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TJSL to Host Discussion on American Indian Education and Law

November 1, 2013

Professor Bryan Wildenthal

The Thomas Jefferson School of Law, KPBS and the San Diego Public Library will present a panel discussion on Education, Colonization, and the Law in Native American History on Wednesday, November 6 at 6 p.m., in conjunction with the 2013 One Book One San Diego reading campaign sponsored by KPBS and the San Diego Public Library, in the 2nd Floor Moot Court Room.

Set in 1660s Martha’s Vineyard, the One Book selection, Caleb’s Crossing by Pulitzer Prize winning author Geraldine Brooks, depicts the encounter of two very different cultures and is the true story of the first American Indian to graduate from Harvard University.

TJSL Professor Bryan Wildenthal and Kumeyaay Historian and Author Michael Connolly Miskwish will discuss the conflicted role of education in Native American history and law. For Native youth, education was often less an opportunity for advancement and more a mechanism of abuse and destruction of Indian culture. Education was a tool of law and policy pushed on Native peoples by European American colonizers, as with the phenomenon of Indian boarding schools in the 19th century. Despite the fact that many European settlers migrated to the New World in search of religious freedom for themselves, and despite the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom and prohibition of governmental establishment of religion, European colonial and U.S. government policies frequently involved the suppression of Native religious traditions and the coercive promotion of Christianity.

Professor Wildenthal has published numerous articles in leading law reviews and his first book (on Native American Sovereignty) appeared in 2003. He is now at work on a series of articles that will eventually form his second book, offering a sweeping reinterpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment and its application of the Bill of Rights to the states. His scholarly interests generally focus on constitutional law and history (including comparative constitutional law), American Indian law, and sexual identity law. He previously taught at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law and served as a senior editor of the Stanford Law Review.

Mr. Connolly is a member of the Campo Band of Kumeyaay Indians, an economist, engineer, and historian. He is a former Councilman and presently Project Manager for Maataam NakaShin, an intertribal organization organizing the tribal component of the San Diego – Panama Exposition centennial. He provides consulting services in the fields of environmental protection, economics, energy, and land management. He writes and teaches on Kumeyaay history and traditional ecological knowledge. He has two published books and many published papers on Kumeyaay history, environmental economics, natural resources and renewable energy. He is an adjunct faculty member at San Diego State University and a Board Member of Kumeyaay Community College.

One Book One San Diego is a seven-year-old partnership between KPBS, San Diego Public Library, and San Diego County Library designed to bring the community together through a shared experience of reading and discussing the same book. 

Learn about One Book One San Diego and other programs at the San Diego Public Library’s Central Library and 35 branches, find links to numerous additional resources, or search for materials in the Library’s catalog online at