Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


The Indigenous Peoples’ Journal of Law, Culture & Resistance is a student run law journal publishing writings concerning Native Peoples’ cultures, traditions, and histories. In so doing the Journal promotes Native scholarship and seeks out publishable material from the traditional perspective as well as the intellectual in order to bring attention to specific situations and legal battles facing Native communities.

Issue cover

Front Matter

Front Matter

Front Matter






Oceti Sakowin Camp

Photograph, Oceti Sakowin Camp

Gallery I

Photographs, Standing Rock, North Dakota


Environmentalism and Human Rights Legal Framework: The Continued Frontier of Indigenous Resistance

Indigenous nations need to build a strategic resistance to disman­tle the legal status quo and assert their inherent sovereignty and human legal rights to destroy the settler colonial project of climate change. This type of resistance needs to be internalized within the Indigenous nation and actively asserted throughout local, state, national, and international legal systems. This article takes a two-step approach: first, it argues that Native nations must internalize resistance to the settler colonial project of climate change and take substantial steps to implement tribal codes and adopt customary laws, supplemented with U.S. laws and programs, to protect their own people from the impacts of climate change. Second, this article argues that Native nations must assert their inherent sovereign rights, as well as their rights guaranteed under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UN DRIP), to demand government-to-government consultation and participation in future international climate change agreements and in U.S. national, state, and local environ­mental policies and programs. Settler colonial states are not honoring the sovereignty of Indigenous communities or focusing enough effort on finding solutions to the environmental harms of climate change and the particular impact those harms have on Indigenous communities. The solution is for Indigenous communities to develop a legal strategy that asserts their inherent sovereignty and UN DRIP rights in effort to force colonial settler states to honor and adopt a human rights legal framework that addresses climate change.

Photography Continued

Gallery II

Photographs, Standing Rock, Dakota