International Law and Indigenous People

International Law and Indigenous People

This course will cover the basic international law frameworks, instruments, and emerging norms that apply to indigenous peoples. After the basic principles of international law, including customary law, the course moves to indigenous peoples as the subjects and objects of international understandings. Indigenous peoples are acting to change the established norms, going beyond the formalized states of prior relations among nations to recognizing peoples, political entities who are not just another ethnic minority. The course will cover the emerging norms and their formalization including the International Labor Conference Convention 169 (ILO 169) and the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, Draft United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Draft Declaration). For the comparative scope, we will study laws and cases that (1) invoke the international law to protect the rights of indigenous peoples; and (2) how respective states use and do not use international law in matters involving indigenous peoples within their boundaries. The latter includes cases from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other states.

Note: Indian Law (any Indian Law course) is recommended as prior coursework. Students without any Indian Law should talk to the instructor regarding a background reading to be completed prior to the start of the course. Prior international law coursework will be helpful.