Robert Odawi Porter
Odawi Porter, a 1986 graduate of SU's Maxwell School and founder of the
Tribal Law and Government Center at the University of Kansas, will join
the SU College of Law as a professor and Dean's Research Scholar of
Indigenous Nations Law. He will also establish a Center of Indigenous
Citizenship, Law and Governance at the College of Law.
is a great day for Syracuse University College of Law," says College
of Law Dean Hannah Arterian. "Rob is a leading academic in indigenous
peoples law who has impressed all of us with his accomplishments, his
collegiality, his ambition, his presence and his enthusiasm. The new
center will have a trajectory that will be limited only by our
am delighted Rob is joining us," says Vice Chancellor and Provost
Deborah Freund. "He is bound to ignite wonderful new research and
learning opportunities to learn about Indigenous law, culture and people.
He is just the kind of innovative scholar the academic plan envisions we
should attract to campus."
is a great opportunity to get back to what I think of as home," says
Porter, a citizen of the Seneca Nation who grew up on the Allegany
Territory of the Seneca Nation in Western New York. "I am very
excited to establish a new and innovative Indian law program at the
Syracuse University College of Law. The need has never been greater.
Indian law and policy have been important in New York for over 300 years,
espeially in relation to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. But the field is
also becoming more important regionally and nationally as well. Since
there are no comparable programs east of the Mississippi, I look forward
to making a unique and significant contribution. I am very thankful to
Dean Arterian, Vice Chancellor Freund and the law faculty for making this
Strickland, Philip H. Knight Professor of Law at the University of Oregon
School of Law, founding director of the Center for the Study of American
Indian Law and Policy at the University of Oklahoma and a pioneer in
introducing Indian law into university curriculum lauds both the
establishment of the center and the naming of Porter as its director.
"Close to the heart of New York's historic Indian country, Syracuse
University is an ideal place for the Center of Indigenous Citizenship, Law
and Governance. The great and powerful Indian sovereigns of this area
continue to have tremendous influence here and abroad. They will benefit
from and contribute to this new and creative initiative. Prof. Robert
Porter is especially qualified to lead this endeavor as research professor
in SU's College of Law."
comes to the SU College of Law from the University of Iowa College of Law,
which he joined as a tenured full professor in August 2002. Before that,
he spent seven years on the law faculty of the University of Kansas and as
an adjunct professor at Haskell Indian Nations University. He has been a
visiting professor of law at Albany Law School, SUNY Potsdam, the
University of Tulsa College of Law and SUNY Buffalo School of Law.
1997, Porter has been the chief justice of the supreme court of the Sac
& Fox Nation of Missouri. From 1991 to 1995 he was the attorney
general of the Seneca Nation. In that position, he established an in-house
legal department and advised Seneca Nation officials on a wide variety of
issues. He has also served as a consultant to several other Indian nations
on government reform and related matters.
academic interests focus on the law and governance of Indigenous nations,
indigenous citizenship and political participation of Indigenous peoples,
colonialism and its impact on Indigenous societies and the decolonization
of American law and legal institutions relating to American Indians. His
publications have appeared in the Yale Human Rights & Development Law
Journal, the Harvard Journal on Legislation, the Columbia Human Rights Law
Review and the Michigan Journal of Law reform, among others. He has two
books forthcoming: "Reviving the Two Row Wampum: Indigenous Peoples,
Citizenship, and American Politics" from Cambridge University Press
and "Sovereignty, Colonialism, and the Future of the Indigenous
Nations" from Carolina Academic Press. He has served as chair of the
section on Indigenous nations and peoples of the American Association of
Porter received his J.D. from Harvard University in 1989. His degree from the Maxwell School was in political science and economics. In 1993, he received SU's Outstanding Young Alumni Award. He is admitted to practice law in the Seneca Nation and New York, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.
page last updated 14 July 2004