At the end of this month a 30 credit hour program allowing students to get an online Master of Jurisprudence in Indian law will be available thanks to a collaboration between the University of Tulsa College of Law and Concord Law School of Kaplan University.
Classes offered focus on tribal gaming law, federal Indian law, the Indian Child Welfare Act, civil jurisdiction in Indian country, tribal government, taxation, energy and mineral development, environmental protection, social services, and water rights.
The scope of classes came about so students “would have a good working knowledge of some of the legal language used among the different organizations of businesses and government agencies that deal with doing business with Indians,” Shonday Harmon (Muscogee Creek), the program’s co-director told the Cherokee Phoenix. She wants the graduates to have “an understanding of the legal landscape in Indian country.”
The program is intended for graduate students working around tribal governments and businesses, and for lawyers looking to gain additional experience.
For the fall 2011 semester, which begins August 29, the program has 19 applicants from 10 states. Among the applicants 12 tribes are represented and four of the 19 applicants are non-Native.
Judge Patrick E. Moore, of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, sees a need for this type of program and is quoted on its website: “As a tribal leader, judge and educator, I have observed and participated in the field of Indian law for more than 35 years. Educating those who are or will be involved in the operation and management of tribal government is essential for our continued growth and prosperity. Tribal leaders must study, at the graduate level, the duties and responsibilities of Indian government and the basics of Indian law, all of which are covered in this excellent program.”