Native Nations Events

Addressing critical public policy issues facing Native tribes through timely programs.

Debrief of the Oral Arguments in Arizona v. Navajo Nation Case

UCLA’s Native Nations Law and Policy Center, ACS, and NALSA held a panel to debrief the oral arguments from the Arizona v. Navajo Nation case. The case is of huge importance as the United States Supreme Court’s decision will address tribal water rights. Our panelists discussed what the case means for the future of tribal water rights, tribal sovereignty, and the future of the Colorado River.

Watch the video of this event here.

To learn more about the case:……




Debrief of the Oral Arguments in Haaland v. Brackeen

We held a debrief on Brackeen v. Haaland with the nation's leading experts, Maggie Blackhawk, Professor at NYU Law, Keith Harper, Chair of the Native American Law Practice at Jenner & Block, and Kate Fort, Director of the Indian Law Clinic at MSU School of Law. The panel was  moderated by Lauren van Schilfgaarde, UCLA School of Law.

Watch the video of this event here.

To learn more about ICWA and the Brackeen v. Haaland, here are additional resources:

November 9, 2022 - Oral Arguments

Supreme Court Briefs (including amicus briefs) can be found on the TurtleTalk page.

This Land (Season 2) podcast explores the history of the case and background on ICWA challengers.

Selected media on the Brackeen Case:

The Supreme Court Case that Could Break Native American Sovereignty by Rebecca Nagel in The Atlantic.

The Fate of Indian Child Welfare Before the Supreme Court: Race, Commerce and Commandeering by Nancy Marie Spears in the Imprint

How a Chippewa Grandmother's Adoption Fight Ended Up in the U.S. Supreme Court by Nancy Marie Spears in the Imprint

In Arizona, small tribe watches warily as the Supreme Court takes up Native adoption law in Washington Post

For decades, welfare laws kept Native American families together. Will the Supreme Court end them? in the Guardian


The Native Nations Law & Policy Center offers many events that address critical public policy issues facing Native tribes.

To stay up to date with plans for future events, contact

Event Recordings

  • 2022 Events

    UCLA Regents' Lecture: Tribal Leadership and the Future of Indian Country

    October 10, 2022




    Castro-Huerta v. Oklahoma and the Attack on Tribal Sovereignty: Where do we go from here?

    "castro-huerta event"

    July 6, 2022


    The Supreme Court upended two hundred years of settled law regarding criminal jurisdiction in Indian country last week in Castro-Huerta v. Oklahoma. In an opinion stemming from the McGirt case, the astonishing decision asserted that there is a presumption of state criminal jurisdiction that must be preempted in Indian country, undermining tribal sovereignty and threatening safety and security for Indian people. Join us for this webinar as we hear from the nation’s leading legal practitioners and scholars about how this case came to be and what we might expect in the wake of its holding.

    Dobbs v. Jackson: The Impact on Native Reproductive Health

    "flyer for Dobbs event"

    July 1, 2022


    The impacts of Dobbs will be far-reaching and likely disproportionally include Native people. Native reproductive health has long been underserved, resulting from a cumulation of historically forced assimilation policies, under-resourced clinics and services, and devastating rates of violence and poverty. Yet, in many ways Native reproductive health has also been targeted. From coercive sterilization efforts through the 1970s to the continued application of the Hyde Amendment, Native people are likely the most in need of holistic, comprehensive healthcare, yet are the least likely to get it. Meanwhile, severe restraints on tribal powers limits the extent to which tribes can meaningfully self-determine their own care. This panel will begin to explore the ways in which the Dobbs decision impacts Native people, and the ways in which Native reproductive healthcare was already precarious. 

    Debrief of the U.S. Supreme Court's Opinion in U.S. v. Denezpi

    "denezpi event"

    June 16, 2022


    The nation’s leading Indian law lawyers debrief about the Supreme Court’s historic 6-3 decision in Denezpi v. United States.

