Friday April 18, 2014

School of Law

Spotlight - James Grijalva

James Grijalva


Professor James Grijalva

Fulbright Scholar 2009



Professor James Grijalva, Kenneth and Frances Swenson Professor of Law & Director of the Tribal Environmental Law Project at the UND School of Law, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to conduct research at the University of Alberta in Edmonton for the spring semester in 2009, according to the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship board. Grijalva’s Fulbright award is the second in the history of the UND School of Law.

Grijalva will conduct research in Aboriginal legal and resource rights, develop collaborations and offer occasional guest lectures at the undergraduate and graduate level with the School of Native Studies and the Faculty of Law.

His experience with Indian country environmental law in the United States is the strong foundation he will use to evaluate Canadian Law on these issues with the goal of using a comparative analysis of the two countries’ approaches to expand the scholarly discussion of these issues.  He hopes this increased scholarly attention “will assist indigenous communities and governments in Canada, the United States and other countries in developing and refining legal systems to treat indigenous communities equitably.”

Grijalva’s career has focused primarily on these issues.  He received his J.D. with a certificate in Natural Resources and Environmental Law from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College, a school consistently raked at the top for those programs.  As a private lawyer, he has represented tribal governments on a variety of natural resources and environmental matters, mostly notably the Puyallup Tribe in legal claims for damages to tribal natural resources caused by hazardous substance releases in the Commencement Bay Superfund Site near Tacoma, Washington.  In 1996, as a law professor, he developed the Tribal Environmental Law Project as part of the UND School of Law Indian Law Center, and since 1998, he has taught a summer course on Indian country environmental law at Vermont Law School.  

The Fulbright Program, America’s flagship international educational exchange program, sends U.S. faculty and professionals abroad each year. The program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Participants of the program are chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential - with the opportunity to observe each others’ political, economic, educational and cultural institutions, to exchange ideas and to embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world’s inhabitants.

Professor Grijalva is one of 800 faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright Scholarship in 2009.