Sarah Deer

Professor of Law


J.D., University of Kansas School of Law
B.A., University of Kansas


William Mitchell College of Law: Visiting professor of law, 2008-2009, assistant professor of law, 2009-.

Victim advocacy legal specialist, Tribal Law & Policy Institute, St. Paul.

UCLA: Online instructor of tribal legal studies, UCLA Extension; lecturer in law, UCLA Law School.

Grant program specialist, U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, 1999-2002.

Professional Focus

Professor Deer is a Citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She focuses her legal work on violent crime on Indian reservations. She has co-authored two textbooks on tribal law and several academic articles on Native American women.

Leadership and Service

Appellate Judge, White Earth Nation, 2015. Associate Justice, Prairie Island Court of Appeals, 2013-. Chair, Federal Advisory Committee, the National Coordination Committee on the American Indian/Alaska Native Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Sexual Assault Response Team (AI/AN SANE-SART) Initiative, 2012-. Board Member, ABA Commission on Domestic Violence. Board Member, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence. Report-writer, Amnesty International’s “Maze of Injustice” report; U.S. Department of Justice’s “Sexual Assault in Public Law 280 States” report.

Professor Deer in the news
  • MacArthur Fellow Sarah Deer to deliver keynote address at winter commencement

    Professor Deer, one of the nation’s preeminent scholars on Native American rights, will give the keynote address at winter commencement on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015.
  • William Mitchell Professor Sarah Deer named a 2014 MacArthur Fellow

    Professor Sarah Deer, a national leader in the effort to protect Native women from sexual abuse, has been named a 2014 MacArthur Fellow by the MacArthur Foundation.
  • Mitchell team wins national NALSA moot court competition

    William Mitchell students Ryan McCarthy and Joshua Peterson won the annual National Native American Law Student Association moot court competition.
  • Indian Law program expanding much-needed services

    Mitchell’s highly-regarded Indian Law program has received a major grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The grant of more than $280,000 will allow the program to provide help for Minnesota and Wisconsin Indian tribes and experience for law students.
  • Mitchell teams successfully take on 19th century law at competition

    The topic was one of the most complicated in American law– aboriginal title–but Mitchell students were undaunted, placing four teams in the top 16 at the national Native American Law Students Association’s (NALSA) moot court competition, with one of the Mitchell teams finishing third overall. In the individual competition, Mitchell students took second and third […]
  • Mitchell professor advising Department of Justice on sexual assault issues

    Mitchell Professor Sarah Deer has been named chair of a U.S. Department of Justice federal advisory committee designed to develop protocol for responding to sexual assault in tribal communities. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appointed Deer chair of the Office for Victims of Crime’s “National Coordination Committee on the American Indian/Alaska Native Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Sexual […]
  • U.S.-Dakota War to be focus of symposium at William Mitchell

    One hundred fifty years ago, hundreds of people were killed as Minnesota became a battleground during the six-week U.S. – Dakota War. The war and its historical ramifications will be the subject of a symposium Friday, Oct. 26, in the William Mitchell Auditorium. The all-day symposium will feature speakers and panelists from a variety of […]
  • Two Mitchell students picked for national group executive board

    William Mitchell will be well represented in the National Native American Law Students Association in 2012-2013. Two second-year students, Matt Elias and Veronica Newcomer, were elected to leadership positions at the organization’s recent national conference. Newcomer was elected Area 8 representative. Area 8 includes Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. “I feel […]
  • New Mitchell exhibit explores history and cause of Dakota War

    An exhibit featuring photographs, paintings, and historical documents related to the Dakota War is now on display at William Mitchell College of Law.
  • Watch Professor Sarah Deer at the Amnesty International human rights conference Thursday, Nov. 17

    William Mitchell Professor Sarah Deer will participate in a panel discussion entitled Violence Against Women: Reforming Global Attitudes and Stemming the Tide from 9:20 to 10:40 am during The XX Factor: Advance Women’s Rights. Change the World, a human rights conference presented by Amnesty International and the Ford Foundation Thursday, Nov. 17. The discussion will […]
  • William Mitchell presents Second Annual Indian Law CLE

    The Indian Law Program at William Mitchell College of Law is hosting the Second Annual Indian Law CLE: Hot Topics in Federal Indian Law on Tuesday, Oct. 25 from 8:30 am to 5 pm at William Mitchell. The event will feature presentations by scholars and practitioners dedicated to Indian law. The agenda for the day […]
  • William Mitchell Professor Sarah Deer selected to join the national Defending Childhood Task Force

    The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention announced today that William Mitchell College of Law Professor Sarah Deer was selected to be a member of the Attorney General’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence. The task force will identify promising practices, programming, and community strategies used to prevent […]
  • Professor Sarah Deer testifies before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

    On Thursday, July 14, William Mitchell Professor Sarah Deer, testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. In advance of her testimony, Deer, a Native women’s advocate and member of Amnesty International USA’s Native American and Alaska Native Advisory Council, released the following statement//