American Law Institute
The American Law Institute is pleased to announce the episode “American Indian Law: When Two Sovereigns Collide.” The Reasonably Speaking podcast series features interviews with legal experts on some of the most important legal topics of our time. Each episode takes listeners through the law in action, beyond courtrooms and casebooks, examining the relationship between our laws and our society.
In this episode, renowned experts on American Indian law and policy, Matthew Fletcher and Wenona Singel, discuss the nuanced and highly complex field of American Indian Law. Matthew and Wenona begin by exploring the history of tribal sovereignty and discuss the rights of American Indians as both tribal citizens and U.S. citizens. The episode then explores jurisdiction across border lines, particularly in a criminal context. Matthew and Wenona discuss the history of violence against native women, and why, until recently, prosecution has been so difficult. The history of and current U.S. court challenges to the Indian Child Welfare Act are also examined.
Matthew L.M. Fletcher is Professor of Law at Michigan State University College of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center. He sits as the Chief Justice of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Supreme Court and also sits as an appellate judge for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, the Hoopa Valley Tribe, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians, and the Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska. He is a member of the Grand Traverse Band, located in Peshawbestown, Michigan. Full biography
Wenona Singel is an Associate Professor of Law at Michigan State University College of Law and the Associate Director of the Indigenous Law & Policy Center; she is currently on leave to work as deputy legal counsel to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. She teaches courses in the fields of federal Indian law and natural resources law, and her research and publications address the development of tribal legal systems and tribal accountability for human rights. She has served as the Chief Appellate Justice for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and as the Chief Appellate Judge for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. From 2006 to 2009, she served as President and Board Member of the Michigan Indian Judicial Association. On March 29, 2012, the United States Senate passed by unanimous consent President Barack Obama's nomination of her to serve as a member of the Advisory Board of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.