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Sawers' article published in 'Review'

February 16, 2010

An article by Brian Sawers, an O'Connor Fellow at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, recently was published in the Nebraska Law Review. In "Tribal Land Corporations: Using Incorporation to Combat Fractionation," Sawers addresses one of the consequences of the federal Dawes Act of 1887, which privatized tribal lands and allotted lands to individual Indians.

"Allotment has not provided individual Indians with economic opportunity; instead it has weakened tribal structures and shrunk the tribal land base," Sawers writes. "The administrative burden is significant, absorbing Federal monies that could be used elsewhere in Indian Country. In addition, transaction costs inhibit economic development and depress the returns to individual Indians. Congress has attempted to reduce fractionation through regulating devise and descent. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has set off-limits the quickest mechanism for consolidating land ownership. However, any consolidation program that relies solely on inheritance will take decades to reduce fractionation."

To read the full article, click here.

Sawers joined the law school from Harvard University, where he was a Post-Graduate Research Fellow and taught several courses for the Economics Department, including a course on law and economics and the economics of property. His area of research interest is property law, in particular where property regimes are unstable, developing, or in transition. In his current research projects, he's exploring both the material conditions determining property law, and the effect of property regimes on resource utilization.

Janie Magruder,
(480) 727-9052
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law