Skip to main content

Professor Christine Zuni Cruz

Christine Zuni Cruz

Professor of Law
Associate Dean for the Indian Law Program

B.A. 1980, Stanford University
J.D. 1982, The University of New Mexico
Member of the New Mexico Bar

Contact Information

 Ph.: 505-277-1007
 Office: 1123


Christine Zuni Cruz came to the UNM law school in 1993 to establish the Southwest Indian Law Clinic, which provides students with a hands-on opportunity to practice Indian Law. She had served as a tribal judge, a tribal gaming commissioner and been in private practice for ten years.

In her research and teaching, Zuni Cruz, a member of Isleta Pueblo, explores law and culture, including the impact of law on Indian families, the practice of Indian Law and lawyering for native communities and the internal traditional and modern law of indigenous peoples domestically and internationally. In 2001, she traveled to Greenland where she helped teach an intensive course on international indigenous human rights at the International Training Center of Indigenous Peoples.

She currently serves as an associate justice on the Isleta Appellate Court. Previously, she was a tribal court judge with the Pueblo of Laguna, the Pueblo of Taos. She also was presiding judge with the Isleta Court of Tax Appeals and an appellate judge with the Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals.

Zuni Cruz, the first pueblo woman to earn tenure as a law professor, is editor-in-chief of the Tribal Law Journal, an on-line law journal dedicated to the internal law of indigenous peoples.

Book Chapters

Self Determination and Indigenous Nations in the United States: International Human Right, Federal Policy and Indigenous Nationhood, in Dialogue About Land Justice (L. Strelein, ed., 2010) (A compilation of selected lectures delivered at the Native Title Conference marking the 10th Anniversary of the Native Title Conference by the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Studies (AIATSIS)).

Law of the Land-Recognition and Resurgence in Indigenous Law and Justice Systems in Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Comparative and Critical Perspectives (B. Richardson, et al., eds., 2009).

Pueblo Indians, in Felix Cohen’s Handbook on Federal Indian Law, Nell Newton, ed. (Matthew Bender, 3d Ed., 2005).


"The Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals", 24 N.M.L. Rev. 309 (1994).

"Recognizing and Enforcing State and Tribal Judgments: A Round Table Discussion of Law, Policy and Practice", 18 Am. Indian L. Rev. 239 (1994).

"Domestic Violence and Tribal Protection of Indigenous Women in the United States", co authored by Christine P. Zuni and Gloria Valencia Weber, 69 St. John's L. Rev. 69 (1995).

Excerpts reprinted in:

Readings in American Indian Law, Recalling the Rhythm of Survival 264 (Jo Carillo, ed., 1997).

Critical Race Feminism 278 (Adrien Wing, ed., 2d ed. 2003)

"Strengthening What Remains", 7 Kan. J. of Law and Pub. Pol’y 18 (1997).

Reprinted in:

Tribal Legal Studies 114 (Jerry Gardner, ed.) (2004)

"[On the] Road Back In: Community Lawyering in Indigenous Communities" 5 Clinical L. Rev. 557 (1999).

Reprinted in 24 Am. Indian L. Rev. 229 (1999-2000).

Excerpts reprinted in:

Social Justice: Professionals, Communities and Law, 11 (Mahoney, Calmore, Wildman, eds., 2003)

Lawyer’s Ethics and The Pursuit of Social Justice and Ethics 201 (Susan D. Carle, ed., 2005)

Clinical Anthology, Readings for Live-Client Clinics, (2d Ed., A.J. Hurder, et al., eds., 2011).

"Tribal Law as Indigenous Social Reality and Separate Consciousness: [Re] Incorporating Customs and Traditions into Tribal Law", 1 Tribal L. J., (Jan. 2001)

Reprinted in:

Sovereignty, Colonialism and the Indigenous Nations 547 (Robert Porter, ed.) (2005).

"Indigenous Pueblo Culture and Tradition in the Justice System: Maintaining Indigenous Language, Thought, and Law in Judicial Review", Land, Rights, Laws: Issues of Native Title, Vol. 2, Issues paper no. 23 (2003) (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies publication)

"Four Questions On Critical Race Praxis: Lessons From Two Young Lives In Indian Country", 73 Fordham L. Rev. 2144 (2005).

"Toward A Pedagogy and Ethic of Law/yering for Indigenous Peoples", 82 N.D.L. Rev. 101 (2006).

"Shadow War Scholarship, Indigenous Legal Tradition, and Modern Law in Indian Country", 47 Washburn L.J. 631 (2008).

Reprinted in:

9 Tribal L. J. 1 (2009)

"Narrative Braids: Performing Racial Literacy", 33 Am. Ind. L. Rev. 153 (2009), with Margaret Montoya.

"Narrative Braids: Performing Racial Literacy", 1 Freedom Center J. 60 (2009).(The Narrative Braids performance) with Margaret Montoya.

"Lines of Tribe", 22 BERKELEY LA RAZA L. J. 77 (2012).

"La Verdad, El Poder, y La Liberación," HARV. J. L. & GENDER (Apr. 2013) (reflection on Margaret Montoya, Máscaras, Trenzas, y Greñas: Un/Masking the Self While Un/Braiding Latina Stories and Legal Discourse, 17 HARV. WOMEN’S L. J. 185 (1994), 15 CHICANO-LATINO L. REV. 1 (1994)),

Works in Progress

"’Who are you?’ The Complexities of Indian Identity and the Lines of Tribe in the 21st Century” (in progress)

SOCIAL JUSTICE IN PLURAL AMERICA: FROM CRITICAL THEORY TO LEGAL ACTION, Part III, Practice and Praxis: From Critical Legal Education to Rebellious Legal Action, Co-Editor with Marc-Tizoc Gonzalez and Margaret Montoya. (Book Editors Frank Valdes and Steven Bender). (forthcoming).


  • Dickason Professor