Kristen A. Carpenter

Council Tree Professor of Law
Director of the American Indian Law Program

401 UCB
2450 Kittredge Loop Drive
Wolf Law Building
Boulder, CO  80309-0401
Office: 468
Phone: (303) 492-6526

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 and Director of the American Indian Law Program at the University of Colorado Law School. Professor Carpenter was appointed to the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as its member from North America from 2017-2021. She currently serves as a Justice of the Shawnee Tribe Supreme Court and co-lead of The Implementation Project, with colleagues at the Native American Rights Fund. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School.

At Colorado Law, Professor Carpenter teaches and writes in the areas of Property, Cultural Property, American Indian Law, Human Rights, and Indigenous Peoples in International Law. She has published several books and legal treatises on these topics, and her articles appear in leading law reviews. Professor Carpenter has been awarded the Provost's Award for Faculty Achievement and the Outstanding New Faculty Award. She has served as Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Associate Dean for Research. She was a founding member of the campus-wide Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies at CU-Boulder. In 2016 she was the Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

Before entering academia, Carpenter clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit and was an 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 is an elected member of the American Law Institute and served for many years on the Federal Bar Association's Indian Law Section Board.

Published Books

CASES AND MATERIALS ON FEDERAL INDIAN LAW, (with D. Getches, C. Wilkinson, R. Williams, and M. Fletcher) (West Academic Publishing 7th ed.) (2017).
COHEN'S HANDBOOK OF FEDERAL INDIAN LAW, (N. Newton et al., eds.) (LEXIS supps. 2015 and 2017).
THE INDIAN CIVIL RIGHTS ACT AT FORTY, (with M. Fletcher and A. Riley, co-eds.) (UCLA American Indian Studies Center Publications) (2012).


"Aspirations": The United States and Indigenous Peoples' Human Rights, 36 Harvard Human Rights Journal 41 (2023).
Visions for the International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032, 34 Colorado Environmental Law Journal 931 (2023).
A Human Rights Approach to Cultural Property: Repatriating the Yaqui Maaso Kova, 41 Cardozo Arts and Entertainment Law Journal 159 (2022).
Living the Sacred: Indigenous Peoples and Religious Freedom, 134 Harvard Law Rev. 2103 (book review) (2021).
Indigenous Peoples and Diplomacy on the World Stage, American Journal of International Law (AJIL) Unbound 118 (with A. Tsykarev) (2021).
Decolonizing Indigenous Migration, 109 California Law Review 63-139 (with A. Riley) (2021).
(Indigenous) Language as a Human Right, 24 UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs 49 (with A. Tsykarev) (2020).
Privatizing the Reservation?, 71 Stanford Law Review 791 (with A. Riley) (2019).
Owning Red: A Theory of Indian (Cultural) Appropriation,, 94 Texas Law Rev. 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).
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).
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).

Book Chapters

Religious Freedoms, Sacred Sites, and Human Rights in the United States, in COMPARATIVE APPROACHES TO IMPLEMENTATION OF THE UN DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES (B. Gunn et. al., eds.) (2020).
Human Rights to Culture, Family, and Self-Determination: The Case of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (with L. Graham) (forthcoming).
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).
Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Association: Challenging the Narrative of Conquest, in Indian Law Stories (C. Goldberg, K.Washburn, and P. Frickey, eds.,) (Foundation Press) (with A. Bowers) (2011).
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

World leaves United States behind on commitment to Indigenous Peoples' language rights, The Hill, Dec. 26, 2021.
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 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).

Presentations and Speeches

Indigenous Rights, Human Rights: It's Time for the Declaration 14th Annual William C. Canby Lecture, 14th Annual William C. Canby Lecture, Arizona State College of Law, March 21, 2022.
Race and Religion: Indigenous Peoples in the United States, Race and the Law Lecture Series, February 18, 2021.
Human Rights and Museums, Global Provenance, Musée d'Ethnographie de Genève, January 21, 2021.
Indigenous Peoples and the Jurisgenerative Moment in Human Rights, 41st Austin Scott Lecture, University of Colorado Law School, October 8, 2015.

