Member School Highlight – University of Colorado Law School

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Founded: 1892
Joined AALS: 1900
Dean: Lolita Buckner Inniss

Founded in 1892 and a charter member of the AALS, the University of Colorado Law School is a public law school in Colorado with nearly 8,500 alumni located around the world. The school is home to three research centers, nine legal clinics, and multiple nationally recognized programs including American Indian Law; Technology and Intellectual Property Law; Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law; and Public Service Law.

Students in the University of Colorado Law School’s American Indian Law Program recently launched a first-of-its-kind educational toolkit to help American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians across the U.S. realize their rights to land recovery, religious freedoms, language revitalization, and child welfare.

Aerial view of the University of Colorado Law School Campus

The Tribal Implementation Toolkit highlights ways tribes have implemented the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a standard-setting document that recognizes the individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples, including their self-determination. In close partnership with tribal leaders, lawyers, judges, scholars, and partner organizations the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) and UCLA Law School, Colorado Law students studied and wrote about the ways in which tribes have incorporated the Declaration into their own tribal codes, resolutions, and agreements. The toolkit includes examples of innovative modalities tribes have used for implementing the Declaration internally, and tribes’ advocacy efforts to push for the Declaration’s implementation within federal, state, and local governments. The result is a comprehensive document that has been shared nationally.

The toolkit is part of an ongoing partnership between Colorado Law and the Native American Rights Fund, the oldest and largest nonprofit legal organization defending the rights of Native American tribes, organizations, and people, to implement the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the United States. Through this partnership, overseen by Council Tree Professor of Law and director of the American Indian Law Program Kristen A. Carpenter, Colorado Law students gain practical experience in applying international human rights frameworks as tools in American Indian law challenges.

“Professor Kristen Carpenter and the dedicated students in the American Indian Law Program witnessed nationwide, ongoing injustice and—through close collaboration and legal acumen—crafted and distributed a tool that empowers marginalized individuals and communities to successfully assert their rights. The Tribal Implementation Toolkit is a prime example of how Colorado Law is redefining and refining excellence in legal education. This is what makes Colorado Law such an inspiring place to teach and learn,” said Lolita Buckner Inniss, Dean and Provost’s Professor of Law.

AALS Member School Highlights