Kristen A. Carpenter

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

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 and Director of the American Indian Law Program at the University of Colorado Law School. Professor Carpenter also serves on the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as its member from North America. 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 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 is an elected member of the American Law Institute and serves 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).


(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

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).

Selected Press, Media & Publicity

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


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