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Trinityz1   Saturday, 07/09/11 12:57:58 AM
Re: Trinityz1 post# 460
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and yet more sad news


Lawyer led ‘revolution’ in American Indian rights

Published: July 7

David H. Getches, 68, a leading American Indian rights lawyer and former dean of the University of Colorado law school, died July 5 at his home in Boulder, Colo. He had pancreatic cancer.

Mr. Getches moved to Colorado in 1970 to become the founding executive director of the Boulder-based Native American Rights Fund. He also served as executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources from 1983 to 1987.

Among American Indian rights cases litigated by Mr. Getches, the 1974 United States v. Washington case is cited by the National Congress of American Indians as the leading case on enforcement of tribal treaty rights. That case involved the fishing rights of Northwest tribes granted under treaties signed in the 1800s.

“David Getches forged a revolution in federal Indian law that led to a new respect for the rights of Indian tribes in courthouses throughout the nation,” said Jefferson Keel, president of the American Indian group. “Mr. Getches will be remembered as a great friend and brother to Native people.”

As a professor at the university, Mr. Getches taught natural resources law, including water, pollution, environmental and American Indian public lands law. Recent academic projects included work on Supreme Court Indian law decision-making, as well as water law involving the Colorado River and indigenous people in Latin America.

Former U.S. attorney Troy Eid, who in private practice specializes in Indian law, said Mr. Getches and Colorado professor Charles Wilkinson forged American Indian law as a discipline of study. Eid called Mr. Getches a “giant of the profession.”

David Harding Getches was born Aug. 17, 1942, in Abington, Pa. He was a 1964 graduate of Occidental College and a 1967 graduate the University of Southern California law school.

He wrote several law books in English and Spanish, and he wrote numerous articles on water, natural resources and American Indian law. He had stepped down as dean of the University of Colorado law school at the end of June to rejoin the faculty.

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