February 23, 2022

On February 18, 2022, Catholic Law faculty members came together for a virtual research presentation hosted by Professor Cara H. Drinan, Director of Faculty Research. The lunchtime presentation featured Lindsay Robertson, an expert in federal Indian law as well as comparative and international Indigenous Peoples law. Robertson teaches at the University of Oklahoma College of Law where he is the Chickasaw Nation Endowed Chair in Native American Law and Director of the school’s Center for the Study of American Indian Law and Policy.

Robertson’s talk was entitled “McGirt v. Oklahoma: The Supreme Court and Federal Indian Law in the 21st Century.” McGirt (2020) addressed the state’s jurisdiction to try crimes committed in “Indian Country,” and the related question of whether Indian land had been “disestablished” in practice over time. The McGirt decision rejected Oklahoma’s argument that Congress had disestablished the Creek Reservation in Oklahoma through historical practice. Robertson described the decision, as “the greatest victory of the 21st century for Indigenous rights globally.”

Robertson began by providing a brief history of the relocation of Indigenous Peoples from the southeast United States to Oklahoma and shared an outline of how Indian Lands were allotted and lost over time. Bringing the conversation back to McGirt, Robertson explained why the definitions of allotment versus disestablishment were critical in the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of McGirt. During dialogue with Catholic Law faculty, Robertson addressed issues related to McGirt’s implementation, its retroactivity, and its future implications for civil law cases.

Faculty Research Series events are held monthly. The next event will be held on March 18, 2022. Please check back on the News and Events page for updates regarding upcoming events.