Kristen A. Carpenter

Council Tree Professor of Law

University of Colorado Law School
Wolf Law Building
401 UCB
Boulder, CO  80309-0401
Office: 468
Phone: (303) 492-6526

Curriculum Vitae:  View (PDF format)

Educational Background:
J.D.   Harvard Law School   1998   cum laude
B.A.   Dartmouth College   1994   cum laude

Kristen Carpenter is the Council Tree Professor of Law at the University of Colorado Law School, where her research focuses on the legal claims of indigenous peoples, especially with respect to issues of property, religion, culture, and human rights. Her articles have been published in the Yale Law Journal, California Law Review, Texas Law Review, UCLA Law Review, Fordham Law Review and others. Professor Carpenter is also active in pro bono work on American Indian cultural and religious freedoms. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School.

At Colorado Law, Professor Carpenter teaches courses in Property, Cultural Property, American Indian Law, and Indigenous Peoples in International Law. Professor Carpenter has been awarded the Provost's Award for Faculty Achievement and the Outstanding New Faculty Award. She served as a director of the American Indian Law Program from 2012-2014, as Associate Dean for Faculty Development from 2011-2013, and as Associate Dean for Research from 2014-2015.

Before entering academia, Carpenter clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit and was an associate attorney at Hill & Barlow, P.C. in Boston. She gained experience in Indian law as a clerk for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and at the law firms of Fredericks, Pelcyger, Hester & White and Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Miller & Munson. Professor Carpenter previously served on the boards of the Federal Bar Association's Indian Law Section and Colorado Indian Bar Association. She is a member of the American Law Institute and an Adviser on the ALI's Restatement of Indian Law Project.


Owning Red: A Theory of Indian (Cultural) Appropriation,, 94 TEXAS LAW REVIEW 859 (with A. Riley) (2016).
Indigenous Peoples and the Jurisgenerative Moment in Indigenous Human Rights, 102 California Law Review 173 (with A. Riley) (2014).
Lawyering for Groups: The Case of American Indian Tribal Attorneys, 81 Fordham Law Review 3085 (with E. Wald) (2013).
Limiting Principles and Empowering Practices in American Indian Religious Freedoms, 45 Connecticut Law Review 387 (2012).
Clarifying Cultural Property, 17 International Journal of Cultural Property 581 (with S. Katyal and A. Riley) (2010).
In Defense of Property, 118 Yale Law Journal 1022 (with S. Katyal & A. Riley) (2009).
Interpretive Sovereignty, 33 American Indian Law Review 111 (2009).
Real Property and Peoplehood, 27 Stanford Environmental Law Journal 313 (2008).
The Interests of "Peoples" in the Cooperative Management of Sacred Sites, 42 Tulsa Law Review 37 (2006).
Contextualizing the Losses of Allotment Though Literature, 82 North Dakota Law Review 605 (2006).
Old Ground and New Directions at Sacred Sites on the Western Landscape, 83 Denver University Law Review 981 (2006).
Indian Givers: What Indigenous Peoples Have Contributed to International Human Rights Law, 22 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 107 (2006).
A Property Rights Approach to Sacred Sites: Asserting a Place for Indians as Non-Owners, 52 UCLA Law Review 1061 (2005).
Considering Individual Religious Freedoms under Tribal Constitutional Law, 14 Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy 561 (2005).
In the Absence of Title: Responding to Federal Ownership in Sacred Sites Cases, 37 New England Law Review 619 (2003).
Petition and Preliminary Declaration of the Mayagna Community of Awas Tingni on Reparations and Costs, 19 Ariz. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 377 (2002).
Beyond the Ethnic Umbrella and the Buffalo: Some Thoughts on American Indian Tribes and Gaming,, 5 Gaming Law Review 311 (with R. Halbritter) (2001).
Interpreting Indian Country in State of Alaska v. Native Village of Venetie, 35 Tulsa Law Journal 73 (1999).

