Tribal gift creates professorship in Indian Law

A lead gift from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde for an Oregon Tribes Professorship will help secure the UO School of Law’s legacy as a national leader in federal Indian and tribal law.

Last October, the tribe’s Spirit Mountain Community Fund gave the law school $100,000 for the professorship. The tribe also offered a challenge: raise $300,000 from other donors by October 2006 and get a $200,000 bonus.

The Oregon Tribes Professorship will fund a professor who, in addition to teaching and research, will build stronger ties with Oregon and Pacific Northwest tribes. The professorship also will help attract and retain Native American law students and faculty members knowledgeable about this field of law.

“I think we are a national leader in Indian law at the moment,” says Knight Professor of Law Rennard Strickland, a legal historian of Osage and Cherokee heritage, who is considered a pioneer for introducing Indian law into university curriculum.“It’s a question of retaining that kind of leadership. Most of the major programs now have a named professorship. It’s important for the university, it’s important for our students, and I think it’s also important for the tribes and the Indian people in Oregon.”

“Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and Spirit Mountain Community Fund believe in self-sufficiency for communities, individuals, and governments,” says tribal fund director Shelly Hanson. “This grant will allow law students to defend tribal sovereignty within a variety of contexts and build a broader understanding of Indian law and tribal legal systems.”