Advocacy Projects

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Dakota Access Pipeline
Photo courtesy of Rob Wilson Photography

The faculty, staff, and students of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy (IPLP) Program have been partnering with Indigenous communities and tribal governments and organizations on advocacy, research, and technical assistance projects for over 30 years. The projects led by IPLP faculty are centered around student involvement and advancing the rights of Indigenous peoples.

IPLP’s advocacy projects provide pro-bono legal research and advocacy assistance, internship and clinical placements, and community-based workshops to strengthen tribal self-governance, institution building, and respect for Indigenous peoples’ human rights. IPLP’s clinical work integrates theories of Native knowledge, critical race practice, and Indigenous legal theory with the aim of decolonizing and reforming domestic and international law relating to Indigenous peoples’ rights.

IPLP's global approach to advocacy connects students to tribal communities across Arizona, North America, and the world to work on precedent-setting cases on Indigenous peoples’ rights before domestic courts, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the United Nations system, and other regional and international human rights bodies.

In order to promote our mission to protect and promote Indigenous peoples’ human rights, IPLP provides case archives of our advocacy projects to assist legal practitioners and advocates.

Recent Amici Curiae Briefs

Amici Curiae Brief filed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals

Amici Curiae Brief filed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Collaboration with Water Protectors Legal Collective

Report to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz

Indigenous Resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline Criminalization of Dissent and Suppression of Protest

Stakeholder Report to the UN Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review Working Group

Report to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Report to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights: Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders of Indigenous Peoples Resisting Extractive Industries in the United States

Yaqui Human Rights Project

Documents Submitted to the IACHR

Supplemental Request for Precautionary Measures

Rulings by IACHR

Report on Admissibility

Tribal Justice Clinic

Amicus Brief to United States Supreme Court

Aguayo v. Jewell

Amici Curiae Brief filed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

San Francisco Peaks Petition

Petitions to the IACHR

Navajo Nation Petition to IACHR

Self-Determination Initiatives with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs

IPLP Faculty Research

Study on the International Law and Policy Relating to the Situation of the Native Hawaiian People

Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group

Petitions to the IACHR

Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group Petition

Rulings by IACHR

Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group v. Canada Admissibility Report

Maya Communities of Southern Belize

Belize Supreme Court Documents, Judgments of the Supreme Court

2010 Judgment of the Supreme Court

2007 Judgment of the Supreme Court

Brief to the Supreme Court and Appendices

Brief to the Court (Skeleton Argument of the Claimants)

Appendix B to the Brief to the Court (International Legal Obligations of Belize)

Appendix C to the Brief to the Court (Protection of Indigenous Customary Property Rights by the Common Law)

Claim Forms

Santa Cruz Claim Form

Conejo Claim Form

Inter-American Commission Documents

Case of Maya Indigenous Communities of Belize, Inter-Am. C.H.R., Case 12.053, Report No. 40-04, October 12, 2004 (Final Report)

Case of Maya Indigenous Communities of Belize, Inter-Am. C.H.R., Report No. 96-03, October 24, 2003 (Preliminary Report)

Request for Precautionary Measures

Supplementary Request for Precautionary Measures

UN Documents, Special Rapporteur

special-rapporteur-annual-report-march-07

belize-special-rapporteur-submission-jan-06

Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

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cerdbelize_letteraugust2007

Border Action Network

Documents Submitted to the IACHR

Border Action Network Petition to IACHR

Border Action Network Supplemental Submission to IACHR

Border Action Network Response to USA

Border Action Network Second Response to USA

Border Action Network Second Supplemental Submission to IACHR

Border Action Network Response to Admissibility Hearing

Border Action Network Request for Precautionary Measures

Rulings by IACHR

Border Action Network IACHR Admissibility Report

Western Shoshone

Documents Submitted to the IACHR

Petitioners’ Supplemental Submission Brief on the Merits

Rulings by IACHR

Mary and Carrie Dann v. United States, Inter-Am. C.H.R., Case No. 11.140, Report No. 75-02

Documents Submitted to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Western Shoshone Supplemental Shadow Report

Western Shoshone Response to the US Periodic Report

Update to Second Request For Urgent Action under Early Warning Procedure

Second Request for Urgent Action under Early Warning Procedure

Request for Early Warning Measures and Urgent Procedures to CERD

Amended Request for Urgent Action under Early Warning Procedure

Rulings by CERD

Early Warning and Urgent Action Decision

Concluding Observations of CERD United States of America

Awas Tingni

Rulings by IACHR
Case of the Mayagna (Sumo) Awas Tingni Community v. Nicaragua (Judgment on the Merits)

Documents Submitted to the IACHR
Petition by the Mayagna Indian Community of Awas Tingni against Nicaragua, submitted to IACHR

Amicus Curiae Briefs
National Congress of American Indians

YATMA v. Nicaragua

IPLP Research

The Right of Indigenous Peoples to Political Participation and the Case of YATAMA v. Nicaragua

IACHR Ruling

YATAMA v. Nicaragua

Support Project for UN

IPLP faculty, staff, and students supported the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a position held by Professor James Anaya from 2008 to 2014. During his time as Special Rapporteur, Professor Anaya worked to promote the human rights of Indigenous peoples worldwide.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Archive

Collaboration with Water Protectors Legal Collective

The International Human Rights Workshop is working with the Water Protectors Legal Collective to develop an international human rights response to the legal and human rights concerns facing “water protectors” demonstrating against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in Standing Rock, North Dakota.