    Watch for an inside look at the historic case for the Ute Mountain Ute. Hear from the nation’s leading Indian law experts — Jen Weddle, counsel for the Tribal Governments, including Ute Mountain and the other CFR Tribes, and Professor Greg Ablavsky, an author of the Indian Law Scholars and Historians Amicus brief — as they dissect the opinion and give their insights as to what we might expect from the Supreme Court in Indian law cases going forward. You won’t want to miss this!



  • 2021 Events

    McGirt v. Oklahoma: Reflections on a Landmark Case and What We’ve Learned So Far

    McGirt v. Oklahoma: Reflections on a Landmark Case and What We’ve Learned So Far

    FEBRUARY 16, 2021


    The groundbreaking case of McGirt v. Oklahoma (2020) altered the landscape of criminal jurisdiction within the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation. Join us for a provocative conversation with the legal pioneers working on the front lines for more than six months now and hear their reflections on both successes and on-going challenges.
    Guest speakers: Jonodev Chaudhuri, Ambassador, Muscogee (Creek) Nation; Sara Hill, Attorney General of the Cherokee Nation; Stacy Leeds, Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law, University of Arkansas School of Law
    Moderated By: Angela R. Riley, Director, Native Nations Law and Policy Center, UCLA School of Law

    United States v. Cooley: Threats to Tribal Police Power and Native Governance

    Poster from United States v. Cooley: Threats to Tribal Police Power and Native Governance

    MARCH 11, 2021


    On March 23rd the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in US v. Cooley, a case addressing the scope of tribal police officers' power to temporarily detain and search non-Indians traveling through the reservation and suspected of violating state or federal law. Join us for a lively and gripping conversation with a remarkable panel of Indian country lawyers involved in the case as they discuss the legal and practical implications of Cooley's outcome for public safety on reservations.

    Launch Event!
    United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Tribal Implementation Toolkit

    Poster from United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Tribal Implementation Toolkit

    APRIL 12, 2021


    The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a standard-setting document that recognizes that Indigenous Peoples have rights to self-determination, equality, property, culture, religious freedom, health, and economic well-being, among many others. It calls on States to undertake legal reform that will remedy past violations and ensure current protections for Indigenous Peoples’ rights. The "Tribal Implementation Toolkit," produced in collaboration between the Native American Rights Fund, the University of Colorado Law School, and UCLA Law's Tribal Legal Development Clinic, considers how tribes can support and implement the Declaration through tribal lawmaking.

    Learn more about the toolkit and the project to implement:

    Roundtable Debrief on the Cooley Oral Argument at the Supreme Court

    Poster from Roundtable Debrief on the Cooley Oral Argument at the Supreme Court

    APRIL 29, 2021


    Join our expert panel as we debrief on the U.S. Supreme Court’s oral arguments of U.S. v. Cooley regarding the extent of tribal police powers.

    Book Talk: A Coalition of Lineages: The Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians

    Flyer for Book Talk: A Coalition of Lineages: The Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians

    September 15, 2021


    The Indigenous people who were brought to Mission San Fernando, northwest of present-day Los Angeles, came from autonomous, lineage-based villages, connected through ceremonies, trade, and intermarriage. Our new book, "A Coalition of Lineages," depicts the dispossession, attempted detribalization, persistence, and multicultural adaptations of these lineages, including formation of an overlapping Mission Indian identity and tribal organization. Although most histories of mission Indians end with the closing of the missions, our book presents powerful evidence that the Fernandeño tribal community has continued into the present. Even as a Tribe seeking federal recognition, the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians has successfully pursued economic development, social welfare for its members, and engagement with federal, state, and local governments.

    You can purchase the book at

    TLDC Highlight: The Need for Confidentiality within Tribal Cultural Resource Protection

    "TLDC Flyer for Confidentiality Event"

    October 6, 2021


    In going about the work of protecting cultural resources, tribes find themselves in a bind. The protection of one resource almost always requires the exchange of another: sensitive tribal information. Tribes are compelled to reveal a staggering amount of detail to trigger protection for their cultural resources. This compulsion to reveal sensitive information fails to respect Indigenous cultural, intellectual, religious, and spiritual assets. This panel will discuss the current framework of cultural resource protection, the limited means by which tribes can protect their sensitive tribal information, and the need for more enhanced confidentiality protections. Read the publication here.

