Herb Ruffin, African American Studies Department Chair and associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was interviewed for the WURD-FM (Philadelphia) story about the “100th anniversary of the Tulsa massacre.” Ruffin, who is an expert on Black settlements in…
Robert Porter, leading expert in Indigenous nations law, to establish center at SU’s College of Law
Robert Porter, leading expert in Indigenous nations law, to establish center at SU’s College of LawMarch 26, 2003Cynthia J. Moritzcjmoritz@syr.edu
Robert 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.
“It 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 imaginations.”
“I 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.”
“This 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 all possible.”
Rennard 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.”
Porter 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.
Since 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.
Porter’s 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 Law Schools.
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.