THE WINTERS CENTENNIAL: WILL ITS COMMITMENT TO JUSTICE ENDURE?
June 9-12, 2008
Hyatt Regency Tamaya -- Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico
The year 2008 marked the centennial of Winters v. United States, in which the Court formulated the reserved water rights doctrine now broadly asserted by Indian tribes and federal agencies. The decision, because of its enduring promise of justice to Native Americans, marks one of the great achievements of American jurisprudence. The decision made possible the continuity of many Indian communities and non-Indian communities alike, along with the protection of important environmental resources. Now, one hundred years later, the question is whether the promise of Winters will be fulfilled. In celebration of the Winters Centennial, the Utton Transboundary Resources Center and the American Indian Law Center convened a major symposium in June 2008 along the waters of the Rio Grande near Albuquerque. The symposium reviewed the legal and cultural history of the decision, assessed the contemporary consequences of the reserved water rights doctrine (both nationally and internationally), and projected the significance of Indian water rights into the 21st Century. The symposium assembled Indian reserved rights policy makers and decision makers at all levels in order to deepen the understanding of the effect of Winters and to advance the dialogue regarding the future role of reserved rights.