Nov. 16, 2006

Two-day conference to explore native water rights and public policy

Cornell is hosting a two-day conference and symposium, "Native Water Law and Public Policy: Critical Issues in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Watersheds," Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17 and 18, in Myron Taylor Hall, Rooms G85 and G90, at the Cornell Law School. The conference, which runs from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on both days, is free and open to the public.

The conference is the first public event of Cornell's recently created Transboundary Indigenous Waters Program and marks the first event co-sponsored by the New York State Water Resources Institute, the American Indian Program at Cornell, and the Cornell Law School's Journal of Law and Public Policy.

The conference is a new effort on behalf of native water law and education in and around Indian lands in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence watershed. Said Chuck Geisler, Cornell professor of developmental sociology: "It includes multiple jurisdictions throughout the watershed, including tribal lands in Canada and the U.S. It also is transboundary in cultural and disciplinary terms as well, within the university and beyond. It has federal formula funding for three years and will continue thereafter as long as water law and education are urgent public concerns."

The Nov. 17 events will be devoted to native education, law, and water issues and the lessons and struggles native communities experience in dealing with Great Lakes-St. Lawrence watersheds. Speakers and participants will include native water experts, planners and activists from across the continent and particularly from the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin area.

As part of the annual Cornell Law School Symposium, the Nov. 18 events will focus primarily on contemporary legal issues and strategies in native water rights and management, and will feature nationally recognized academic leaders and legal practitioners as speakers and guests.

For a full schedule of events or more information, visit, or contact Kathy Halbig at (607) 255-5991 or