Sep 10, 2013

‘Broken Landscape: Indians, Indian Tribes, and the Constitution’ focus of Constitution Day program at USD

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota will observe Constitution Day on Tuesday, Sept. 17 with a 2 p.m. lecture in the School of Law courtroom by nationally-recognized Indian law expert Professor Frank Pommersheim. The presentation, entitled “Broken Landscape: Indians, Indian Tribes, and the Constitution,” is free and open to the public, and students, teachers and professors are encouraged to attend.

The program will provide Pommersheim’s latest views on Indian tribal sovereignty under the Constitution and how legal analysis and practice have interpreted and misinterpreted tribal sovereignty since the nation’s founding. The Constitution formalized the relationship between Indian tribes and the government of the United States – a relationship forged through a long history of war and law usurpation – within a federal structure not mirrored in the traditions of tribal governance.

Pommersheim is a widely-respected teacher, scholar, author, poet, and justice on a number of tribal appellate courts. At the USD School of Law he teaches courses on Indian law, federal jurisdiction, rights of indigenous people, criminal law, and criminal procedure. Pommersheim is currently working on a book with the working title of “Justice in Indian Country: 25 Years as A Tribal Appellate Justice and Tribal Court Scholar,” and a volume of poetry entitled “Small is Beautiful: 100 Buddha Poems.” A list of his publications, awards, and honors is found at A photo of Pommersheim is available at

Presented at USD by the School of Law, Constitution Day was established by Congress in 2004 to recognize the ratification of the United States Constitution. All colleges and universities that receive federal funding are required to host an educational event about the Constitution. For more information about the Constitution Day program, please contact the USD School of Law at (605) 677-5443 or e-mail

About The University of South Dakota School of Law

The mission of the School of Law is to prepare the lawyers and judges who will administer the Federal, state and American Indian Tribal Justice systems in South Dakota and to provide a legal education to South Dakota residents, along with nonresidents who choose to attend the school, which will serve as a solid foundation for the practice of law or other professional careers anywhere in the world. For more information about the USD School of Law, please contact Associate Dean Tom Sorensen ( by calling (605) 677-5393 or

About The University of South Dakota
Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. USD has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Peter Carrels
The University of South Dakota
(605) 216-1233
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