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About John P. LaVelle

John P. LaVelle, an enrolled member of the Santee Sioux Nation, holds the title of Dickason Professor of Law and directs the Indian Law Program at the University of New Mexico School of Law. He received his bachelor of arts degree from Harvard University and his juris doctor degree from Boalt Hall School of Law, the University of California at Berkeley.

Professor LaVelle is a member of the executive committee for Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian Law, the preeminent treatise in the field of Indian law. In that capacity he helped author and edit the watershed 2005 edition of Cohen’s Handbook as well as the treatise’s 2007 supplemental update. Professor LaVelle also has served as a co-chair and of the Federal Bar Association’s annual Indian Law Conference, held each spring in Albuquerque, and as chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Indian Nations and Indigenous Peoples.

Professor LaVelle’s publications address Indian people’s involvement in the American political system, crosscurrents in the United States Supreme Court’s Indian law and federalism jurisprudence, and collaboration between Indian tribes and conservation organizations for restoring tribal sacred lands, including the Black Hills of South Dakota. His latest research focuses on alterations in longstanding doctrines of Indian law stemming from recent Supreme Court decisions, especially those dealing with the extent and limits of tribal and state jurisdiction in Indian country.


Present Professor of Law & Regents Lectureship, University of New Mexico School of Law


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Honors and Awards

  • Member of the South Dakota Bar
  • Regents Lectureship
  • Dean's Award for Distinguished Law School Service


  • Administrative Law
  • Conflicts of Indian Law
  • Indian Gaming
  • Indian Law
  • Indian Tax
  • Jurisdiction in Indian Country
  • Natural Resources: Indian Country
  • Practicum
  • Sexual Orientation & Law
  • Torts


1990 J.D., University of California - Berkeley
1987 A.B., Harvard University

Contact Information

UNM School of Law
Office: 3234
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Ph.: 505-277-0951


Books and Book Chapters (2)

Scholarly Articles (9)