Professor Matthew L.M. Fletcher, ’97, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as a law fellow.

Fletcher, the Harry Burns Hutchins Collegiate Professor of Law, was one of seven new law fellows and 269 new members across all disciplines recently announced by the academy. Members are chosen based on demonstrated leadership and excellence in their respective fields, which also include government, social sciences, education, business, and communications. Six other University of Michigan professors were also elected.

“With the election of these members, the academy is honoring excellence, innovation, and leadership and recognizing a broad array of stellar accomplishments,” Academy President David W. Oxtoby said. “We hope every new member celebrates this achievement and joins our work advancing the common good.”

Fletcher 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 is an active member of the American Indian judicial system, sitting as the chief justice of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians; as well as a number of other judicial appointments. 

Fletcher’s work has been widely published in books and leading law journals. He is also the primary editor and author of the leading law blog on American Indian law and policy, Turtle Talk.

“It’s a great honor for the academy to recognize my contributions as an Indian law scholar and tribal judge,” Fletcher said. “Like most Native scholars, I just hope to take actions that would make my ancestors proud. They sacrificed everything in hopes of a better future.”

Founded in 1780 by a group that included John Adams and John Hancok, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences has two core functions: First, it honors  “the excellence and leadership of exceptional people from all disciplines and practice” as members. Second, it serves as an independent, multidisciplinary research center to address significant national and international issues. 

“In its earliest days, the academy sought members who would help address issues and opportunities confronting a young nation,” said Nancy C. Andrews of Boston Children’s Hospital, chair of the academy’s board of directors. “We feel a similar urgency and have elected a class that brings diverse expertise to meet the pressing challenges and possibilities that America and the world face today.”