AILP Community Events & News


The 54th Algonquian Conference - October 20-23, 2022

Algonquian Conference flyer oct 20-23, 2022

Check out all our Upcoming Events for Fall 2022!

  • NEW 8/16/22!  Download our Colorado AILP Career Guide!
  • Wed., Oct. 12 from 6-8 p.m.: Indigenous Youth and Human Rights: An Indigenous Peoples Day Event
    • Click here for more information, including parking info.

EVENT: Stories From The Euchee Reservation (3/14/2022) (PAST)

Please join the American Indian Law Program and the Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder for an upcoming even, Stories From The Euchee Reservation.

Former Muscogee (Creek) Nation Judge Gregory Bigler will be reading excerpts from his upcoming book, Stories From The Euchee Reservation, a reflection on traditional and modern stories from the Euchee Reservation. This event will be hybrid, with in-person attendance in the Wolf Law Garden Level Conference Room and virtual attendance in the AILP Zoom room, CU.LAW/AILP.

Monday, March 14, 2022 from 12 PM - 1 PM
Wolf Law Garden Level Conference Room

 AILP Event 3/14/22


The American Indian Law Program will be hosting a virtual Information Session covering important details about the Graduate Certificate in American Indian Law that can be earned alongside your Juris Doctor. AILP Director Kristen Carpenter, Professor S. James Anaya, Visiting Professor Chase Velasquez, and Program Fellow Kevin Miller (c/o '20) will explain the registration process, requirements for earning the Certif icate, how the Certificate sets candidates apart during job searches, and answering questions from attendees.

This Information Session will take place on Wednesday, February 16 (02/16/22) from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM at

We will record the session for asynchronous viewing but encourage live participation for anyone with questions they would like answered regarding the Certificate and our program.

 Image of AILP Program faculty and students, text block featuring same text written above announcement image.


Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change: Preparing for COP26 was a Zoom event featuring Fawn Sharp (National Congress of American Indians President), Kim Gottschalk (Native American Rights Fund Staff Attorney), and Andrea Carmen (International Indian Treaty Council President) to discuss the annual United Nations Climate Change Summit COP26 in Glasgow on Oct. 31 - Nov. 12, 2021.

To view the recording of this panel, please click here.



LUNCH EVENT: Lawyering the Indian Child Welfare Act (PAST)

LAWYERING THE INDIAN CHILD WELFARE ACT: History and Background of the Act and Event Information
Authored by Colorado Law 2L Student Emiliano Salazar (c/o 2023)

Please join the American Indian Law Program and guest speakers Matthew Fletcher and Wenona Singel for a talk on the Indian Child Welfare Act, the petitions challenging the Act currently pending before the Supreme Court of the United States, and the potential ramifications for American Indians and American Indian law if the Act is ruled unconstitutional. The event will take place on October 7, 2021, from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM in Room 205. Food will be provided, as will takeaway containers to comply with Colorado Law's current restrictions on eating in enclosed spaces. Contact AIL Program fellow Kevin Miller ( for questions. To attend via Zoom, please visit on Oct. 7, 2021, at 12 PM MT.

 A conversation with Matthew Fletcher and Wenona Singel on 10/07/2021 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM in Room 205. To join via Zoom, visit during the listed event time

Fletcher is the Foundation Professor of Law at Michigan State University College of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center. He is also a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. 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 a member of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.

The case Fletcher and Singel will be discussing is Brackeen v. Haaland (formerly Brackeen v. Bernhardt) a lawsuit brought by Texas, Indiana, Louisiana, and individual plaintiffs alleging that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is unconstitutional. ICWA is a federal law that provides tribal governments with jurisdiction over custody, foster care, and adoption disputes that involve children residing or domiciled within reservation boundaries and children eligible for enrollment as tribal members. From the perspective of many child welfare advocates, ICWA sets the “gold standard” for maintaining children’s connections to family, culture, and community. But others perceive ICWA as a barrier to their interests in making Indian children available for adoption by non-Indians and to state sovereignty over family law matters.

ICWA (25 USC § 1915) was passed in 1978 to reverse and remedy a long history of federal policy breaking up Native families in the name of assimilating Indians into mainstream society, religion, education, and economies. For decades Indian children were removed, even absent abuse or neglect, because child welfare workers, courts, and agencies believed they would be better off with white parents. However, Congressional testimony showed the opposite; both Indian children and their families were suffering psychological and other trauma as a result of the assimilation and adoption policies.

ICWA created a series of safeguards to prevent the unlawful removal of children from their tribal lands and cultural heritage. For example, when an involuntary custody proceeding is initiated involving an Indian child as defined by statute, notice must now be issued and sent to the child’s parents, the child’s Indian custodian, and agents of each tribe in which the child may be eligible for enrollment. If a child falls under the jurisdictional rules of ICWA, the tribe can maintain jurisdiction over the custody determination and exercise authority to prioritize placement with tribally enrolled relatives or foster care providers in the absence of good cause to the contrary.

Professors Fletcher and Singel, who have authored a book on ICWA and its place in the socio-legal landscape of the United States, will be examining the case and its two overarching questions: 1) whether ICWA is unconstitutionally race-based, and 2) whether Congress exceeded its authority by entering the arena of child placement when it authorized ICWA rather than leaving Indian child placement to determination by the states.

