American Law Institute – ALI – video on the Doctrine of Discovery

The ALI, the American Law Institute, has posted a video of my July 29, 2019 speech, that I delivered for the Oregon Historical Society, on the ALI webpage:
In this lecture, I speak about how the United States acquired the Oregon Country under the international law that we call the Doctrine of Discovery today and under the principles of “Manifest Destiny.”
Of course this land grab was accomplished while the United States almost totally ignored the legal and human rights, and the physical presence, of hundreds of Indian nations and hundreds of thousands of Indian peoples.
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Slavery 1619 Project – Virginia’s First Slaves: American Indians?

The New York Times Sunday magazine dated August 18 was devoted to the Times’ “1619 Project” – a look at slavery in America. This year 2019 is the 400th anniversary since the first Africans were enslaved in America when 20+ Africans were landed at the Jamestown Virginia English colony.

But a little known fact of American history and law is the ubiquitous physical and legal enslavement of Indian peoples over much of what is now the United States during colonial and early American times. In the Virginia colony, my research shows that the first slaves of the English colonists were local Indian peoples and then large numbers of Indians that were captured elsewhere and transported to Virginia to serve as slaves. Much of this activity appears to have occurred before Virginian planters and traders began importing Africans to be enslaved. Complicating this history is that several Indian nations and many individual Indians actively participated with the English in enslaving Indians from other tribes and transporting them to Virginia and to other American colonies.

I was asked to write a book chapter on the subject of American Indian slavery during European colonial times. You can get a free copy of the first draft of my book chapter from the Social Science Research Network:

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First Native American woman law dean to teach at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU

First Native American female dean and prominent Indian law trailblazer to teach at ASU Law

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University is honored to welcome Stacy L. Leeds as the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Distinguished Visiting Indian Law Professor. Leeds is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and carved her place in history when she was named the dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law in 2011, becoming the first Native American woman to be appointed to such position. Currently, she is the vice chancellor for economic development, dean emeritus and a professor at the University of Arkansas, and she will teach federal Indian law this fall as part of ASU Law’s Indian Legal Program.

“We are very honored to have Vice Chancellor Stacy Leeds as the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Distinguished Visiting Indian Law Professor,” said Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, professor and faculty director for ASU Law’s Indian Legal Program and director of the Indian Legal Clinic. “We believe she will be a great addition to our team this fall and a wonderful resource for our students. From the Indian Child Welfare Act to opioid litigation to tribal agriculture, she has combined scholarship and practice to advance and defend Indian rights.”

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Indian Child Welfare Act on Bloomberg law news

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit handed a great victory to Indian Country on August 9 by holding that the Indian Child Welfare Act is constitutional. That court, by a 2-1 vote, reversed a lower court decision that had held that ICWA was unconstitutional.

Bloomberglaw wrote a very concise and easily understandable synopsis of the Fifth Circuit case and this issue – Tribes Nervously Eye Kavanaugh, Gorsuch in Next SCOTUS Challenge Posted Aug. 13, 2019, 3:01 PM

In part, the article states – “The entire body of federal Indian law is based on the idea that tribes are treated differently, not because of their race, but because of politics and diplomacy, said Arizona State law professor Robert J. Miller.

This ICWA challenge could have a domino effect and therefore “strikes at the core of federal Indian law,” said Miller, who is also a tribal judge and an enrolled citizen of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe.”


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Native American Development Corporation in Billings

On July 30-August 1, 2019, the NADC held its 11th annual conference on tribal and individual Indian economic development. I was privileged to be one of the keynote speakers.

Indian country is paying more and more attention to developing private sector economies on reservations. The more jobs and businesses that are located on reservations helps to keep “Indian money” in “Indian country” through what is called the “multiplier effect.” Once a dollar is on a reservation (or in a town, county, or state) the goal is to keep that dollar within your locale as long as possible, multiplying it, as this one dollar moves between consumers, customers, business owners, employees etc. etc.

We can only benefit from the multiplier effect if there are businesses on reservations where reservation residents and visitors can buy necessary and luxury goods and services.

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Nazi Germany and American Indians

On Tuesday, I published an op-ed in the Indian Country Today newspaper. Recently, I have begun researching how, and how much, Nazi scholars, lawyers, and party officials were influenced by United States race law and U.S. Indian law when they were drafting the Nazi Jewish policies and laws. This article presents my current research and opinions on this topic.

My concluding paragraph states:

“How intriguing, yet at the same time how profoundly disturbing, that American Indian law played a role in the Nazi formulation of Jewish policies and laws. Further research will hopefully reveal just how large a role United States Indian laws and policies played in that disturbing chapter of world history.”

You can read the article on Facebook, Twitter, and the Indian Country Today website:

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Doctrine of Discovery Lecture

On July 29, I delivered a public talk on the Doctrine of Discovery, Manifest Destiny, and how the Oregon Country became part of the United States under international law. The talk was part of the Oregon Historical Society’s “History Pub” series. The talk was given at the McMenamin’s pub in Portland Oregon. Around 250 people attended.  The Historical Society has now posted the 1:40 video to its webpage and to YouTube.  You can watch it here:

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