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Phillip Dudley ’04 (Norfolk, Mass.) contributed to an on-going study of Native Americans and citizenship rights last semester, taking responsibility for compiling legal and historical research. He worked as an EXCEL Scholar with Deborah A. Rosen, associate professor of history.

“My overall project is a study of Native Americans and the law in early America, from 1600-1880,” she explains. “Chapter topics will include the colonial era debates over the status of Indians, states’ ‘protective’ regulations of Indians, race-based discriminatory statutes, grants of citizenship by judicial decision, and grants of citizenship or voting rights by legislative action.”

Dudley, who is pursuing a double major in history and economics & business, contributed to the chapter on states’ “protective” regulations of Native Americans. He collected judicial opinions dealing with their rights to sell land, make contracts, and sue in court.

“It was very interesting, sometimes shocking, to find out what the rights of Indians actually were,” Dudley says. “Indian law was not the same as state law in most states. Indians weren’t seen as citizens of these states, not even as equals in the court of law.”

In order to find state cases involving Native Americans, Dudley accessed the Lexis-Nexis electronic collection of judicial opinions. Explains Rosen, “The kinds of cases I was looking for were not easy to find, even using keyword searches in the digitized Lexis-Nexis collection. Phillip showed creativity in choosing keywords that would be likely to appear in the kinds of cases I was looking for.”

Dudley would then sift through the many results of his keyword searches to determine cases important to the study. “These early- to mid-19th century cases are not easy to read, yet he was able to decipher them enough to know which cases were relevant and which were not,” notes Rosen. “I still have not finished going through the entire stack of cases he collected, but so far it looks like he did thoughtful research and made some good choices. As I continue my scholarly work over the course of the spring semester, I expect to be incorporating important information from the materials Phillip gathered.”

Dudley appreciated the opportunity to work with Rosen. “She’s very open to different ideas, and she was very helpful along the way,” he says. “I’m looking forward to reading the finished product. I’m very interested to see what Dr. Rosen comes up with, as I think she’ll have found a lot of things most people don’t necessarily know about the topic.”

Interested in pursuing a career in accounting, consulting, or investments, Dudley was initially attracted to the EXCEL Scholars program for the opportunity to conduct historical research. “Since I’m in college, I have a chance to study history more in depth. EXCEL demands a lot more research than I would have done in any class.”

If time permits, Dudley says he would love to participate in future EXCEL research. He also plans on becoming fluent in Spanish and studying abroad for at least one semester.

A graduate of Xaverian Brothers High School, Dudley is a member of Zeta Psi fraternity and the Investment Club.

Categorized in: Academic News