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San Francisco Peaks Petition

Representing the Navajo Nation, IPLP faculty, staff, and students have submitted a petition before the Organization of American States, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to protect the San Francisco Peaks and the religious practices and spiritual beliefs of the Navajo people.

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Self-determination Initiatives with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs

IPLP faculty and clinic students in the International Human Rights Advocacy Workshop have partnered with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) on a series of comprehensive research and advocacy projects to help inform the OHA’s initiatives to advance the self-determination of Native Hawaiian peoples.

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Yaqui Human Rights Project

Professor James Hopkins is actively engaged before several international human rights bodies to protect Rio Yaqui traditional lands, promote culturally appropriate economic development, and remediate wide-spread environmental damage.

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Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group

Professor Robert A. Williams, Jr. with the assistance of IPLP students and staff, represented the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group (which consists of six First Nations in British Columbia, Canada) on a Petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

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Maya Communities of Southern Belize

Under the guidance of IPLP faculty and staff, students have worked with a team of lawyers and researchers to assist the Maya communities of southern Belize to secure and effectively exercise their rights over their traditional lands and natural resources.

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Border Action Network

IPLP represented the Border Action Network, a non-government organization whose mission is to protect the human rights of people affected by border and immigration policies, in a petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

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Estate Planning Clinic: Will Drafting in Indian Country

Professor Mary Guss and Claudia Nelson, Director of the Native Peoples Technical Assistance Office, partnered on a will-writing project with the Allottees Association of the San Xavier District of the Tohono O'odham Nation.

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Western Shoshone

The IPLP program worked with the Indian Law Resource Center and the Western Shoshone Defense Project to assist the Dann traditional family and other Western Shoshone groups to defend their land rights in precedent-setting proceedings before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

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Awas Tingni

Assisted by IPLP students and staff, Professor James Anaya was the lead counsel for the Awas Tingni community in the proceedings that led to the landmark judgment by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

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YATMA v. Nicaragua

Yapti Tasba Masraka Nanih Aslatakanka (YATAMA), the main Indigenous political party in Nicaragua, sought to enable the full exercise of the right to political participation by the Indigenous peoples of the country's Atlantic Coast region.

Learn more

Support Project for UN

IPLP faculty, staff, and students supported the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a position held by Professor James Anaya from 2008 to 2014. During his time as Special Rapporteur, Professor Anaya worked to promote the human rights of Indigenous peoples worldwide.

Baka "Pygmy" of the Congo

The IPLP Program worked with the Rainforest Foundation UK to develop a report concerning the international human rights regime and the obligations of state actors for the fair and equitable treatment of Indigenous peoples in Africa. In 2006 IPLP completed the project and released the report titled The Rights of the Pygmy People in the Republic of Congo.

The report was commissioned by Rainforest Foundation UK to help inform the consultation and drafting process for the proposed law on the promotion and protection of Congo’s Pygmies human rights. Released in 2006, IPLP’s report was instrumental to the adoption of a general law to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples in Congo, the first law of its kind on the African continent. After an extensive consultation process, the Senate and National Assembly of the Republic of the Congo passed a law recognizing the rights of Indigenous peoples on December 30, 2010.

Tohono O'odham Guardian Ad Litem

Students participated in the Tribal Court Guardian ad Litem Program with the Tohono O'odham Nation judicial branch. Students were trained to represent children in the Tohono O'odham family court system as Guardian ad Litems, working alongside tribal social workers, juvenile probation offices, tribal court personnel, and family members to determine the best interests of children in the child welfare system and advocate on their behalf in court. Students were taught about the legacy of forced removal of Native American children from their families and received training to be culturally competent working within tribal communities. Most importantly, students learned how to be effective advocates for Native American families. After assisting the Tohono O'odham Nation with the placement of foster children in supportive homes, the Tribal Court Guardian ad Litem project came to a successful conclusion.

Raposa Serra do Sol

IPLP assisted the Indigenous peoples of Raposa Serra do Sol in Brazil with their petitions to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The Indigenous peoples of Raposa Serra do Sol sought legal recognition of their rights over their traditional lands and protection from threats and violence experienced at the hands of non-Indigenous farmers.

Inuit Circumpolar Conference

IPLP faculty, assisted by students, worked with the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, Earth Justice, and the Center for International Environmental Law to submit a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of the Inuit people of the Arctic regions, seeking relief from violations of their human rights experienced as a result of global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions from the United States.

Key Contact

Robert A. Williams, Jr.
Regents Professor, E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law; Faculty Co-Chair, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program
Email: lumbee@email.arizona.edu (link sends e-mail) 
Office Number: RH 308
Office Phone: (520) 621-5622