Melissa L.
Tatum
Research Professor of Law
Office Number: 
266
Office Phone: 
5206268150
Office Fax: 
5206262172

Biographical Information

Professor Tatum specializes in tribal jurisdiction and tribal courts, as well as in issues relating to cultural property and sacred places. She was a contributing author to Felix Cohen's Handbook of Federal Indian Law, and has written extensively about both civil and criminal procedural issues, as well as about the relationship between tribal, state, and federal courts. Professor Tatum consulted with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe as it became one of the first in the nation to implement VAWA 2013's special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction. She has also served on task forces in Michigan and New Mexico charged with developing procedures to facilitate cross-jurisdictional enforcement of protection orders, and has taught seminars on domestic violence and protection orders throughout the United States for judges, attorneys, law enforcement, and victim advocates, including at the National Tribal Judicial Center. Between 1999 and 2006 she served as a judge on the Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals. Professor Tatum joined the University of Arizona faculty in January 2009, after serving as a faculty member at the University of Tulsa for more than thirteen years.

Representative Publications

  • Constitution as Dialogue:  Legal Pluralism and the American Experience. in Constitutional Recognition of First Peoples in Australia:  Theories and Comparative Perspectives 160 (Simon Young, Jennifer Nielsen, & Jeremy Patrick eds., 2016) (co-author, with Jennifer Hendry).
  • Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples, and the Pursuit of Justice, 34 Yale L. & Pol'y Rev. 351 (2016) (co-author, with Jennifer Hendry).
  • Tribal Legal Code Resource:  Tribal Laws Implementing TLOA Enhanced Sentencing and VAWA Enhanced Jurisdiction (2015) (co-author, with Maureen L. White Eagle & Chia Halpern Beetso).
  • Law, Culture, & Environment (2014) (co-author, with Jill Kappus Shaw).
  • Structuring Sovereignty:  Constitutions of Native Nations (2014) (co-author, with Miriam Jorgensen, Mary Guss, & Sarah Deer).
  • General Editor, Navajo Law Reporter, Vol. 8 (2008).
  • Contributing Author, Cohen's Handbook of Federal Indian Law (2005).
  • A Jurisdictional Quandary:  Challenges Facing Tribal Governments in Implementing the Full Faith and Credit Provisions of the Violence Against Women Acts, 90 Ky. L.J. 123 (2001 - 2002).
  • Complete List of Publications

Education

J.D.
University of Michigan Law School
1992

Graduated magna cum laude.

B.A.
Trinity University
1989

Graduated magna cum laude.

Work Experience

Research Professor of Law
James E. Rogers College of Law
2014 - present
Faculty, Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory; American Indian Studies
Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs, The University of Arizona
2016 - present
Affiliated Faculty, Gender and Women's Studies
The University of Arizona
2015 - present
Research Professor of Law & Director, Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy Program
James E. Rogers College of Law
2012 - 2014
Research Professor of Law & Associate Director, Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy Program
James E. Rogers College of Law
2009 - 2012
Director, Dublin Study Abroad Program
University of Tulsa College of Law
Summer 2002, 2006, & 2008
Director, LL.M. Program in American Indian and Indigenous Law (previously Co-Director)
University of Tulsa College of Law
2002 - 2006
Co-Director, the Native American Law Center
University of Tulsa College of Law
2000 - 2008
Judge
Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals
1999 - 2006
Visiting Assistant Professor of Law
Wayne State University Law School
1999 - 2000
Visiting Assistant Professor of Law
Michigan State University College of Law
1998 - 1999
Law Clerk to Judge Cornelia Kennedy
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
1994 - 1995
Law Clerk to Judge James Ryan
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
1993 - 1994
Law Clerk to U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven D. Pepe
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
1992 - 1993
Professor of Law (previously Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, & Visiting Assistant Professor)
University of Tulsa College of Law
1995 - 2008

Public & Institutional Service

Consultant, New Mexico Attorney General's Office Taskforce on Enforcement of Protection Orders
2007 - 2010
Consultant, Navajo Nation Rules Harmonization Project
2007 - 2008
Chair, AALS Section on Women in Legal Education
2004 - 2005
Secretary, AALS Section on Women in Legal Education
2003 - 2004
Judge, American Indian Law Review's Law Student Writing Competition
2003
Secretary, AALS Section on Indian Nations and Indigenous Peoples
2002 - 2005
Treasurer, AALS Section on Women in Legal Education
2002 - 2003
Member, Executive Committee, AALS Section on Criminal Justice
2001 - 2003
Chair, AALS Section on Indigenous Nations and Peoples
2001 - 2002
Program Chair, AALS Section on Indigenous Nations and Peoples
2001 - 2002
Member, Michigan joint federal/state/tribal task force to implement full faith and credit provisions of Violence Against Women Act
2000 - 2001 (co-chair, subcommittee on tribal jurisdictional issues

Awards

Special Teaching Recognition, Humanities Seminar Program
2016
Honoree, Fourth Annual Native Justice Powwow
2009
University of Tulsa College of Law Nominee for University Outstanding Teacher Award
2007
NALSA Faculty Sponsor of the Year Award
2005
University of Tulsa College of Law Nominee for University Outstanding Teacher Award
2003, 2002
University of Tulsa College of Law Upper Class Professor of the Year
2003, 2002
University of Tulsa College of Law Upper Class Professor of the Year
2002, 2001