Robert A.
Williams, Jr.
E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law; Faculty Chair, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program
Office Number: 
RH 308
Office Phone: 
5206215622
Office Fax: 
5206219140

Biographical Information

Robert A. Williams, Jr. is the E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law and Faculty Chair of the University of Arizona Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program. Professor Williams received his B.A. from Loyola College (1977) and his J.D. from Harvard Law School (1980). He was named the first Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School (2003-2004), having previously served there as Bennet Boskey Distinguished Visiting Lecturer of Law. He is the author of The American Indian in Western Legal Thought:  The Discourses of Conquest (1990), which received the Gustavus Meyers Human Rights Center Award as one of the outstanding books published in 1990 on the subject of prejudice in the United States. He has also written Linking Arms Together:  American Indian Treaty Visions of Law and Peace, 1600-1800 (1997) and Like a Loaded Weapon:  The Rehnquist Court, Indian Rights and the Legal History of Racism in America (2005). He is co-author of Federal Indian Law:  Cases and Materials (6th ed., with David Getches, Charles Wilkinson, and Matthew Fletcher, 2011). His latest book is Savage Anxieties:  The Invention of Western Civilization (Palgrave Macmillan 2012). The 2006 recipient of the University of Arizona Koffler Prize for Outstanding Accomplishments in Public Service, Professor Williams has received major grants and awards from the Soros Senior Justice Fellowship Program of the Open Society Institute, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the National Institute of Justice. He has been interviewed by Bill Moyers and quoted on the front page of the New York Times. He has represented tribal groups and members before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Peoples, the United States Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court of Canada. Professor Williams served as Chief Justice for the Court of Appeals, Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation, and as Justice for the Court of Appeals and trial judge pro tem for the Tohono O'odham Nation. He was named one of 2011's "Heroes on the Hill" by Indian Country Today for his human rights advocacy work as Lead Counsel for the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group of Canada before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. He lives and works in Tucson, Arizona.

Representative Publications

  • Savage Anxieties:  The Invention of Western Civilization (2012).
  • Cases and Materials on Federal Indian Law (6th ed. 2011) (co-author, with David H. Getches, Charles F. Wilkinson, & Matthew L.M. Fletcher).
  • Like a Loaded Weapon:  The Rehnquist Court, Indian Rights, and the Legal History of Racism in America (2005).
  • Linking Arms Together:  American Indian Treaty Visions of Law and Peace, 1600-1800 (1997).
  • The American Indian in Western Legal Thought:  The Discourses of Conquest  (1990).
  • Complete List of Publications

Education

J.D.
Harvard Law School
1980

H.E.W. American Indian Fellowship Recipient (1977 - 1980); Research Assistant to Brandeis Professor of Law, Charles M. Haar

A.B.
Loyola College, Baltimore
1977

Editor-in-Chief, College Newspaper, The Greyhound; Dean's List (six semesters); Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities (1977)

Admitted to Practice

Massachusetts

Work Experience

E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law; Faculty Chair, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program
James E. Rogers College of Law
2016 - present
E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law; Faculty Co-chair, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program
James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona
1998 - 2016
Faculty Chair, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program and Clinic
James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona
1989 - 1998
Judge, <em>pro tem</em>, Tohono O'odham Indian Nation
Tucson, Arizona
1988 - present
Visiting Professor of Law and Bennet Boskey Visiting Lecturer of Law
Harvard Law School
Winter - Spring 2001
Acting Director, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy LL.M. Program
James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona
2000
Visiting Professor of Law and Bennet Boskey Visiting Lecturer of Law
Harvard Law School
Winter - Spring 2000
Visiting Professor of Law
Harvard Law School
Winter 1999
Chief Justice, Court of Appeals, Pascua Yaqui Indian Tribe
Tucson, Arizona
1998 - 2000
Cross Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law
University of Washington School of Law
1992 - 1993
Director, Office of Indian Programs
University of Arizona
1990 - 1992
Associate Justice, Court of Appeals, Pascua Yacqui Indian Tribe
Tucson, Arizona
1988 - 1997
Professor of Law and American Indian Studies
University of Arizona College of Law
1987 - 1998
Marks Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law
University of Arizona College of Law
Fall 1986
Associate Professor of Law
University of Wisconsin Law School
1986
Assistant Professor of Law
University of Wisconsin Law School
1984 - 1986
Assistant Professor of Law
Rutgers Law School
1981 - 1984
Legal Consultant
Regional and Urban Planning Implementation, Inc., Cambridge, Mass.
1980 - 1981
Teaching Fellow
Boston College Law School
1980 - 1981

Organizations

Association of American Law Schools
Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure
1993 - 1995
Executive Committee, Minority Rights Section
1990 - 1993
Committee on Recruitment and Retention of Minority Law Teachers
1990 - 1991
Chair, Native American Rights Section
1988 - 1989
Tucson Metropolitan Urban Native American Affairs Commission
1989 - 1991
Wisconsin Indian Lawyers Association
President
1985
Indian Rights Association, Philadelphia PA
Vice-President
1983 - 1984
Board of Directors
1981 - 1984