Selected Publications

Indigenous Rights Norms in Contemporary International Law, 8 Ariz. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 1 (1991), reprinted in substantial part in David H. Getches et al., Federal Indian Law: Cases and Materials 1021 (3d ed. 1993), in Lakshman D. Guruswamy et al., International Environmental Law and World Order: A Problem-Oriented Coursebook (1994), translated into Spanish in LII America Indigena 9 (1992), and excerpted in Robert N Clinton et al., American Indian Law: Native Nations and the Federal System: Cases and Materials 1460 (Rev. 4th ed 2003)..

Books and Book Chapters

Human Rights to Culture, Family, and Self-Determination: The Case of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (with L. Graham) (forthcoming 2014).
Individual Religious Freedoms in Tribal Constitutional Law, in THE INDIAN CIVIL RIGHTS ACT AT FORTY, (K. Carpenter, M. Fletcher, and A. Riley, eds.) (UCLA American Indian Studies Center Publications) (2012).
THE INDIAN CIVIL RIGHTS ACT AT FORTY, (UCLA American Indian Studies Center Publications) (with M. Fletcher and A. Riley, co-eds.) (2012).
Repairing Reparations in the American Indian Nation Context, in Reparations for Indigenous Peoples: International and Comparative Perspectives (F. Lenzerini, ed.) (Oxford University Press) (with S. Krakoff) (2008).

Other Publications

Indian Status is Not Racial: Understanding ICWA as a Matter of Law and Practice, Cato Unbound, Aug. 9, 2016.
One River, Two Canoes: Peace and Respect in Indian Child Welfare, Cato Unbound, Aug. 31, 2016.
Standing Tall: The Sioux's battle against a Dakota Pipeline is a galvanizing social justice movement for Native Americans, Sept. 23, 2016 (with A. Riley).

Book Chapters

The Right of Indigenous Peoples to Self-Determination in the Post-Declaration Era, in Making the Declaration Work: The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 184 (Claire Chartres & Rodolfo Stavenhagen eds., 2009).

Book Reviews

Book Review of Defying the Odds: The Tule River Tribe's Struggle for Sovereignty in Three Centuries by Gelya Frank and Carole Goldberg, 35 American Indian Quarterly 260 (2011).
Recovering Homelands, Governance, and Lifeways: Book Review of Blood Struggle: The Rise of Modern Indian Nations by Charles Wilkinson, 31 Tulsa Law Review 79 (2005).

Selected Press, Media & Publicity

A Question of Cultural Heritage | PBS American Experience | Tuesday, November 22, 2016
A Tension as Old as the Country | Harvard Gazette | Friday, October 21, 2016
Contextualizing the Harms Caused by Appropriation of Indians' Intangible Property, | Jotwell | Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Most Cited Property Law Professors, 2011-2015 | PropertyProf Blog | Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Guest Commentary: Why use "r--skin" word at all? | The Denver Post | Friday, November 13, 2015
Land use law-related articles posted on SSRN in September | Law Professor Blogs Network | Thursday, October 1, 2015
Kristen Carpenter and Lorie Graham on Human Rights and Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl | Turtle Talk | Thursday, February 27, 2014
Law and Disorder on the Reservation | Harvard Gazette | Thursday, November 15, 2012
Navajo Nation Sues Urban Outfitters for Alleged Trademark Discrimination | | Friday, March 2, 2012
Professor Carpenter publishes book on Civil Rights in Indian Country | University of Colorado Law School | Monday, February 6, 2012


Spring 2017 Property LAWS 5624-801
Spring 2017 Indigenous Peoples Intl Law LAWS 7715-001
Fall 2015 Indigenous Peoples Intl Law LAWS 7715-001
Fall 2014 Cultural Property Law LAWS 6602-001
Spring 2014 Property LAWS 5624-801
Spring 2014 Advanced Topics in American Indian Law LAWS 8725-001
Spring 2013 Property LAWS 5624-803
Spring 2013 Advanced Topics in American Indian Law LAWS 8725-001