“Indians and the Land”: An uneasy history

Rod Smolla

GREENVILLE, S.C.—Furman University president Rod Smolla, one of the nation’s top constitutional scholars, will discuss the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, “South Carolina v. Catawba Indian Tribe, Inc. ” Tuesday, April 16 at 7 p.m. at the Upcountry History Museum-Furman.

His lecture is free and open to the public.

“The Indians and the Land: South Carolina v. Catawba Indian Tribe, Inc., and the Uneasy History of Indians and the Constitution” is Smolla’s final lecture in a series about legal cases in South Carolina that led to landmark decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Before the arrival of Europeans, the Catawba Indians occupied much of what is now North and South Carolina. In 1760 and 1763 they were driven by repeated encroachments on their lands to accept treaties with the King of England.

More than two centuries later in 1986, the Supreme Court interpreted the 1763 “Treaty of Fort Augusta,” determining whether the Catawba Indians or the State of South Carolina owned a tract of land that the Catawba Indians claimed was rightfully theirs. Smolla will use the case to explore the history of American Indian law and policy, from Colonial times to the present.

Smolla is nationally recognized as a scholar, teacher, advocate and writer, and is one of America’s foremost experts on issues relating to freedom of speech, academic freedom and freedom of the press.  He holds degree from Yale University and Duke University Law School.

Prior to coming to Furman, Smolla served as dean of the law schools at Washington and Lee and the University of Richmond.  He has also been Director of the Institute of Bill of Rights Law at the College of William & Mary.

During his legal career, Smolla has presented arguments in state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.  He is the author of several books, including Free Speech in an Open Society and Jerry Falwell v. Larry Flynt: The First Amendment on Trial.  His most recent book, The Constitution Goes to College, describes the constitutional principles and ideas that have shaped American higher education.

For more information, visit the “Carolina and the Constitution” online or contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.