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NMSU hosts Native American legal expert’s talk on rights of indigenous peoples

The Department of Government at New Mexico State University will host a leading expert in Native American law who will give a lecture titled “Why do we even need a United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 3 at Hardman and Jacobs Undergraduate Learning Center, Room 125. The talk is free and open to the public.


Head and shoulders of a man
Robert A. Williams, Jr., Regents professor and E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law, University of Arizona, will give a talk at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 3 in NMSU's Hardman and Jacobs Undergraduate Learning Center, Room 125. Williams will discuss the legal history and major political developments leading to the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. (Courtesy photo)

“NMSU has a number of students with a strong interest in pursuing law-related careers,” said Neil Harvey, professor and head of the Department of Government. “Robert A. Williams, Jr. is a leading scholar in the area of law and policy affecting indigenous peoples. We are fortunate to have him on campus to share his knowledge and interact with our students.”

As part of a full day of events, Williams, who is a member of the Lumbee Indian Tribe and a Regents professor of law and E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law and faculty co-chair of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program at the University of Arizona, will engage with students in government classes, have lunch with Native American students and meet with NMSU’s Model UN Team members in the afternoon before the evening’s community event.

“Exploring the legal history and major political developments leading to the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007, professor Williams draws on the tools of critical race practice and Native storytelling traditions to explain the forces, inspiration and urgency behind the global contemporary indigenous human rights movement of the 21st century,” Harvey said.

Williams is known for his book titled “Savage Anxieties”, which proposes a wide-ranging re-examination of the history of the Western world told from the perspective of civilization's war on tribalism as a way of life. He is the author of the classic work on Indian rights under U.S. law, "The American Indian in Western Legal Thought," which won the Gustavus Meyer human rights award. He is also known for his work defending tribal groups before the United Nations and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Co-sponsors of the public lecture along with the Department of Government are the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Anthropology, NMSU’s American Indian Program and the Conroy Honors College.

For more information, please contact Patricia Vargas at 575-646-4936 or pvargas@nmsu.edu.