Public & Institutional Service

Pro bono work, counsel for Carrier Sekani Tribal Council of British Columbia, Canada (British Columbia Treaty Process)
1999 (filed "Request For Precautionary Measures: Matter of Carrier Sekani People (Canada)" with Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Washington, D.C.)
Principal Organizer, Conference on Future Directions for the Tribal Law and Policy Program, University of Arizona College of Law
1998 (October 31)
Principal Organizer, Environmental Conflict Resolution in Indian Country, University of Arizona College of Law
1997 (March)
Pro bono work, "Mayagna (Sumo) Community of Awas Tingni", Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Case No. 11.555
1996? (submitted Amicus Curiae Brief as counsel for the National Congress of American Indians)
Chair, University of Arizona Search Committee, Associate Director, Community and Economic Development, American Indian Studies
1995
Chair, University of Arizona Executive Committee, American Indian Studies
1994 - 1995
University of Arizona Citizen's Advisory Forum: "Setting Goals for the Recruitment a
1994
Catalina Valley Little League Baseball, Coach
1994 - present
Consultant, New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, Sydney, Australia
1993 - 1994 (land claims litigation)
Consultant, Sawridge Cree Band of Alberta
1993 - present (aboriginal sovereignty claims litigation)
Foothills Futbol Club, Coach
1993 - present
Catalina Homeowners Association, Board of Directors
1993 - present
Consultant, Native Hawaiian Advisory Council
1991 - present (water rights and self-determination issues)
University of Arizona Indian Advisory Committee
1987 - present
Chair, University of Arizona Search Committee, Director, American Indian Graduate Center
1992
Chair, University of Arizona Search Committee, Program Coordinator, American Indian Graduate Center
1991
Member, University of Arizona Self-Study Committee, American Indian Studies Program, Graduate College
1991
Chair, University of Arizona Search Committee, Director, American Indian Graduate Center
1991
Principal Organizaer, Indigenous Claims Conference, University of Arizona College of Law
1991 (November)
Counsel and Alternative Delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission for the National Indian Youth Council (U.N. NGO)
1990 - 1993
Consultant, Tohono O'odham Indian Nation, Arizona
1990 - 1992 (tribal land claims legal issues)
Consultant, Southwest Indian Agicultural Association
1990 - 1992
University of Arizona President's Diversity Action Council
1990 - 1992
University of Arizona Provost's Special Committee on Faculty Participation in University Governance
1990 - 1992
University of Arizona Graduate College Centennial Award Committee
1990?
Consultant, Passamaquoddy Indian Tribe, Maine
1990 (tribal constitution drafting process)
Principal Organizer, Tribal Judges Conference and Workshop: Principles of Tribal Sovereignty and Jurisdiction, University of Arizona College of Law
1990 (November)
Consultant, National Indian Youth Council, United Nations Non-Governmental Organization
1989 - 1993
Counsel, Gila River Indian Community Land and Water Users Association
1989 - 1990
University of Arizona Provost's Ad Hoc Committee on Indian Programs
1989 - 1990
University of Arizona Native American Draft Program Change Request Committee
1989 - 1990
University of Arizona Search Committee, Assistant Dean for Native American Student Affairs
1989
University of Arizona American Indian Graduate Center Advisory Council
1988 - 1992
North Central Association University of Arizona Decennial Accreditation Committee
1988 - 1990
National Lecturer, SMH Bar Review Course, Boston, Massachusetts
1982 - 1991

Awards

The 1996 Quinlan Lecture, Oklahoma City University School of Law
4/9/1996
National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice Grant
1996, 1995
Udall Center Faculty Grants Program
1996, 1995
The Sixth Annual McDonald Lecture on Constitutional Studies, The University of Alberta Law School
3/1/1994
Gustavus Meyers Human Rights Center Award for The American Indian in Western Legal Thought: The Discourses of Conquest
1992
Ford Foundation Research Grant
1992
The George E. Allen Chair of Law, The University of Richmond Law School
4/1/1992
Visiting Scholar, University of Oklahoma School of Law Enrichment Program
3/1/1992
Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Oklahoma Scholar-Leadership Program, University of Oklahoma
3/1/1992
Evans Bunker Distinguished Visiting Scholar, University of Washington School of Law
11/1/1991
James Thomas Lecture, Yale University Law School
3/1/1991
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award: Program on Peace and International Cooperation
1991, 1989
National Endowment for the Humanities Award: Division of Research Programs
1991, 1989
University of Arizona Graduate College Research Award
1990, 1989
University of Arizona Office of Minority Student Affairs Outstanding Faculty Member Award
1990, 1989
University of Arizona Outstanding Native American Faculty Award
1989, 1988
American Council of Learned Societies/Ford Foundation Fellowship
1986, 1985
Project Trochos: University of Wisconsin
1986, 1985
University of Wisconsin Graduate School Summer Research Fellowship
1985
University of Wisconsin Law School Minority Students Organization Teacher of the Year
1985
Smongeski Fellowship, University of Wisconsin
1985
Council for Instructional Development Grant
1983
Rutgers University Research Council Award
1982
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Fellowship Award
1981
H.E.W American Indian Fellowship Recipient
1980, 1979, 1978, 1977
Editorial Board, H-AMINDIAN, an electronic journal published on the Internet at http://www.asu.edu/clas/history/h-amindian/
Editorial Board, The International Journal of Indigenous Philosophy
International Advisory Board of the Review of Constitutional Studies