The Brackeen plaintiffs claim that ICWA unconstitutionally discriminates against non-Indian parents seeking to adopt Indian children by focusing on race-matching, preventing the children from finding the best possible home. They say this race-based discrimination should be barred by the equal protection clause of the constitution. However, tribes and Indian advocates assert the long-standing rule that Indian status is political versus race-based and does not violate equal protection. This key distinction is at the heart of many Indian policies, such as those relating to education, housing, and healthcare.

As challenges to the ICWA unfold in the United States, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides: "Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace, and security as distinct peoples and shall not be subjected to any act of genocide or any other act of violence, including forcibly removing children of the group to another group." In 2021, a study of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognized the ICWA as an important measure for advancing Indigenous children’s rights in the U.S.

For additional reading:

Matthew L.M. Fletcher and Wenona T. Singel, Facing the Future: The Indian Child Welfare Act at 30 (2009)

Kristen A. Carpenter and Lorie M. Graham, Human Rights to Culture, Family, and Self-Determination: The Case of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (2014)

Sarah Krakoff, They Were Here First: American Indian Tribes, Race, and the Constitutional Minimum (2017)

Leah Litman and Matthew L.M. Fletcher, The Necessity of the Indian Child Welfare Act (2020)

United Nation Expert Mechanism Study on the Rights of the Indigenous Child under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2021)



Colorado Law Native American Law Students Association To Host 2022 National Moot Court

The National Native American Law Students Association, in partnership with the University of Colorado Law School, and the CU NALSA Chapter, are excited to host the 30th Annual NNALSA Moot Court Competition in Boulder, Colorado on February 26th and 27th, 2022.

Professor and American Indian Law Program Director Kristen Carpenter will serve as the problem author, and the competition will see teams from law schools around the country visit Colorado Law to argue before a panel of guest judges.

For more information and to stay up to date on news and information regarding this event, please visit the competition's website or contact the 2022 NNALSA Moot Court Administrator directly at

NARF-Colorado Law Implementation Project Receives Henry Luce Foundation Grant

Tribal Attorney Chase Velasquez Joins Clinical Faculty as Visiting Professor, Interim Director of American Indian Law Clinic

Chase Velasquez, a tribal attorney with experience at the Navajo Nation Department of Justice and the San Carlos Apache Tribe’s Department of Justice, has joined the University of Colorado Law School as a visiting clinical professor and interim director of the American Indian Law Clinic.

Velasquez is an enrolled member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe. He was raised on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in northeastern Arizona.

Chase Velasquez, Interim Director of American Indian Law Clinic

Webinars on Indigenous Peoples & Intellectual Property for
Indigenous Leaders, Lawyers, and Community Members

Mark your calendars and join us for a very special webinar series featuring indigenous experts
as well as representatives from the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the
World Intellectual Property Organization.

September 10 and September 24, 2020 at 9-11 A.M. Mountain Time Zone


For more information about AILP's 2019 Conference: Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the United States, please go to the "2019 Conference" tab. 

Image of the Save the Date Invitation for the UNDRIP March 2019 Conference

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2019-2020 External Scholarship List for American Indian Law Students

Click here for list


Upcoming Events:

Latest Whitepaper:

Responsible Resource Development and Prevention of Sex Trafficking: Safeguarding Native Women and Children on the Fort Berthold Reservation

Past Events:

"Implementing the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the United States"
March 15-16, 2019

The University of Colorado Law School and Native American Rights Fund hosted this conference as the initial program of the "Project to Implement the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the United States."  The conference gathered practitioners, scholars, and advocates to discuss how to advance the promises of the Declaration and develop a strategy for its implementation in the United States, toward the true flourishing of indigenous peoples, healing, and justice for all.

The conference included high-level discussions on challenges in Federal Indian Law and the role of international human rights in advocacy efforts, plus workshops on issues of tribal self-governance, land rights and sacred sites, climate change, business and entrepreneurship, Indian child welfare, technology and telecommunications, and a special feature on the UN's 2019 Year of Indigenous Languages.

University of Colorado Law School
Boulder, Colorado

"Celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of the Adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples"

The University of Colorado Law School and the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues hosted a dynamic event to Celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of the Adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The two-day event reflected on the advocacy that resulted in the passage of the Declaration, discussed the present-day usage of the Declaration, implementation, and the future.
September 13 – 14, 2017
University of Colorado Law School
Wolf Law Building
"Celebrating 45 Years of NARF: Respecting Our Past, Building the Future"
Thursday, November 5, 2015
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wittemyer Courtroom
NALSA Distinguished Speaker: Martha King
"The Modern Practice of Federal Indian Law: Operating in and From Tribal Spaces"
Monday November 10, 2014, 6:00 pm -7:00 pm
Wittemyer Courtroom
"Tribal Sovereign Immunity after Bay Mills"
Wolf Law Building, University of Colorado at Boulder
September 12, 2014, 8:00 am – 3:30pm
Wittemyer Courtroom
Conference Materials
"Free Informed Prior Consent Conference"
November 1, 2013
Conference Materials
Repatriation Lecture by Edward Halealoha Aya '89
October 10, 2013
"People of the Shining Mountains: Legal Past, Present, and Future of the Ute Tribes"
April 4-5, 2013
"Reconciliation in the U.S. In Light of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples"
James S. Anaya, U.N. Special Rappateur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
January 25, 2013
Video Archive
Media Reports on the U.N. Special Rapporteur's Visit to Colorado Law: