Angela R. Riley

​Professor of Law
Director, MA/JD Joint Degree Program in Law and American Indian Studies
Director, Native Nations Law and Policy Center

Angela R. Riley (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) is Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law and Director of UCLA’s Native Nations Law and Policy Center. She directs the J.D./M.A. joint degree program in Law and American Indian Studies and chairs the UCLA campus Repatriation Committee. Professor Riley’s research focuses on Indigenous peoples’ rights, with a particular emphasis on cultural property and Native governance. Her work has been published in the nation’s leading legal journals, including the Yale Law JournalStanford Law ReviewColumbia Law ReviewCalifornia Law ReviewGeorgetown Law Journal and numerous others. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of Oklahoma and her law degree from Harvard Law School.

Professor Riley began her career clerking for Chief Judge T. Kern of the Northern District of Oklahoma. She then worked as a litigator at Quinn Emanuel in Los Angeles, specializing in intellectual property litigation. In 2003 she was appointed to her tribe’s Supreme Court, becoming the first woman and youngest Justice of the Supreme Court of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Oklahoma. In 2010 and again in 2016 she was elected by her tribe’s General Council as Chief Justice. She previously served as Co-Chair for the United Nations – Indigenous Peoples’ Partnership Policy Board, with a dedicated mission to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She has worked as an Evidentiary Hearing Officer for the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and currently sits as an Appellate Justice at the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians Court of Appeals and at the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Court of Appeals.

Professor Riley is a member of the American Law Institute and a co-editor of the Cohen’s Handbook on Federal Indian Law. She taught as the Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School in Fall 2015 and co-teaches the Nation Building course at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. You can visit her website at


  • B.A., University of Oklahoma, 1995
  • J.D., Harvard, 1998


  • American Indian Law: Native Nations and the Federal System (with Robert N. Clinton, Carole Goldberg, and Rebecca Tsosie). 7th ed. Lexis (2016).
  • The Indian Civil Rights Act at Forty (edited by Kristen A. Carpenter, Matthew L.M. Fletcher, and Angela R. Riley). UCLA American Indian Studies Center Press (2012).

Selected Articles

  • Decolonizing Indigenous Migration (with Kristen A. Carpenter), 109 California Law Review 63 (2021). Full Text
  • Privatizing the Reservation? (with Kristen Carpenter), 71 Stanford Law Review 791 (2019).
  • Native Nations and the Constitution: An Inquiry into “Extra-Constitutionality”, 130 Harvard Law Review Forum 173 (2017). Full Text
  • Crime and Governance in Indian Country, 63 UCLA Law Review 1564 (2016). Full Text
  • Owning Red: A Theory of Indian (Cultural) Appropriation (with Kristen Carpenter), 94 Texas Law Review 859 (2016). Full Text
  • Supplement to Cohen’Handbook of Federal Indian Law (Treatise), edited by N. Newton (LexisNexis, 2015).
  • Indigenous Peoples and the Jurisgenerative Moment in Human Rights (with K. Carpenter), 102 California Law Review 173 (2014). Full Text
  • The History of Native American Lands and the Supreme Court, 38 Journal of Supreme Court History 369 (2013).
  • Indians and Guns, 100 Georgetown Law Journal 1675 (2012).
  • In Defense of Property (with K. Carpenter & S. Katyal), 118 Yale Law Journal 1022 (2009). Full Text
  • Good (Native) Governance, 107 Columbia Law Review 1049 (2007).
  • (Tribal) Sovereignty and Illiberalism, 95 California Law Review 799 (2007).

Other Publications

  • Tribal Rights, Human Rights (with K. Carpenter), 2013 Michigan State Law Review 293 (2014).
  • Book Review, 60(3) Journal of Legal Education 596 (February 2011). Reviewing Broken Landscape: Indians, Indian Tribes, and the Constitution, by Frank Pommersheim.
  • Book Review, Great Plains Quarterly 424 (Spring 2011). Reviewing Broken Landscape: Indians, Indian Tribes, and the Constitution, by Frank Pommersheim.
  • The Story of Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock, in Indian Law Stories (edited by Philip Frickey, Carole Goldberg, and Kevin Washburn, Foundation Press, 2011).
  • Clarifying Cultural Property (with K. Carpenter & S. Katyal), 17 International Journal of Cultural Property 581-98 (2010).
  • Op-Ed: Sucking the Quileute Dry, NY Times (Feb. 7, 2010).
  • Indigenous Peoples and Intellectual Property Rights, in Intellectual Property and Information Wealth (edited by Peter Yu, Praeger, 2007).
  • Symposium: Tribal Sovereignty in a Post-9/11 World, 82 North Dakota Law Review 953 (2006).
  • “Straight Stealing”: Towards an Indigenous System of Cultural Property Protection, 80 Washington Law Review 69 (2005). Full Text
  • Indian Remains, Human Rights: Reconsidering Entitlement Under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, 34 Columbia Human Rights Law Review 49 (2002).
  • Recovering Collectivity: Group Rights to Intellectual Property In Indigenous Communities, 18 Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal 175 (2000).