This guide will help you get started with your research on legal issues relating to Native Americans, Alaska Natives and other peoples indigenous to North America. You may also want to look at our Indigenous People's Rights guide as well.
These Library of Congress Subject Headings can be used in HOLLIS to identify works on these topics:
Examples using name of a specific tribe (tip: try using this format for other tribes as well):
The United States government has entered into a wide array of treaties and agreements with various Native American Tribes and finding all of these materials can be complicated. The following sources collect primary documents and other information pertaining to these agreements.
Contains most, but not all, U.S. laws about Indians.
Kappler Report (requires Westlaw password)
Several volumes contain the early statutes:
Free online Kappler access: Oklahoma State University.
Cobell v. Kempthorne, No. 1:96-cv-01285 (D.D.C., filed June 10, 1996).
Cobell v. Norton was filed on June 10, 1996, in U.S. District Court as a class-action lawsuit against the Secretary of the Interior, the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, and the Secretary of the Treasury, "to force the federal government to account for billions of dollars belonging to approximately 500,000 American Indians and their heirs, and held in trust since the late 19th century."
Indian Trust. Comprehensive site with case overview, chronology, court orders, and plaintiff's filings.
U.S. Dept. of Justice. Defendant's filings, court orders, some transcripts of hearings.
Indianz.com News about Cobell.
Tribal Court Clearinghouse makes the VersusLaw opinions database publicly available for simple keyword searching or for browsing by topic.
Indian Law Reporter: Covers federal and state cases as well as tribal decisions.
The Harvard Law School Library has case reporters for several tribes.
To find the decisions of a specific tribal court, do an Author search on HOLLIS, using the name of the tribe.
The National Indian Law Library (NILL) serves both the Native American Rights Fund and the public. The Tribal Law Gateway is a portal to the laws of federally-recognized tribes, Alaska Native villages, and pueblos in the United States. It directs researchers to the hundreds of codes and constitutions held by NILL and to other tribal law documents both in the NILL collection and elsewhere.
Native American Constitution and Law Digitization Project
A project of the University of Oklahoma and the and the National Indian Law Library of the Native American Rights Fund.
Indian Reorganization Act Era Constitutions and Charters
Constitutions, corporate charters, and bylaws created in the 1930’s and 1940’s by about 370 tribes, communities, and villages.
The Harvard Law School Library has many tribal codes in print and on microform
A Bibliography of the Constitutions and Laws of the American Indians. Harvard University Press, 1947.
To find the code of a specific tribe, do an Author search on HOLLIS using the name of the tribe.
SYMPOSIA ON FEDERAL INDIAN LAW
Several law journals sponsor regular conferences and symposia on topics in Indian law and publish the proceedings. A few of the journals are:
Arizona Law Review
Arizona State Law Journal
Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy
South Dakota Law Review
Tulsa Law Review
University of Detroit Mercy Law Review
The proceedings are easy to find using LegalTrac/Legal Resource Index:
American Indian Constitutional Reform and the Rebuilding of Native Nations, edited by Eric D. Lemont. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006.
American Indian Law Deskbook. 3rd ed. Boulder: University of Colorado Press, 2008.
American Indian Law in a Nutshell, by William C. Canby, Jr. 4th ed. Thomson/West, 2009.
American Indian Tribal Governments, by Sharon O’Brien. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989.
American Indians and the Law, by N. Bruce Duthu. New York: Viking, 2008.
Captured Justice: Native Nations and Public Law 280, by Duane Champagne and Carole Goldberg. Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 2012.
The Cultivation of Resentment: Treaty Rights and the New Right, by Jeffrey R. Dudas. Stanford, Cal: Stanford University Press, 2008.
Handbook of Federal Indian Law: with Reference Tables and Index, by Felix S. Cohen. [4th printing] U. S. G. P .O. 1945. [Online]
The Indian Civil Rights Act at Forty, edited by Kristen A. Carpenter, Matthew L.M. Fletcher, and Angela R. Riley. Los Angeles: UCLA American Indian Studies Center, 2012.
Indian Tribes as Sovereign Governments: A Sourcebook on Federal-Tribal History, Law, and Policy, by Charles Wilkinson & the American Indian Resources Institute. 2nd ed. Oakland, Cal.: American Indian Lawyer Training Program, 2004.
Introduction to Tribal Legal Studies, by Justin B. Richland and Sarah Deer. Walnut Creek, Cal.: AltaMira Press, 2010.
Modern American Indian Tribal Government and Politics, by Howard Meredith. Tsaile, Ariz.: Navajo Community College Press, 1993.
Native Americans: Rights, Laws, and Legislative Developments, edited by Charles P. Townsend. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2008.
Negotiated Sovereignty: Working to Improve Tribal-State Relations, by Jeffrey S. Ashley and Secody J. Hubbard. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2004.
On the Drafting of Tribal Constitutions, by Felix S. Cohen, edited by David E. Wilkins. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2006.
The Rights of Indians and Tribes: The Authoritative ACLU Guide to Indian and Tribal Rights, by Stephen L. Pevar. 3rd ed. Southern Illinois University Press, 2004.
United States. Dept. of the Interior. Indian Division.
Records of the Indian Division, Office of the Secretary of the Interior [microform]: Special Files, 1848-1907.
Chat with us! Chat with a librarian.
Contact Historical & Special Collections at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet with Us Schedule an online consult with a Librarian
Hours Library Hours
Text Ask a Librarian, 617-702-2728