Matthew L.M. Fletcher, ’97, is the Harry Burns Hutchins Collegiate Professor of Law at Michigan Law. He teaches and writes in the areas of federal Indian law, American Indian tribal law, Anishinaabe legal and political philosophy, constitutional law, federal courts, and legal ethics. He also sits as the chief justice of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.
Fletcher also sits as an appellate judge for the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, the Colorado River Indian Tribes, the Hoopa Valley Tribe, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians, the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, the Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska, and the Tulalip Tribes. He is a member of the Grand Traverse Band.
He previously taught at the Michigan State University College of Law (2006 to 2022) and the University of North Dakota School of Law (2004 to 2006). He has been a visiting professor at the law schools at the University of Arizona; the University of California, Hastings; the University of Michigan; the University of Montana; and Stanford University. He is a frequent instructor at the Pre-Law Summer Institute for American Indian students.
He was lead reporter for the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law of American Indians, completed in 2022. He has published articles in the California Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Northwestern University Law Review, and many others. His hornbook, Federal Indian Law (West Academic Publishing), was published in 2016 and his concise hornbook, Principles of Federal Indian Law (West Academic Publishing), in 2017. Fletcher co-authored the sixth and seventh editions of Cases and Materials on Federal Indian Law (West Publishing, 2011 and 2017) and both editions of American Indian Tribal Law (Aspen, 2011 and 2020), the only casebook for law students on tribal law. He also authored Ghost Road: Anishinaabe Responses to Indian-Hating (Fulcrum Publishing, 2020); The Return of the Eagle: The Legal History of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (Michigan State University Press, 2012); and American Indian Education: Counternarratives in Racism, Struggle, and the Law (Routledge, 2008). He co-edited The Indian Civil Rights Act at Forty with Kristen A. Carpenter and Angela R. Riley (UCLA American Indian Studies Press, 2012) and Facing the Future: The Indian Child Welfare Act at 30 with Wenona T. Singel and Kathryn E. Fort (Michigan State University Press, 2009). The United States Supreme Court has cited Fletcher’s scholarship and advocacy several times. Finally, Fletcher is the primary editor and author of the leading law blog on American Indian law and policy, Turtle Talk, turtletalk.wordpress.com.
Fletcher worked as a staff attorney for four Indian Tribes: the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, the Hoopa Valley Tribe, the Suquamish Tribe, and the Grand Traverse Band. He previously sat on the judiciaries of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians; he also served as a consultant to the Seneca Nation of Indians Court of Appeals.
He is married to Wenona Singel, a member of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, and they have two sons, Owen and Emmett.
"Lawyering the Indian Child Welfare Act"
- Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility
"Erasing the Thin Blue Line: An Indigenous Proposal"
- Public Interest Law
"Pandemics in Indian Country: The Making of the Tribal State"
- Health Law
"Ma’ii and Nanaboozhoo Fistfight in Heaven"
Participated in ACS Docket Debrief: Haaland v. Brackeen and the Future of Federal Indian Law.