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CLE Lecture with David Yepa and Tom Luebben

April 21, 2017

Attorneys Yepa and Luebben; Professors Wolfley and LaVelle
Attorneys Yepa and Luebben; Professors Wolfley and LaVelle

"Aboriginal Indian Title Land Claims - Pueblo of Jemez v. United States"

Attorneys Yepa and Luebben; Professors Wolfley and LaVelle

The UNM School of Law welcomed attorneys, David Yepa and Tom Luebben to deliver a lecture on "Aboriginal Indian Title Land Claims—Pueblo of Jemez v. United States."

David Yepa, is General Counsel for the Pueblo of Jemez, and primarily works in the area of Federal Indian law including water litigation and natural resource matters. He outlined the extent and use of the area now incorporated into the Valles Caldera National Preserve by the Jemez people since 1400 A.D and showed slides of the ruins left after many hundreds of years.

Tom Luebben, whose practice includes a wide variety of experience in aboriginal land claims throughout the United States, gave a history of the litigation and background of aboriginal land claim disputes and the background of treaties, pertinent legislation, and previous litigation.

Valles Caldera National Preserve
Valles Caldera National Preserve

Valles Caldera National Preserve

The doctrine of aboriginal Indian title continues to be a fundamental part of federal Indian law and the Anglo-American common law of property. Indian title claims have continuing importance to Indian tribes, and Supreme Court case law continues to recognize that such claims persist until clearly extinguished. The lecture reviewed the law of Indian title and discussed the current case before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Pueblo of Jemez v. United States (oral argument presented at the law school on November 13, 2014), which utilizes the federal Quiet Title Act to assert Jemez Pueblo's Indian title to the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The Valles Caldera and Wavema (Redondo Peak) are Jemez Pueblo's most important sacred sites, analogous to Taos Pueblo's Blue Lake.

To watch the full lecture, click here.

The lecture was hosted by UNM School of Law Natural Resources and Environmental Law Program and The Utton Center in cooperation with the New Mexico Bar Association Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Section.