Mackenzie A. Dilbeck
NORMAN — This month, University of Oklahoma Professor of Law and Chickasaw Nation Endowed Chair in Native American Law, Dr. Lindsay Robertson signed an academic cooperation agreement between The Center for the Study of American Indian Law and Policy and the Presidential Commission Against Discrimination and Racism Against Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala (CODISRA). Dr. Robertson is faculty director for The Center for the Study of American Indian Law and Policy.
The agreement acknowledges the need for the groups to join forces to drive cultural change, increase worldwide respect for difference and diversity, deepen public awareness of racial discrimination and strengthen national systems for the promotion and protection of human rights. To accomplish this, the parties will work together to develop mechanisms of academic cooperation such as training programs, internship opportunities and joint research endeavors, all of which will focus on the rights of indigenous peoples.
“We are honored to join CODISRA in finding strategic ways to enrich the study of indigenous peoples and international human rights,” said OU Law Dean Joseph Harroz Jr. “Our college’s programming reflects the great interest our students and faculty show in the protection of human rights, and we’re confident that through meaningful dialogue, exchanges of information and unique opportunities for our students, this partnership will enhance an already strong area of study for OU Law.”
The agreement came out of a trip five OU Law students took to Guatemala in the fall of 2014 as part of the college’s International Human Rights Clinic. Each year, teams of OU Law students travel to remote parts of countries where they work with indigenous leaders and government officials with the goal of preparing reports about the principal concerns of indigenous peoples in those areas. The students’ report is then submitted to United Nations Human Rights Council.
The Center for the Study of American Indian Law and Policy was established in 1990. The Center exists to provide counsel to tribal, state and national policymakers, and to serve as a forum for the interdisciplinary discussion and resolution of challenges facing native communities.
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