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Indian law expert specializes in economic development for tribal nations

September 26, 2013

As an internationally recognized expert on economic development in Indian country, Robert J. Miller will bring to the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law a new course focusing on economic development for tribal nations, as well as a broad background in dealing with American Indian law issues of all kinds.

An enrolled citizen of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, Miller serves as Chief Justice of the Grand Ronde Tribe and sits on the Northwest Intertribal Court. Having taught and practiced Indian law since 1993, he has joined the Indian Legal Program at ASU after a distinguished academic career at Lewis and Clark Law School.

“Indian country and Indian peoples are the poorest parts of the United States,” says Miller, “and my research on economic development has a concrete application to the needs of Indian country and to American society at large. Attempts to preserve reservations and Indian country must include substantially improving the living standards and economic benchmarks of those areas.”

He considers it a great honor to have been asked to join the faculty at ASU and looks forward to broadening his own experiences and opportunities in Indian law: “The fact that Indian nations own 27 percent of the land in Arizona demonstrates just how important tribal issues are to the people and the state of Arizona.”

Miller’s published works include articles, books, editorials and book chapters on a wide array of Indian law issues, and he has spoken at conferences in more than 31 states and in England, Canada, Australia and India. His latest book is “Reservation ‘Capitalism’: Economic Development in Indian Country” (2012).

“It also has been a great honor to me to be hired by several tribal governments to serve as an appellate judge for their communities. Judges play a crucial role in how tribal governments exercise sovereignty and how Indian communities exercise self-determination.”

Miller is one of five American Indian scholars to have joined the ASU faculty this fall.