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Tribal Law and Best Practices in Legal Education: Creating a New Path for the Study of Tribal Law

28 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2010  

Aliza G. Organick

Washburn University School of Law

Date Written: January 21, 2010


Teaching culture in the law school classroom is enormously challenging. Teaching culture to law students in a clinical setting poses additional challenges in that we are not solely teaching the theoretical components of cultural competency, we are asking students to put them into practice. Law schools currently do not provide an effective framework for students to do this. By introducing tribal law into the curriculum, law schools begin the process of introducing students to the cultural component of legal theory and practice in culturally distinct communities. Law schools can begin this process by teaching the three-sovereign system endorsed by Justice O’Connor. In addition law schools should consider ways to provide a cross-cultural practice opportunity such as practice in tribal communities. Best practices provide a framework for developing an overall methodology for creating an institutional model that supports inclusion of this topic across the curriculum. This article explores the importance of introducing law students to tribal law and the culture of other local legal systems early and often, identifies key components of best practices that establish a framework for teaching culture in general and for teaching it alongside tribal law in particular, and finally identifies a few teaching techniques that may be helpful to those interested in trying cultural education.

Keywords: tribal law, tribal court practice, culture, best practices, curriculum, local legal systems, teaching technique, cultural education

Suggested Citation

Organick, Aliza G., Tribal Law and Best Practices in Legal Education: Creating a New Path for the Study of Tribal Law (January 21, 2010). Kansas Journal of Law & Pubic Policy, Vol. 19, No. 1, 2009. Available at SSRN:

Aliza G. Organick (Contact Author)

Washburn University School of Law ( email )

1700 College Avenue
Topeka, KS 66621
United States

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