Selected Press, Media & Publicity

'Green transition', mining & Indigenous Rights | Radio National | Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Native American Cases to Watch in 2023 | Law360 | Monday, January 2, 2023
Tribal Sovereignty | Diverse Issues in Higher Education | Monday, November 7, 2022
CU Law's American Indian Law Program: On the Front Lines of the Indigenous Sovereignty Movement | The 1891 | Friday, October 14, 2022
A Chance Encounter Helps Return Sacred Artifacts to an Indigenous Group, | New York Times | Saturday, June 18, 2022
The United States lags behind' on the Rights of its Indigenous Peoples, Natives say | Native News Online | Sunday, May 8, 2022
Indigenous Peoples Fight for Land at Global Summit | Here & Now | Thursday, April 28, 2022
UN forum set to focus on economic rights of Indigenous peoples | Marketplace | Monday, April 25, 2022
"Indigenous Rights, Human Rights: It's Time For the Declaration" | Mvskoke Media | Monday, March 21, 2022
At U.N.'s COP26 climate summit, Indigenous voices are calling for more than lip service | NBC News | Saturday, October 30, 2021
The Fight For Indigenous Religious Freedom | The 1A | Monday, October 25, 2021
'Self-Determination and Resilience': Insights on Human Rights in Practice | University of Colorado Law School | Monday, June 28, 2021
Canada After Kamloops: What now for indigenous rights? | The Foreign Desk | Saturday, June 5, 2021
Kristen Carpenter Named to Shawnee Tribe's Inaugural Supreme Court | University of Colorado Law School | Friday, January 15, 2021
UBC ushers in historic Indigenous Strategic Plan with virtual celebration | The Ubyssey | Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Outside/In: How DAPL is Connected to a Long History of Native American Treaty Violations | New Hampshire Public Radio | Saturday, July 11, 2020
High Court No Longer A No-Go As Tribal Reservation OK'd | Law360 | Thursday, July 9, 2020
Shawnee Tribe Appoints First Justices to its new Supreme Court | Native News Online | Friday, January 10, 2020
WA's top lawyer took a rare step to affirm tribal sovereignty - here's why that's a big deal | Crosscut | Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Carpenter Speaks at U.N. General Assembly's Global Kickoff of 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages | University of Colorado Law School | Thursday, February 14, 2019
Carpenter Serves as Panelist at National Congress of American Indians Annual Convention | University of Colorado Law School | Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Professor Carpenter Meets with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet | University of Colorado Law School | Monday, December 18, 2017
Professor Carpenter appointed to United Nations Position | University of Colorado Law School | Friday, March 24, 2017
Feds Withheld Key Documents from Standing Rock Sioux | High Country News | Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Pipeline Decision Marks Victory in Tribal Effort to Protect Sacred Sites | Minnesota Public Radio | Wednesday, December 7, 2016
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


Fall 2023 Indigenous Peoples In International Law LAWS 7715-801
Fall 2023 American Indian Law I LAWS 7725-801
Fall 2022 American Indian Law I LAWS 7725-801
Fall 2022 Seminar: Advanced Topics in American Indian Law LAWS 8725-801
Fall 2021 Indigenous Peoples In International Law LAWS 7715-801
Fall 2021 Seminar: Advanced Topics in American Indian Law LAWS 8725-801
Spring 2021 Property LAWS 5624-801
Fall 2020 Cultural Property Law LAWS 6602-801
Fall 2019 Indigenous Peoples In International Law LAWS 7715-801
Spring 2019 Cultural Property Law LAWS 6602-801
Fall 2018 LILAC Symposium Course: Leadership in Law and Community LAWS 6808-801
Fall 2018 Indigenous Peoples In International Law LAWS 7715-801
Fall 2018 Indigenous Peoples In International Law LAWS 7715-902
Spring 2018 Seminar: International Human Rights LAWS 8440-801
Fall 2017 Cultural Property Law LAWS 6602-801
Spring 2017 Property LAWS 5624-801
Spring 2017 Indigenous Peoples In International Law LAWS 7715-001
Fall 2015 Indigenous Peoples In International Law LAWS 7715-001
Fall 2014 Cultural Property Law LAWS 6602-001
Spring 2014 Property LAWS 5624-801
Spring 2014 Seminar: Advanced Topics in American Indian Law LAWS 8725-001
Spring 2013 Property LAWS 5624-803
Spring 2013 Seminar: Advanced Topics in American Indian Law LAWS 8725-001