Robert Anderson, professor of law and director of the Native American Law Center at the University of Washington, will present "A Problem-Prone Promise: Recurring Issues in Fulfilling the Federal Trust Responsibility to Indian Nations" at the University of Oregon School of Law.
The renowned Indian Law professor, scholar, litigator and author will present the seventh annual Rennard Strickland Lecture at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov.21, in room 110 of the Knight Law Center. The event is sponsored by the UO Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center, the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics and Student Legal Advocates for Tribal Sovereignty to honor the legacy of the law school's former dean and Distinguished Professor Emeritus Rennard Strickland by examining native leadership and vision for environmental stewardship in the 21st century.
Throughout the United States' colonization of indigenous peoples in North America, the federal government made many promises in treaties and other agreements with Indian Nations. The federal responsibilities that were produced from these treaties and agreements have been bundled into what is known as the federal trust responsibility. Since its inception, the federal government has sometimes fulfilled its federal trust obligations to protect tribal natural resources, assets and sovereignty, but more often these obligations have been breached.
During the past two years, Anderson has served as one of five members of a commission appointed by the secretary of the interior to review the federal government's administration of the federal trust responsibility and to provide recommendations for improvements in how it is carried out. As the commission's work is nearing completion, Anderson will provide his personal views on the final product at this year's Rennard Strickland Lecture.
In addition to his work at Washington, Anderson holds a long-term appointment as the Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard University and has coauthored several Indian Law books. He teaches and writes in the areas of Indian Law, Public Land Law and Water Law, and has been selected Professor of the Year three times by UW students. In 2008, he was co-lead of the Obama Transition team for the Department of the Interior. Anderson is an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (Bois Forte Band).