OU Law establishes first Native American Law Chair


By Associated Press

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) – The University of Oklahoma College of Law has received a gift from the Chickasaw Nation for the Chickasaw Nation Native American Law Chair.

The position is the first endowed chair of its kind in the nation. It will allow OU to attract and retain national scholars in Native American law.

OU Law offers three different programs providing specialization in Native American law: the Juris Doctor Certificate, the Master of Laws and the new Master of Legal Studies.

The OU College of Law has maintained the highest average enrollment of Native American students among law schools nationwide over the past 10 years. This year, 11.1 percent of the incoming first-year class is Native American.

The college also has one of the most important collections of Native American art in the country.

University of Oklahoma College of Law offers new online master’s degree in Indian law

Source: Native American Times

ORMAN, OKLA. – The University of Oklahoma College of Law recently opened enrollment for its new Master of Legal Studies in Indigenous Peoples Law program, with classes beginning Fall 2013. The program is offered online to allow students maximum flexibility.

“Located in the heart of the original Indian Territory, OU Law is uniquely qualified with nationally and internationally renowned faculty to teach students the intricacies of Native American law and the issues concerning indigenous people,” OU Law Dean Joe Harroz said. “Indian law is a vibrant and growing field. We’re thrilled to offer this new program to students, tribal leaders and business professionals who need this legal knowledge.”

The Master of Legal Studies in Indigenous Peoples Law program is tailored for lawyers and non-lawyers seeking legal knowledge in this specialized area. Courses are taught by internationally recognized faculty including Lindsay Robertson and Taiawagi Helton.

“Almost half of our students take at least one Indian law course, making it one of OU Law’s primary areas of study,” Harroz said. “Indian law is woven into the fabric of our culture, from the artwork that surrounds us, to the extensive array of courses we offer, to the annual American Indian Law Review Symposium, which has become the third largest Native American law symposium in the nation.”

Students may earn the master’s degree by successfully completing 30 units of credit over approximately four semesters of study.  Students meet their peers and professors at an introductory course on campus at the beginning of the academic year, although this requirement can be waived for good cause. Students then complete the remainder of their degree plan through courses online.

To qualify for admission to the Master of Legal Studies program, applicants must have earned their bachelor’s degree prior to the first day of class and have strong letters of recommendation, as well as leadership potential. The Master of Legal Studies Admissions Committee operates under a rolling admission process, and admissions may continue until the start of classes. However, applicants are urged to submit their application and supporting documents online at www.law.ou.edu/mls as soon as possible to receive priority review for August enrollment.

The Master of Legal Studies in Indigenous Peoples Law will be guided by an advisory board including:

·         Mita Banerjee, director of the Center for Comparative Native and Indigenous Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany

·         Curtis Berkey, partner, Berkey Williams LLP, and staff attorney at the Indian Law Resource Center in Washington, D.C. from 1979-1990

·         Rep. Tom Cole, Chickasaw tribal member, US House of Representatives

·         Phil Fontaine, Ojibwe tribal member, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations from 1997-2009 in Canada

·         David Gover, Pawnee/Choctaw tribal member, staff attorney with the Native American Rights Fund

·         Darwin Hill, chief of the Tonawanda Seneca Nation

·         Bradford Morse, dean and professor of law at Te Piringa Faculty of Law, the University of Waikato in New Zealand

·         David Mullon, Cherokee tribal member, staff director and chief counsel, US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

·         LeRoy Not Afraid, Crow tribal member, Justice of the Peace, Big Horn County, Montana

·         Dinah L. Shelton, Commissioner and Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

·         Joe Watkins, Choctaw tribal member; supervisory anthropologist and chief, Tribal Relations and American Cultures Program of the National Park Service; and director, Native American Studies program at University of Oklahoma

·         Raquel Yrigoyen Fajardo, director of the International Institute on Law and Society in Peru

The program has received American Bar Association acquiescence, and is pending State Regent approval. For more information on the Master of Legal Studies programs, visit www.law.ou.edu/mls.

About University of Oklahoma College of Law

Founded in 1909, the University of Oklahoma College of Law is Oklahoma’s premier law school and the highest ranked “Best Law School” in the state by US News & World Report. OU Law is also nationally ranked as a top 15 “Best Value” law school and in the top 15 percent of “Best Law Schools” by National Jurist magazine. OU Law has small sections and class sizes that encourage a strong sense of community, accomplished faculty with international expertise and a state-of-the-art facility featuring study rooms, court rooms and classrooms equipped with the latest technology. As Oklahoma’s only public law school, OU Law is currently the academic home of more than 500 students enrolled in the Juris Doctor, Master of Laws and various dual degree programs.