Kathryn E. Fort

Kathryn E. Fort
[Hi-Res Photo]
Director, Indian Law Clinic and Adjunct Professor
Law College Building
648 N. Shaw Lane Rm 216K
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300

  • Biography

    Kathryn (Kate) E. Fort is the Director of the Indian Law Clinic at the Michigan State University College of Law. In 2015, she started the Indian Child Welfare Act Appellate Project, which assists tribes in ICWA cases across the country. She is also the author of American Indian Children and the Law, published by Carolina Academic Press. In her role with the Center she teaches the Indian Law Clinic class and traditional classes in federal Indian law, researches and writes on behalf of Center clients, and manages administrative aspects of the Center. Ms. Fort has written articles on laches and land claims and has researched and written extensively on the Indian Child Welfare Act. Her publications include articles in the Harvard Public Health Review, George Mason Law ReviewSaint Louis University Law Journal, and American Indian Law Review. She co-edited Facing the Future: The Indian Child Welfare Act at 30 with Wenona T. Singel and Matthew L.M. Fletcher (Michigan State University Press 2009). She co-edits the popular and influential Indian law blog, TurtleTalk with Matthew Fletcher.

    Ms. Fort graduated magna cum laude in from Michigan State University College of Law with the Certificate in Indigenous Law, and is licensed to practice law in Michigan. She received her B.A. in History with honors from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Courses

    American Indian Children & the Law
    (This course replaced Advanced Topics in Indian Law: Indian Child Welfare Act) A focus on American Indian children and the law, including the implementation, interpretation and understanding of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and other state ICWA laws. ICWA, a federal statute interpreted almost entirely in state courts, applies to all terminations of parental rights if the child involved is an Indian child under the law's definition. Attorneys and social workers need to know when ICWA applies and how the application of ICWA makes for a fundamentally different family law case. In addition, this course will cover tribal law and children, and the role of international law and the rights of American Indian children.

    Indian Law Clinic I
    This course provides students with the opportunity to work the environment of a small law firm dedicated to the practice of indigenous law. Students in the Clinic conduct legal research and write briefs for appellate cases, research legal matters for tribes, and develop policy papers for tribal governments and organizations.

    Indian Law Clinic II
    A continuation of Indian Law Clinic I.

  • Notes
  • Bar Admission(s)

    Michigan, Western District of Michigan, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

  • Publications

    Digital Commons Publications »

    SSRN Author Page »

    Observing Change: The Indian Child Welfare Act and State Courts, 46 N.Y. St. Bar Assc. Family L. Rev. 8 (Spring, 2014)

    The Vanishing Indian Returns: The Supreme Court’s Use of Narrative and Historical Fictions in Federal Indian Law, 57 St. Louis U. L.J. 297 (2013)

    Waves of Education: Tribal-State Court Cooperation and the Indian Child Welfare Act, 47 Tulsa L.Rev. 529 (2012)

    Disruption and Impossibility: The Unfortunate Resolution of the Iroquois Land Claims, 11 Wyo. L. Rev. 375 (2011)

    Law Enforcement and Cooperative Public Safety Agreements, co-authored with Matthew L.M. Fletcher and Wenona T. Singel, 89 Michigan Bar Journal 42 (February, 2010)

    The New Laches: Creating Title Where None Existed, 16 George Mason Law Review 357 (Winter 2009).

    “Channeling Thought”: The Legacy of Legal Fictions from 1823, co-authored with Jen Camden, 33 American Indian Law Review 77 (Spring 2009).

    Facing the Future: The Indian Child Welfare Act at 30, co-editor with Matthew L.M. Fletcher and Wenona T. Singel, Michigan State University Press (2009)

    Beyond Minimum Standards: Federal Requirements and State Interpretations of the Indian Child Welfare Act, 45 Ct. Rev. 26 (2008-2009)

    When the Rules Shift: A Review of the Indian Child Welfare Act, M.C.R. 2.615 and Tribal Court Jurisdiction in Michigan Family Law Cases, 10 Michigan Child Welfare Law Journal 11 (Spring, 2007)

    The (In)Equities of Federal Indian Law, 54 Federal Lawyer 32 (Mar/Apr 2007)