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‘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 Download a photo of Pommersheim .

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


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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.


Hanna DeLange
USD News