In this episode of Reasonably Speaking, renowned experts on American Indian law and policy, Matthew Fletcher and Wenona Singel, discuss the nuanced and highly complex field of American Indian Law. Matthew and Wenona begin by exploring the history of tribal sovereignty, and discuss the rights of American Indians as both tribal citizens and U.S. citizens. 

We then explore jurisdiction across border lines, particularly in a criminal context. Matthew and Wenona discuss the history of violence against native women, and why, until recently, prosecution has been so difficult. The history of and current U.S. court challenges to the Indian Child Welfare Act are also examined.

Matthew L.M. Fletcher

Reporter, American Indian Law Restatement

Matthew L.M. Fletcher is a Professor of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center at Michigan State University College of Law. He is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.  He sits as the Chief Justice of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Supreme Court and also sits as an appellate judge for the Grand Traverse Band, the Hoopa Valley Tribe, the Lower Elwha Tribe, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, and the Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska.

Wenona T. Singel

Associate Reporter, American Indian Law Restatement

Wenona T. Singel is the deputy legal counsel to the Office of the Governor for the State of Michigan. Ms. Singel is the first American Indian to hold this position in Michigan. Her position of deputy legal counsel includes serving as the advisor to the Governor on tribal affairs where she work to strengthen the government-to-government relationship between Michigan’s twelve federally-recognized tribes and the State of Michigan. Before her appointment, Ms. Singel was an associate professor at MSU College of Law and Associate Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College, and she received a J.D. from Harvard Law School.   

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