UW Law welcomes new director of the Native American Law Center

UW Law is pleased to announce that Monte Mills, a nationally renowned scholar on Indian and tribal law, has joined the UW Law faculty as a Charles I. Stone Professor of Law and director of the law school’s Native American Law Center. Mills’ research and teaching focuses on Indian Law, natural resources and race, racism, and American law.

“I believe the highest calling of our profession is to serve and to use our knowledge and legal skills to help build a more just legal system and existence,” Mills said. “There isn’t a better way to do that than working on behalf of tribes and tribal sovereignty. I am deeply grateful to have the opportunity to teach, to talk, to write, to think and to work on these issues and am humbled and excited for the opportunity to continue to do this work at UW.”

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. UW Law offers several courses in Indian law topics that provide an important legal foundation for students planning to practice in the region. Washington is home to 29 federally recognized tribes, with many located near Seattle.

The Center also acts 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, the Center is part of an extensive network of scholars, practitioners and students dedicated to the field of Indian law.

Mills said he looks forward to building on the Center’s rich history and longstanding partnerships to continue to fulfill the Center’s mission of service and education for generations to come.

“History, tradition and legacy are really important to me personally,” Mills said. “I feel so fortunate to be part of the Center’s long history. The center’s reputation, the trust it has built with the community and the work it has facilitated is an outstanding foundation for thinking about what comes next. Respecting and honoring the past will remain at the forefront of my mind as we plan for an exciting future.”

Mills joins UW Law from the University of Montana Alexander Blewett III School of Law where he served as professor of law and co-director of the Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic. From October 2021 through July 2022, he also served as acting dean, student success.

His most recent scholarly article is “Re-Indigenizing Yellowstone,” published in the Wyoming Law Review. He and his co-authors examined how a broader movement by tribal leaders and their allies to engender restorative justice across the American landscape has opened new avenues through which tribes can engage with the federal government in its management of public lands.

Prior to joining the University of Montana faculty, Mills directed the legal department for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe in Colorado, an in-house counsel department that he helped organize in 2005 following completion of a unique two-year in-house attorney training program. He represented and counseled the Tribe on a broad array of issues, including litigation in tribal, state and federal courts, legislative matters before the Colorado General Assembly and the United States Congress, and internal tribal matters, such as contracting, code-drafting and gaming issues.

Mills received his undergraduate degree from Lewis & Clark College. He earned his J.D. from the University of Colorado.