Sarah Deer is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma and a professor at the University of Kansas. Her 2015 book, The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America is the culmination of over 25 years of working with survivors and has received several awards, including the Best First Book award from the Native American Indigenous Studies Association. A lawyer by training but an advocate in practice, Deer’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of federal Indian law and victims' rights, using indigenous feminist principles as a framework. Deer is a co-author of four textbooks on tribal law and has been published in a wide variety of law journals, including the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, and the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law. Her work to end violence against Native women has received national awards from the American Bar Association and the Department of Justice. She has testified before Congress on four occasions regarding violence against Native women and was appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder to chair a federal advisory committee on sexual violence in Indian country. Professor Deer was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2014. In 2019, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She currently teaches at the University of Kansas (her alma mater), where she holds a joint appointment in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the School of Public Affairs and Administration. Professor Deer is also the Chief Justice for the Prairie Island Indian Community Court of Appeals.
J.D., University of Kansas School of Law
B.A., Women's Studies, Philosophy, with Honors, University of Kansas
Deer’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of federal Indian law and victims' rights, using indigenous feminist principles as a framework for analysis.
- Indigenous legal studies
- Tribal court jurisdiction
- Tribal court process and procedure
- Tribal appellate courts
- Violence against Native American women
- Federal law reform
- Victims' rights
- Feminist jurisprudence
- Indigenous feminist legal theory
- Mvskoke language
Nagle, K. & Deer, S. (in press). Return to Worcester: Dollar General and the Restoration of Tribal Jurisdiction to Protect Native Women and Children . Harvard Journal of Law and Gender.
Deer, S. (2017). Bystander No More? Improving the Federal Response to Sexual Violence in Indian Country. Utah Law Review, 2017(4), 771-800. http://dc.law.utah.edu/ulr/vol2017/iss4/7/
Deer, S. & Murphy, L. (2017). “Animals May Take Pity on Us”: Using Traditional Tribal Beliefs To Address Animal Abuse and Family Violence Within Tribal Nations . Mitchell Hamline Law Review, 43(4), 703-742.
Deer, S. (2015). The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America , University of Minnesota Press.
Selected Awards & Honors
National Women's Hall of Fame
Spirit of Excellence Award
American Bar Association
Allied Professional Award
United States Department of Justice