Mau Forest Evictions in Kenya: How An International Tribunal’s Affirmation of Indigenous Rights Differs from Federal Indian Law in the United States


  • Trent Wallace



Many proponents of Indigenous rights in the United States advocate for the domestic legal system to adopt international law standards to strengthen the rights of American Indians and Tribes. This proposition assumes that domestic law is inconsistent with international law standards. In this Note, the author contrasts a recent decision from an international tribunal, the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, with United States law in the areas of tribal recognition, religious rights, and property rights. Importantly, the African Court on Human and People’s Rights applies international law standards, such as human rights treaties and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As this Note demonstrates by highlighting the differences between the outcomes of the case and United States law, United States law is incompatible with international law standards and provides fewer protections for its Indigenous peoples. This Note identifies the differences through the analysis and proposes solutions for the United States to better align with international Indigenous rights standards.