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Reception Will Celebrate Publication Of Duthu's American Indians and the Law

March 10, 2008

CONTACT: Diane Derby, Director of Media Relations

SOUTH ROYALTON, VT – Vermont Law School Professor N. Bruce Duthu, an internationally recognized scholar on Native American issues, will mark the recent publication of his new book, American Indians and the Law, with a reading and book signing on April 16 at 4:30 p.m in the Yates Common Room, Debevoise Hall. The book signing will be followed by a reception sponsored by the Native American Law Society. The event is free and open to the public.

Professor Duthu, a faculty member at VLS since 1991 and a United Houma Indian National tribal member, has published numerous book chapters and articles relating to Indian law and tribal powers. In his latest book, published by Viking in early February, he explores the history and politics of American Indians' unique constitutional status.

Viking offers this look at Professor Duthu's latest work:

In his accessible and articulate style, Duthu links the landmark cases in Indian law of the past 250 years, revealing that startling consistency of thought, stereotypes about Indians begun by James Fennimore Cooper and his peers that continue to haunt political and legal debate. From treaties between settlers and native peoples established in the mid 18th century to the most recent headlines about casinos and gambling, certain images of Indians have been constructed that at one end, condemn them as incorrigible, inferior, war-loving savages (or uneducated, non-tax-paying special interest schemers), and at the other, laud them for being environmentally friendly and culturally cohesive societies. In the eyes of many, including Supreme Court justices, they are members of a "dying race," inevitably pushed to the margins by invading whites, where their political power is circumscribed. Why, the courts ask, should non-Indians have to live by tribal rules just because they happen to be on reservation territory? Why should Indian smoke shops be allowed to sell tax-free cigarettes, even to non-Indians? And why, Indians demand, should they be restricted by state tax-law, abortion law, or natural resources restrictions? The biggest question that Duthu takes on is how did we get here? By examining the major cases in Indian law, the writings of the major players and the fallout of the big decisions, he tells a vivid story of how a new government found ways to coexist with an ancient and thriving people.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is among those offering early praise for the book, saying:

"Duthu's intellectual honesty and compassionate message gives a strong voice to our sovereign neighbors who are all too often forgotten or ignored in today's political arena. This book triggers a sense of moral justice—and the need for a new beginning where Indian nations have a seat at the table of democracy."

Copies of the book are available locally at Barrister's Bookshop.

For biographical information on Professor Duthu, please visit Vermont Law School's faculty web pages.

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