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Professor Carpenter publishes book on Civil Rights in Indian Country

February 6, 2012

Professor Kristen A. Carpenter has published the Indian Civil Rights Act at 40, a new book that examines the first forty years of tribal government responses to the Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA), a federal statute addressing civil rights in Indian Country.  

With contributions from leading scholars including Catharine A. Mackinnon, Mark D. Rosen, Carole Goldberg, and others, as well as first person testimony from indigenous leaders, this collection provides for the first time a survey and critical analysis of how Indian tribes interpret and apply ICRA’s provisions on due process, equal protection, religious freedom, and free speech. 

In the Indian Civil Rights Act at 40, Professor Carpenter, along with co-editors Matthew L.M. Fletcher and Angela R. Riley, concludes that while informed by the dominant society's conception of individual rights, Indian nations are ultimately adapting and interpreting ICRA in ways consistent with their own tribal traditions and beliefs. In some respects, ICRA parallels the broader experiences of tribes over the past forty years-a period of growth, revitalization, and self-determination for many Indian nations.  

With its focus on the persistence of American Indian nations and the ways they negotiate issues of liberalism and pluralism, the book also interrogates larger issues of sovereignty surrounding the perplexing status of Indian tribes as “nations within the nation” in the experience of American democracy.   

For more information about The Indian Civil Rights Act at 40, including editorial reviews see