Angela Riley wins prestigious prize for indigenous cultural property scholarship

February 26, 2024
Angela Riley

UCLA School of Law professor Angela R. Riley has earned a leading award for her scholarship at the intersection of Indigenous rights and intellectual property. Riley’s cutting-edge article “The Ascension of Indigenous Cultural Property Law” has been named Best Article in Intellectual Property for 2023 by Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law’s McCarthy Institute and Center for Law, Science and Innovation.

Riley will be presented with the award and a $10,000 prize at the 2024 Copyright Symposium, which the UCLA Institute for Technology, Law and Policy is co-sponsoring with the McCarthy Institute. The March 8 event at UCLA’s Carnesale Commons will focus on issues involving authorship, including panels on artificial intelligence, community authors and cultural property.

“I am so honored to receive this award,” Riley says. “The conference’s interdisciplinary conversations mirror a lot of what I try to accomplish in my work, demonstrating the multifaceted and global impact of Indigenous cultural property law.”

The article was published in the Michigan Law Review. In it, Riley deeply examines how “there is a particular growing global emphasis on issues pertaining to Indigenous Peoples’ cultural property and the harms of cultural appropriation, with calls for redress increasingly framed in the language of human rights.”

Riley is among the country’s leading scholars and advocates in Indian law, and she serves as the director of UCLA Law’s Native Nations Law and Policy Center. She is a professor of law and American Indian studies at UCLA, where she serves as Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Native American and Indigenous Affairs and directs the J.D./M.A. joint degree program in Law and American Indian Studies. An expert on cultural property and Native governance, she has chaired the UCLA campus Repatriation Committee since 2010.

In 2003, Riley became the first woman and youngest justice of the Supreme Court of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Oklahoma. She has served as chief justice since 2010.

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