Photo: Alton Christensen

Robert A. Williams, Jr.

Law Professor

Robert A. Williams, Jr. is an American lawyer and legal scholar specializing in American Indian law. The 2006 recipient of the University of Arizona Henry and Phyllis Koffler Prize for Outstanding Accomplishments in Public Service, Williams is the founding director of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program at the Rogers School of Law.

Williams was named the first Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School (2003-2004), having previously served there as Bennet Boskey Distinguished Visiting Lecturer of Law.

He is the author of The American Indian in Western Legal Thought: The Discourses of Conquest (1990), which received the Gustavus Meyers Human Rights Center Award as one of the outstanding books published in 1990 on the subject of prejudice in the United States. He has also written Linking Arms Together: American Indian Treaty Visions of Law and Peace, 1600-1800 (1997) and Like a Loaded Weapon: The Rehnquist court, Indian Rights, and the Legal History of Racism in America (2005). He is co-author of Federal Indian Law: Cases and Materials (6th ed., with David Getches and Charles Wilkinson) (2011). His most recent book is: Savage Anxieties: The Invention of Western Civilization (2012).

He has represented tribal groups before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Peoples and served as co-counsel for Floyd Hicks in the United States Supreme Court case, Nevada v. Hicks (2001 term).

Williams has also served as Chief Justice for the Court of Appeals, Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation and as Justice for the Court of Appeals and trial judge pro tem for the Tohono O’odham Nation. Williams was named one of 2011’s “Heroes on the Hill” by Indian Country Today for his work on behalf of the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group before the OAS Inter-American Human Rights Commission.

(Bio excerpted from