Uncomfortable Truth: Indigenous communities and law in New England

The Indigenous Peoples of the “New England” area were among the first in North America to experience European colonization and conquest. How have they been treated by the law and American legal institutions, from the earliest days of settlement to today, and what are Tribes doing to exercise their inherent sovereignty and build thriving Native nations? A symposium entitled An Uncomfortable Truth: Indigenous Communities and the Law in New England took place at Roger Williams School of Law on October 22, 2021. Click here for a six-hour video of the presentations.

RWU Law Review Editor-in-Chief Hannah Devoe, local activist and Law School Graduate Raymond “Two Hawks” Watson, and RWU School of Law Dean & Professor Gregory W. Bowman, introduced the speakers, offered a Native prayer, and welcomed the audience;

Dr. Taino J. Palermo (above. left), who had the opportunity to participate in an independent research project focusing on a Legal Framework for Federally Non-Recognized Tribal Nations acquiring ancestral lands, presented his research paper and answered questions on the topic. Professor Bethany Berger (above, right), a well-known scholar and professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law and one of the leading federal Indian Law scholars in the country, then presented.

Dr. James Diamond (above), professor at Roger Williams University School of Law, then presented his article: An Uncomfortable Truth: Law as a Weapon of Oppression of The Indigenous Peoples of Southern New England

Bethany Sullivan, senior associate attorney with Maier Pfeffer Kim Geary & Cohen and Jennifer Turner, Assistant City Attorney in Albuquerque New Mexico, provided an update on the Carcieri decision following the 2019 publication of their article: “Enough is Enough: Ten Years of Carcieri v. Salazar“.

Matthew Fletcher , Professor at Michigan State University College of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center, provided the final keynote address for this symposium by addressing “Uncomfortable Truths about Sovereignty and Wealth.