Miller Center

Colloquium - Proof, Evidence, and History in Indigenous Land Claims & Carcieri v Kempthorne

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The Miller Center is a nonpartisan institute that seeks to provide critical insights for the nation’s governance challenges.

Christian McMillen
January 23, 2009
12:30PM - 12:30PM (EST)

Christian McMillen
Christian McMillen

McMillen currently has an article in Bulletin of the History of Medicine titled "'The Red Man and the White Plague': Rethinking American Indians, Tuberculosis, and Race, 1890–1950." He is also working on a book on global TB control with the support of the Center for Global Health at the University of Virginia, the Welcome Trust in England and a year-long fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Prior publications include "The Birth of an Activist: Fred Mahone and the Politicization of the Hualapai, 1918–1923," American Indian Culture and Research Journal 27, #1 (2003): 33–60, "Rain, Ritual, and Reclamation: Federal Irrigation Development on the Navajo and Zuni Reservations, 1883–1914." Western Historical Quarterly 31, #2 (2000): 435–456, and "Border State Terror and the Genesis of the African American Communities in Deer Lodge and Choteau Counties, Montana, 1870–1890." Journal of Negro History 79 (1994): 212–247.

Professor McMillen discussed two papers. First he talked about the Historians' Brief in Carcieri v Kempthorne, an Indian law case from the Supreme Court's current term which considers whether the Narrangansett Tribe may receive benefits under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 if the Tribe was not federally recognized on the date of enactment, and whether the Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act foreclosed the Tribe's right to exercise sovereignty over land in the state. Then McMillen discussed "Proof, Evidence and History in Indigenous Land Claims," a paper blending history with the law in the early years of Indian claims.

More information on the Carcieri v. Kempthorne case is online at the SCOTUS wiki. (, a blog about the U.S. Supreme Court maintained by a Washington DC law firm. Professor McMillen's amicus curiae brief is there, along with several others submitted to the Court.

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