Tribal Resources and Sovereignty Clinic

Tribal Resources and Sovereignty Clinic

ENV 962 Tribal Resources and Sovereignty Clinic

Professor Patrick Gonzales-Rogers

TF Joshua Friedlein and Molly Johnson 

Meeting Time Wednesday 9:00AM – 11:50AM 

Location TBD

The clinic will be offered both Fall 2022 and Spring 2023. Students are strongly encouraged to enroll in both semesters and priority for spring semester will be given to students enrolled for fall.  

Applications are now open for ENV 962: Tribal Resources and Sovereignty Clinic. This clinical-focused course is taught by Patrick Gonzalez-Rogers, former Executive Director of the Bears Ears Coalition. Through lectures, this course will provide students with a foundational understanding of Tribal Sovereignty, the trust duty, co-management and shared stewardship, and contemporary case studies of successful co-management between tribes and partners. Students will also examine colonial systems and thought in relation to conservation and resource management. 
In the clinical portion of the course, students will be placed with a partner organization and participate in projects for their behalf. More details regarding the clinical work can be found in the course application. Please note: some of the clinical projects are still evolving, so project specifics are subject to change before the beginning of the semester. 
The course attendance will be capped at 25 students. Please submit an application by 11:59pm EST on Monday, August 15, 2022 to be considered. Students will be notified of acceptance by Thursday, August 18, 2022. 
This course is a graduate-level course and is cross-listed at the School of Management, the Law School, and the Divinity School. Other interested graduate students may apply. Undergraduate students may apply at the discretion of the advisor. (Interested undergraduates: please reach out to Teaching Fellow Joshua Friedlein [] for more information.)

Course Overview and Learning Objectives

·      Understanding Tribal Resource Management: We will identify and describe the varieties of tribal resources focusing on public lands and the limitation of the management prerogatives facing Tribal Nations under the current legal regime. We will explore those resources governed by the trust duty and the federal government’s role. The emerging green economy is revealing new resources and opportunities for tribes. We will investigate the relations between tribes, states, and private actors in this sector.

·      Co-management, the trust duty, and tribal sovereignty will be the main themes around which the clinic will be structured.

·      This will be a graduate-level course. This course has no prerequisites and is not capped. It requires an application. It is designed for master’s and Ph.D. students at the Yale School of the Environment, students at the Law School, the School of Management, and the Divinity School. The course is open to Yale College undergraduates and graduate students from elsewhere in Yale with the approval of the instructor.

·      This course will enable students to:

1.   Gain familiarity with concepts in natural resource management problems;

2.   Develop an appreciation of the complex dialectic between policy formulation and the different levels of government, as well as other stakeholders;

3.   Assess the implications of incorporating different forms of knowledge (disciplinary knowledge, local knowledge, indigenous knowledge, expert knowledge, and citizen knowledge);

4.   Develop a critical theoretical and historical underpinning for their work, develop a personal self-reflexive stance of openness to various forms of knowledge and different community values, and sharpen their written and oral analytic skills.

5.     Students working on this project will integrate technical forestry and policy expertise with other disciplines to create research that can be communicated to forestry and non-forestry decision-makers. In addition, students should have a willingness to learn to work with tribal staff and assert inherent sovereignty at the local, state, national and international levels by coordinating policy, law, and business.

People and Partners

Kristin Barendregt-Ludwig
Yale Center for Environmental Justice
Yale Center of Environmental Justice
Molly Johnson
Yale School of the Environment
Gerald Torres
Faculty Director; Yale Center for Environmental Justice