PRICE, Utah – The talk “American Indian Law: What You Never Knew (Until Now),” delivered by Dr. Rachel Walton, took place in the packed Library and Learning Commons (LLC) at Utah State University Eastern on Tuesday, February 21, 2023.
Dr. Walton began her career in law enforcement in California, where she served the state for 34 years. A close friend from the state corrections department heavily influenced her passion for justice for American Indian persons.
Dr. Walton then moved to Utah, where she began teaching at USU Eastern. Most recently, she has begun teaching a course on American Indian Law in January of this year. It is a “course-build in progress” but is something she is extremely passionate about.
“One cannot understand the current legal system for American Indians without understanding the past,” she says. “It’s like trying to build a house without a foundation.”
During the event Tuesday night, Dr. Walton shared her expertise on the topic, challenging attendees’ preconceptions about American Indian Law and revealing the complexities of the issues faced by Indigenous communities.
The talk allowed an opportunity for students, faculty, and community members to engage in meaningful dialogue about Indigenous rights and issues. The dialogue provided a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by Indigenous communities when navigating the legal system and the current and historical government policies regarding jurisdiction on sovereign Indian territory.
Dr. Walton’s talk opened the door for engagement and conversation at the LLC at the end. One individual that attended the talk even who showed Dr. Walton their tribal identification card at the end of the night.
For more information about other events coming up at USU Eastern including the LLC, please visit usueastern.edu/calendar.