Indigenous Law Center



The Indigenous Law Center


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UC Law SF established its Indigenous Law Center in September 2020. It is one of 11 interrelated initiatives proposed by Chancellor and Dean David Faigman and approved by the school’s Board of Directors. The Center will develop its program in collaboration with the UC Law SF Restorative Justice Advisory Board, which is charged with advising the dean on how best to implement all 11 initiatives.

The purpose of the Indigenous Law Center is to educate students and expand knowledge about how U.S. law affects Native and Indigenous peoples. Its central responsibilities are to enhance the school’s Indigenous Law curriculum and to promote related research opportunities.

The Center will feature an annually appointed Visiting Professor of Law. It will also conduct a public law and policy lectures series; initiate an affiliated scholars program; and develop courses, seminars, and panels.

The program’s inaugural Visiting Professor of Law was Matthew Fletcher, who joined UC Law SF faculty for the 2021-2022 academic year. A distinguished scholar of Federal Indian Law, Fletcher is the Harry Burns Hutchins Collegiate Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School. At UC Law SF, Professor Fletcher taught a seminar on Tribal Law.

The affiliated scholar program will provide research opportunities by acting as a resource for scholars and students. The goal is to create an interdisciplinary space where participants can share insights and ideas. The Center seeks to attract emerging scholars by providing faculty mentorship and other practical support.  Information on how to apply to the affiliated scholar program is forthcoming.

Located on an urban campus in the heart of San Francisco, UC Law SF is deeply engaged with organizations across the Bay Area and beyond. Likewise, the Indigenous Law Center seeks to engage diverse voices on issues of importance to Native and Indigenous Nations, communities, and individuals.

Advisory Board

To date, our advisory board is the Restorative Justice Advisory Board.

ILC Visiting Professors of Law and Affiliated Scholar Faculty Appointments

ILC Video Productions

A Conversation with Ben Madley

Summer 2022 Restorative Justice Fellowships

(special thanks to composer Connor Chee (Diné))

Annual Report 2022-2023

Doctrine of Discovery

UC Law SF explored the global impact of the Doctrine of Discovery on Indigenous Peoples and the significance of its incorporation into U.S. law on the 200th anniversary of Johnson

Doctrine of Discovery - March 2023

Past Events

ILC’s Annual Visiting Indigenous Law Center Lecture: Ben Madley

Impact of COVID on Native and Indigenous Communities

Federal Indian Law After the Notorious RBG

portrait of Jo Carrillo

Faculty Director

Jo Carrillo is Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Indigenous Law Center (the ILC for short) at UC Law San Francisco (formerly UC Hastings). Carrillo teaches and writes in property and has published in property related subjects, including federal Indian law, Indigenous property issues under California state law, family wealth acquisitions, and marital property dissolution law and policy. Carrillo was the first female professor of color to earn tenure at UC Law SF. She taught the first Federal Indian Law course at Stanford Law School, where she served as a Visiting Professor of Law. At Stanford, she was recognized as an Outstanding Mentor for Native American Students. Carrillo holds a B.A. (Stanford University) and J.S.D. (Stanford Law School), and J.D. (the University of New Mexico).  She is a former Trustee of the Law and Society Association, a member of the Modern Language Association and of the American Law Institute.

As Faculty Director of the UC Law Indigenous Law Center, Carrillo has facilitated and / or taught courses on Federal Indian Law, Tribal Law (with Professor Matthew L. Fletcher), International Indigenous Peoples Rights (with Professor Lindsay Robertson who designed a course to draws on law instructors and students from all common law countries), and Indigenous Land Acknowledgments (with Ramaytush Ohlone Chairman Jonathan Cordero). A series of grants from the Resources Legacy Fund (RLF) made it possible for Carrillo to design and co-teach a California specific law seminar on how to enhance Indigenous opportunities to land under state law (with Curtis Berkey of Berkey Williams and others). Carrillo has Robert A. Williams to serve as the ILC Visiting Professor for 2024-2025. The idea behind bringing leaders in the fields of law and history to the law school is to expand the curriculum as well as to create opportunities for Indigenous lawyers, nonindigenous lawyers, and California tribal leaders to come together to discuss ancestral land return and stewardship issues. As part of this effort, and with support of the RLF, Carrillo analyzed land conveyances from non-Indigenous transferors to Indigenous transferees, she presented at the Yurok Tribal Wind Summit Conference 2024, and she will be presenting on private land back transfers at the Kasner Estate Planning Conference 2024 (with Alma Soongi Beck). In 2023-2024, Carrillo partnered with UCLA Associate Professor of History Benjamin Madley (author of An American Genocide: The United States and the California Catastrophe, 1846-1873) on historical and legal research to help further legislative strategies to redress historical land-based harms against Indigenous peoples in California. Carrillo is a member of the UC Law SF Restorative Justice Advisory Committee, a group that advises UC Law SF Chancellor and Dean David Faigman on restorative justice efforts for Indigenous communities in California.


No upcoming events.