November 7: NYU-Yale American Indian Sovereignty Project Opportunity (Spring ’23)

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Interested in Federal Indian law?  

The NYU-Yale American Indian Sovereignty Project is looking for 2L and 3L students to assist with research and potential drafting for amicus briefs before the United States Supreme Court and/or lower federal courts with its partners, including the Native American Rights Fund and National Congress of American Indians, and to track federal Indian law cases nationwide. Both tracks—briefing or tracking—prepare students for appellate and/or Supreme Court litigation. Participants will work with Professor Maggie Blackhawk and Clinical Fellow Amanda White Eagle and will receive law school credit commensurate with their availability (1 or 2 credits). The meeting time for this directed research in Spring 2023 will be Tuesday from 10:00-10:50 am. 


The Sovereignty Project works on a wide array of exciting issues in Indian Country through a critical lens. In fall 2021, an inaugural group of students worked on research and writing for a merits stage amicus brief in, Haaland v. Brackeen, a case involving constitutional challenges to the Indian Child Welfare Act. The Supreme Court granted cert in Brackeen shortly thereafter.


In the spring of 2022, the Project filed a certiorari stage brief before the Supreme Court on behalf of members of Congress in litigation involving disputes between the state of Maine and the Penobscot Nation.  You can read more about this brief on Just Security. The Project next filed a merits stage brief on behalf of legal scholars and historians in Denezpi v. United States—a brief that was referenced by Justice Breyer during oral arguments. During that same semester, the Project filed a merits stage amicus brief in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta. In the summer, the Project returned to work on its historical brief for Haaland v. Brackeen. In the fall of 2022, the Project began researching and writing for Department of the Interior, et al. v. Navajo Nation, et al.., a water rights case pending cert.  


The Tracking portion of the Project involves students working independently, and trained by a research librarian, to find and track cases that are important to Indian Country. Students are assigned particular jurisdictions, most commonly a particular circuit court, and track cases throughout the semester utilizing research tools, such as Bloomberg’s docket search, Pacer, and Westlaw/Lexis. Tracking cases provides a marvelous overview to federal litigation and civil/criminal procedure within the federal courts.  


To apply, please submit the following materials in a single PDF (titled LastName_FirstName_SP_Spring23) via email to and, with the subject line “SP Spring 2023 Application”:

  • Letter of interest, in which you clearly indicate which track you are interested in, i.e., briefing or tracking, or both
  • Resume
  • Unofficial transcript


The deadline for applications is Monday, November 7, 2022 by 5 pm EST.

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