North American Indigenous Law

University of Auckland

Course Description

  • Course Name

    North American Indigenous Law

  • Host University

    University of Auckland

  • Location

    Auckland, New Zealand

  • Area of Study

    American Studies, Government, History, Media Studies, Peace and Conflict, Political Science, Pre-Law, Research, Social Policy, Sociology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Writing, collation and research skills (date-base search) at senior UG level.

    It is expected students will have completed at least two full years at a four year instituion at time of participation.

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    This project involves an assessment of statements of Indigenous Law in the North American context (United States and Canada). Significant recent Indigenous actions and movements have brought to light, or highlighted, the enduring challenge that Indigenous sovereignty poses to the system of government established by settlers of ‘new’ countries in Indigenous lands.  This project is interested in the most significant and forceful articulations of First law in the North American context in multiple forms: writing and speeches by significant Indigenous scholars and actors, and movements and protests organised around Indigenous sovereignty. The project would largely be concerned with present-day forms and statements of Indigenous Law, but would, at the same time, draw on and detail significant precedents. The project supervisor is interested in the degree to which such statements and actions align with the Australasian context (Australia and New Zealand), although this context lies outside the ambit of the undergraduate student’s research.


    The project would involve three parts, 

    1. A literature review of significant existing and past statements of Indigenous or First Law in the North American context (United States and Canada). The review would take the form of a briefly annotated bibliography that identified and cited statements by Indigenous scholars of First Law principles in this context (2000 words).

    2. A shortlist of legal decisions and treaties, with dates, setting out the most significant decisions affecting Indigenous governance in Canada and United States (1000 words). 

    3. A critical essay, drawing on the literature review, which explains and elaborates the challenge that Indigenous or First Law poses to existing systems of governance in Canada and United States (3000 words), including the most significant recent events that have exemplified this challenge (e.g., events at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in Dakota).

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.