Maricopa Community Colleges  AIS160   19992-99999 

Official Course Description: MCCCD Approval: 5-26-1998

AIS160  1999 Spring – 2011 Fall

LEC  3.0 Credit(s)  3.0 Period(s)  3.0 Load  Occ

American Indian Law

Analyzes the legal system of the United Sates Government as it applies to American Indian Nations. Examines how United States legal institutions have impacted Indian sovereignty. Units of analysis include the development of Indian law, United States Supreme Court decisions, Congressional Acts, treaty rights and the development of tribal governments. Focuses on legal institutions that have abridged the property rights of Indian Nations.

Prerequisites: None.

Cross-References: SOC160

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MCCCD Official Course Competencies:


AIS160  1999 Spring – 2011 Fall

American Indian Law



Identify and describe the sources and scope of inherent legal powers of Indian Tribes . (I)


Describe the limitations of the scope and exercise of inherent legal powers of Indian Tribes. (I)


Describe the legal relationship between Indian Nations and the United States government as define in the U.S. Constitution.(II)


Analyze Acts of Congress, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and treaties in terms of their impact on tribal sovereignty, tribal governments, case law, tribal courts, social problems, individual tribal members, tradition and culture.(II-VI)


Identify and describe basic criminal and civil jurisdictional relationships between Indian Nations and the federal government, state governments, county and municipal governments. (II-IV)


Summarize the scope of tribal jurisdiction. (II-VI)


Identify and describe major legal policies and their impact on Indian legal issues.(II-VI)


Describe the impact of economic and natural resource development on tribal sovereignty, case law, social problems, environmental issues, tribal economies, social change, individual tribal members, tradition and culture.(I-VI)


Identify and describe Federal Indian Law as it relates to special cases. (V)


Identify and describe the participation of Indian Nations in the international legal arena.(VI)

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MCCCD Official Course Outline:


AIS160  1999 Spring – 2011 Fall

American Indian Law


I. American Indian Law: A Historical Perspective

A. Discovery, Conquest, and Treaty Making (1532-1828)

B. Removal and Relocation(1828-1887)

C. Allotment and Assimilation(1887-1928)

D. Reorganization and Self Government(1928-1945)

E. Termination(1945-1961)

F. Self-Determination(1961-Present)

II. Federal Responsibility and Power Over Indian Affairs

A. Roots of Federal Responsibility: United States Constitution

B. Sources of Federal Power

C. Trust Relationship Between Indians and the Federal Government

D. Criminal and Civil Jurisdictional Issues

E. Jurisdictional Relationships among Governments

1. Federal

2. State

3. County

4. Municipal

III. Evolution of Tribal Governments

A. Traditional Forms of Government

B. Transition Forms of Tribal Governments

C. Tribal Government in Modern Perspectives

IV. The Indian Judicial System

A. The Development of the Indian Court System

B. Federal Review of Tribal Court Decisions

C. Indian System of Law

1. Role of Attorneys

2. Role of Advocates

3. Role of Legal Interest Groups

V. Public Policy and the Legal Rights of Indians

A. Civil Liberties of American Indians

B. American Indian Religious Freedom

C. Economic Development

D. Natural Resource Development

E. Gaming

VI. Indians in the International Legal Arena

A. The United Nations: Recognition of Indian Organizations

B. International Recognition of Indian Sovereignty and the Treaties


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