2/27: International Water Law and Indigenous Water Justice

Barbara Cosens, Professor and Associate Dean of Faculty at University of Idaho College of Law

International law develops through consent and customary practice among nation states and the domestic law of these sovereign nations establishes the framework for their engagement across borders. The arena of international engagement has historically been closed to Indigenous governments, but with growing recognition of Indigenous rights to self-determination and increasing capacity to assert those rights, this assumed exclusion is in question.

The Columbia River basin is one stage on which the test of the role of Indigenous peoples in international law is playing out. The review of the Columbia River Treaty between the United States and Canada has triggered not only rethinking of the development, management and ecological function of the river, but of who should play a role in decisions regarding its future. This talk will use the current review of the Columbia River Treaty as a window on both international water law and the role of Indigenous populations in shaping and implementing that law.

Sponsored by the State of the Rockies
Monday, February 27
Lunch is at 12:15 in Tutt Science 126
Dinner is at 7pm  Gaylord
Find out more!

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