Traditional Law in a Modern World: Researching Indigenous Peoples’ Law

Thursday, October 29, 2020 (11am - 12pm US/Central)


As indigenous activists re-assert their legal rights, effectively researching indigenous legal issues has become an increasingly important skill. Businesses and attorneys that fail to understand and respect indigenous legal rights face an exponential wave of legal activism by indigenous communities, from the Pacific Islanders who successfully challenged the license of a hotel that violated their indigenous fishing rights, to the Mixe and other Mexican communities asserting their rights against fashion companies that appropriate their traditional designs, to the Standing Rock Sioux’s fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. This webinar will provide participants with the necessary resources and skills to research the laws and legal rights of indigenous peoples worldwide. This webinar will benefit librarians whose firms are involved in litigation or transactional work involving indigenous peoples, government librarians whose courts and agencies are increasingly involved in lawsuits brought by indigenous groups and peoples asserting their legal rights, and academic librarians who are training students, faculty, hosting courses, and clinics involving foreign and international law, American Indian law, or both.

Participants will learn to:
• Define the term indigenous peoples and identify key international organizations and conventions in indigenous peoples’ law.
• Identify, use, and assess the reliability of books and online resources for researching the law of indigenous peoples of the Pacific Islands and North and Central America.

Registration for this event closes October 26.

AALL Body of Knowledge Domain: Research + Analysis

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Chris Dykes is the Head of Public Services at the University of Houston’s O’Quinn Law Library. He is the author of the Globalex research guide to Indigenous Peoples International Law, which he first published in 2009 and regularly updates, most recently in 2019. He has prior experience presenting and publishing on international tax law research and holds a J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law, an M.S. in Information Sciences from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and an LL.M. in Taxation from Villanova University School of Law.

Victoria Szymczak is an Associate Professor and Director of the Law Library at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she regularly researches issues involving Native Hawaiian customary law. She recently published the book "Charting the Legal Systems of the Western Pacific Islands", a guide to researching indigenous law in former British Protectorates in the Western Pacific. She is currently working on a second book on researching indigenous law in former U.S. Trust Territories in the Western Pacific and compiling a digest of case law interpreting customary Western Pacific law. She holds a J.D. and LL.M. from Duke School of Law. Her full biography is available at

Dr. Jolande Goldberg is a Senior Law Classification Specialist at the Library of Congress, where she developed the Library of Congress Classification schedules for Law of Indigenous Peoples in the Western Hemisphere (Classes KI-KIZ). She holds a J.D., LL.M., and Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. Her full biography is available on the page for her induction into AALL’s Hall of Fame at

Kurt Meyer is the Assistant Director of Global Content Development & Preservation at LLMC Digital, where he works on the Indigenous Law Portal, which aggregates websites and documents relating to the indigenous law of peoples in North and Central America. He previously worked as the Instructional Services Librarian at the University of Minnesota Law School and holds a J.D. and M.L.I.S. from the University of Illinois.

Caitlin Hunter
Reference Librarian
UCLA Law Library

Cancellation and Other Policies:

Cancellations and refund requests must be made in writing and emailed to by the registration deadline. No refunds will be given after the registration deadline. Refunds will not be given for no-shows.

Please contact us if you would like to request live captioning services. To request live captioning services, contact AALL at by October 15, 2020.