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Tsosie speaks at Bellwood Lectures in Idaho

April 30, 2010

Rebecca Tsosie, Executive Director of the Indian Legal Program at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, spoke recently on "The United States and Tribal Nations: An Evolving Relationship Guided by Domestic and International Law" at the Bellwood Lectures at the University of Idaho in Moscow.

Tsosie was joined at the April 16 lecture by Larry Echo Hawk, Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, and Lawrence R. Baca, President of the Federal Bar Association.

This year's topic was especially timely because in 2009 the UI College of Law developed and launched a Native Law emphasis with the help of associate professor of law Angelique EagleWoman.

According to Don Burnett, dean of the UI College of Law, the goal of the Bellwood Lectures each year is to bring enrichment to campus by attracting some of the most influential people across the nation and world to UI to speak about their experiences related to the lecture topic.

Tsosie is a role model for other Native law professors, an advocate for international indigenous issues, and has touched the lives of countless Native law students through her work with the national Pre-Law Summer Institute for American Indians and Alaska Natives, EagleWoman said. She explored the role of international principles in shaping interactions between tribes and the United States.

Echo Hawk is the former attorney general of Idaho and worked with the Shoshone-Bannock tribes of Idaho. Baca spent three decades as the first Native American attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division.

According to Burnett, the topics discussed include sustainable economic development of resources by tribes, the relationship of the tribes to the federal government under the Obama administration, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs headed by Echo Hawk, and the evolving influence of international law on human rights issues affecting indigenous peoples.

"Tribal perspectives are increasingly important parts of economic, political, and legal issues in Idaho and across America," Burnett said.