  A written question based on this debate is required by 10 AM on the first day of class. 

 

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