    NNLPC Fall 2021 Speaker Series: Indigenous Peacemaking at the Intersection of Law and Culture

    "Poster for native Nations event, Indigenous Peacekeeping"

    October 26, 2021


    UCLA and UCLA Law hosted a lecture based on the twin premises: "Why do harms matter still today?" and "What does healing look like?" Interventions supporting community-driven healing programs that prioritize collective rights are not consistently supported under the Indian Child Welfare Act (1978) and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (1990), as these legal tools have not resolved on-going conceptual issues of group rights, trauma, memory, and healing. Recognizing that truth needs to be told, and discomfort is a necessary part of healing, the speaker and hosts seek to understand more fully pathways for recognizing and addressing harms.

    NNLPC Fall 2021 Speaker Series: The Ascension of Tribal Cultural Property Law

    "Flyer for NNLPC event, The Ascension of Indisgenous Cultural Property Law"

    November 17, 2021

    This panel was a conversation with leading Indigenous rights scholars who discussed the growing impact of tribal law on issues related to Indigenous Peoples’ cultural and intellectual property.  

  • 2020 Events

    Tribal Legal Development Clinic Brown Bag Lunch Series

    MAY 29, 2020
    Indian Child Welfare Act Constitutionality and Litigation Trends
    Kate Fort
    , Director, Indian Law Clinic, Michigan State University College of Law

    JUNE 5, 2020
    Navajo and Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund
    Ethel Branch
    , Kanji & Katzen

    JUNE 12, 2020
    Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of  Indigenous Peoples
    Kristen Carpenter
    , Council Tree Professor of Law, University of Colorado Law School

    JUNE 19, 2020
    Intersection of Cultural Resource and Environmental Protection
    Geneva E. B. Thompson
    , Associate General Counsel, Yurok Tribe

    JUNE 26, 2020
    McGirt Debrief
    Riyaz Kanji
    , Kanji & Katzen and Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Professor of Law, Michigan State University

    JULY 10, 2020
    Advocating for Indian Country: Policy & Litigation
    Derrick Beetso
    , General Counsel and Fatima Abbas, Director of Policy and Legislative Counsel, National Congress of American Indians

    Red Rising: Indigenous Peoples and Political Participation Series

    SEPTEMBER 9, 2020
    McGirt v. Oklahoma: A Mvskoke Triumph
    Moderated by Professor Angela R. Riley. Featuring: Ambassador Jonodev Chaudhuri, Ambassador, Muscogee (Creek) Nation; Professor Sarah Deer, Professor, University of Kansas; Dean Stacy Leeds, Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas

    SEPTEMBER 17, 2020
    The Execution of Lezmond Mitchell: Disdain for Life and Sovereignty
    Moderated by: Professor Angela R. Riley. Featuring; Jennifer Denetdale, Professor of American Studies, University of New Mexico; Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Professor of Law, Michigan State University College of Law; Addie C. Rolnick, Professor of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Carl Slater, Navajo Nation Council Delegate

    OCTOBER 2, 2020
    United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
    Moderated by Professor Angela R. Riley. Featuring: Kristen Carpenter, Council Tree Professor of Law & Director, American Indian Law Program, University of Colorado Law School; United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Walter Echohawk, President, Pawnee Business Council, Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma

    OCTOBER 15, 2020
    Indigenous Representation in Political Systems
    Representation is a core remedy for invisibility. This notably all-female panel will explore the barriers facing Indigenous women and political office, and the hope and tangible change that comes with piercing the representation ceiling. Representatives from both state and national offices will explore how their presence has impacted the offices they hold, and how, despite their constituency, they are called to represent all of Indian country.
    Moderated by Professor Angela R. Riley. Featuring: Representative Sharice Davids; Representative Ruth Buffalo; Senate Candidate Paulette Jordan;Tribal Advisor Christina Snider

See All
Oct 11, 2022

Alumnus returns to UCLA to deliver Regents Lecture on the future of Indian country

Read More
Jul 29, 2022

Gift Exceeding $4 Million Endows Chairs in Native American Law and Policy

Read More