Repairing our Legacy: Native Nations, Co-Management and the Future of Federal Public Lands


Monte Mills

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Event Description

The history and management of our nation's public lands have evolved largely at the expense and exclusion of the continent's Indigenous peoples. The removal, dispossession and relocation of Native Nations enabled the United States to acquire and maintain these public lands, many of which have now come to define iconic American landscapes, ideals and values. Despite that history, however, Native Nations and their citizens have maintained deep, lasting and meaningful connections with and knowledge of the territories that had been wrested from their control. Long ignored, excluded or erased from the story of public lands, these connections are now coming to redefine the way in which public lands are considered, managed, protected and used. From the Bears Ears National Monument and Chaco Canyon National Historical Park in the southwest, to the Crown of the Continent in the Northern Rockies and the national forests of the Great Lakes, as well as many other places across the country, Native voices are now asserting an interest and shaping the way in which the federal government oversees our public lands. Those voices have led to a sea change in federal policies that now seek to honor, rather than silence, Native knowledge, insight and authority. Drawing on his work focused on Tribal co-management of federal public lands, Monte Mills will discuss what has led to this critical moment, the changes that are currently underway and what they may mean for the future of our public lands.

Speaker Bio

Monte Mills joined the UW faculty in 2022 as Charles I. Stone Professor of Law and the Director of the Native American Law Center (NALC). He teaches American Indian Law, Property and other classes focused on Native American and natural resources related topics.

Monte's research and writing focuses on the intersection of Federal Indian Law, Tribal sovereignty and natural resources as well as race and racism in the law and legal education. He has published several law review articles and serves as a co-author on two textbooks: American Indian Law, Cases and Commentary (along with Robert T. Anderson, Sarah A. Krakoff, and Kevin K. Washburn) and Native American Natural Resources Law (with Michael Blumm and Elizabeth Kronk Warner). Monte also co-authored A Third Way: Decolonizing the Laws of Indigenous Cultural Protection, which was published by Cambridge University Press in July 2020.

Prior to joining the UW faculty, Monte was a professor and Co-Director of the Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana. Prior to joining that faculty, Monte was the Director of the Legal Department for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe in Colorado, an in-house counsel department that he helped organize and implement in 2005 following completion of a unique two-year in-house attorney training program. As Director of the Tribe's Legal Department, Monte represented and counseled the Tribe on a broad array of issues, including litigation in tribal, state and federal courts, legislative matters before the Colorado General Assembly and the United States Congress, and internal tribal matters such as contracting, code-drafting and gaming issues

Subject Headings

federal lands; co-management of public lands; federal and indigenous management of public lands


CWRU School of Law, A59, Mootcourt Room

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