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The Native American Law Center promotes the development of Indian law, and encourages Native Americans and others with an interest in Indian law to attend law school. We also act as a resource to Indian tribes, other governments and individuals in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and across the country. In addition to a challenging and prestigious academic program, we are part of an extensive network of scholars, practitioners and students dedicated to the field of Indian law.

Washington is home to 29 tribes — many located in close proximity to the city of Seattle. We offer several courses in Indian law topics, encourage internships related to Indian law and environmental law and also offer the chance to work closely with faculty on matters selected by students. Our Tribal Court Public Defender Clinic puts students in tribal court under the supervision of a seasoned faculty member as defense counsel for tribal members. It is the only clinic of its kind in the country.

Our Founder's Vision and Legacy

The Native American Law Center was founded by the School of Law to carry on and expand the work of Professor Ralph W. Johnson. For forty-four years, Professor Johnson taught at the UW School of Law and provided direct assistance to the tribes in Washington state and across the nation. Professor Johnson's scholarly work in the field of Indian Law is nationally known, his writings have been cited more than 300 times by the United States Supreme Court as well as by lower federal and state court judges. Professor Johnson created this Native American Law Center to carry on his life's work.