Native American Law Research Guide
This guide includes a selection of legal, governmental, and public policy resources in various formats on Native American law.
This guide was created to assist your research in the Georgetown University Law Library on Native American law. It includes a selection of legal, governmental and public policy resources in various formats on Native American law.
Native American law covers the body of law concerning American Indian tribes and their interactions with federal and state authorities, as well as among themselves. Historically, Native American law has been chiefly influenced and shaped by federal Indian policy. Tribes are generally considered self-governing, independent entities. However, this independence is subject to the power of Congress to regulate the status of tribes.
A distinction worth noting is the fact that "tribal law" deals specifically with the internal law that governs the affairs of each tribe and its members. Sources of tribal law include oral tradition, tribal constitutions and codes, as well as codes borrowed from other sources.
The following search terms are useful when using the library catalog, databases and other online sources: American Indian law, federal Indian law, Indian law, Native American law, tribal law.
Use the following subject headings to locate relevant materials in library catalogs:
- Indians of North America -- Legal Research
- Indians of North America -- Legal Status, Laws, etc
- Indians of North America -- Politics and Government
- Indians of North America -- Law and Legislation
- Tribal Government -- United States
- Indians of North America -- Treaties
- Indian Country (United States Law)
- Federally Recognized Indian Tribes
- Indians of North America -- Claims
Books and Treatises
- American Indian Law Deskbook. Conference of Western Attorneys General. KF8205.A76 2008, also online.
- American Indian Law in a Nutshell. William C. Canby, Jr. KF8205.Z9 C36 2009.
- American Indian Sovereignty and Law: An Annotated Bibliography. Wade Davies & Richmond L. Clow (eds.). KF8201.A1 A44 2009.
- American Indians and the Law. N. Bruce Duthu. KF8210.R32 D88 2008.
- Children, Tribes, and States: Adoption and Custody Conflicts over American Indian Children. Barbara Ann Atwood. KF8210.C45 A98 2010.
- Cohen's Handbook of Federal Indian Law. Nell Jessup Newton (ed.). KF8205.C6 2005, also on Lexis.
- Encyclopedia of United States Indian Policy and Law. KF8205 .E49 2009.
- Handbook of Federal Indian Education Laws. Timothy LaFrance. KF8210.E3 L34 1982.
- Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties. Charles J. Kappler. KF8203 1999 Electronic.
- Indigeneity in the Courtroom: Law, Culture, and the Production of Difference in North American Courts. Jennifer A. Hamilton. KDZ495 .H36 2009.
- Native Americans and Public Policy. Fremont J. Lyden & Lyman H. Legters (eds.). E93 .N33 1992.
- Native Americans and the Criminal Justice System. Jeffrey Ian Ross & Larry Gould (eds.). KF8210.C7 N38 2006.
- Native Americans and Political Participation: A Reference Handbook. Jerry D. Stubben. E98.T77 S78 2006 Electronic.
- Native Americans and the Law: A Dictionary. Gary A. Sokolow. KF8203.6.S66 2000.
- Native Americans, Crime, and Justice. Marianne O. Nielsen & Robert A. Silverman (eds.). E98.C87 N37 1996.
- Readings in American Indian Law: Recalling the Rhythm of Survival. Jo Carrillo (ed.). KF8204.5.R424 1998.
- The Encyclopedia of Native American Legal Tradition. Bruce Elliott Johansen (ed.). KF8204.E53 1998.
Casebooks, Directories, and Related Resources
- American Indian Law: Cases and Commentary. Robert T. Anderson et al. KF8204.5 .A44 2008.
- Cases and Materials on Federal Indian Law. David H. Getches et al. KF8204.5.G47 2005.
- Digest of American Indian Law: Cases and Chronology. H. Barry Holt and Gary Forrester. KF8204.5.H65 1990.
- Indian Claims Commission Decisions. Indian Claims Commission. KF8208.A56 U8 2005 Electronic.
- Indian Gaming Law and Policy. Kathryn R.L. Rand and Steven Andrew Light. KF8210.G35 R36 2006.
- Landmark Indian Law Cases. William S. Hein & Co. KF8204.5.L36 2002.
- Native American Natural Resources Law: Cases and Materials. Judith V. Royster. KF8210.N37 R69 2008.
- On the Drafting of Tribal Constitutions. Felix S. Cohen. KF8221.C64 2006.
- The Rights of Indians and Tribes: The Authoritative ACLU Guide to Indian and Tribal Rights. Stephen L. Pevar. KF8210.C5 P48 2002.
- Tribal Water Rights: Essays in Contemporary Law, Policy and Economics. John E. Thorson, et al. (eds.). KF8210.N37 T75 2006.
- United States Tribal Courts Directory. April Schwartz and Mary Jo B. Hunter. 4th ed. KF8224.C6S39 2011.
General Works on Native American History, Politics, and Culture
- American Indian Constitutional Reform and the Rebuilding of Native Nations. Eric D. Lemont (ed.). KF8221.A44 2006.
- American Indian Nations: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. George Horse Capture et al. (eds.). E98.S67 A43 2007.
- American Indian Politics and the American Political System. David E. Wilkins. E98.T77 W545 2011.
- Contemporary Native American Political Issues. Troy R. Johnson (ed.). E98.P76 C66 1999.
- Documents of Native American Political Development: 1500s to 1933. David E. Wilkins (ed.). E98.T77 D63 2009.
- Enduring Legacies: Native American Treaties and Contemporary Controversies. Bruce E. Johansen (ed.). KF8205.E53 2004.
- Indian Law/Race Law: A Five-Hundred Year History. James E. Falkowski. KDZ480.F35 1992.
- Modern American Indian Leaders: Their Lives and Their Work. Dean Chavers. E89.C43 2007.
- Native America Today: A Guide to Community, Politics and Culture. Barry M. Pritzker. E98.T77 P75 1999.
- Native Voices: American Indian Identity and Resistance. Richard A. Grounds et al. (eds.). E98.E85.N38 2003.
- Social Change and Cultural Continuity Among Native Nations. Duane Champagne. E98.S67 C43 2007.
- The Indian, America's Unfinished Business: Report of the Commission on the Rights, Liberties, and Responsibilities of the American Indian. William A. Brophy & Sophie D. Aberle. E93.C72 2001r.
Journals, Newsletters, and Reporters
- American Indian Law Newsletter. KF8201.A3 A4 (Coverage from 1968-1989).
- American Indian Law Review. K1.M36 (Coverage in print from 1973-2010; also online).
- Indian Law Reporter. KF8201.A3 I5 (Coverage from 1974- ).
- Tribal Law Journal. K24.R53 Electronic (Coverage online 2000- ).
Lexis, Westlaw, and VersusLaw have a wide selection of databases devoted to Native American Law. Below are selected databases covering various resources.
- Administrative Materials and Regulations
- Cases and Court Rules
- Directories and News Sources
- Statutes and Legislative Materials
- Native American People Treaties, Ratified and Unratified NAPTRY
- Tribal Cases
- Federal Cases
- Federal Statutes & Rules
- U.S. Code Annotated FNAM-USCA
- Federal, Administrative & Executive Materials
- Law Reviews, Periodicals, Forms and Practice Materials
- VersusLaw offers free access to law students and contains cases for the following tribal courts:
- Chitimacha Tribal Court (LA)
- Colville Confederated Tribes Court of Appeals (WA)
- Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde (OR)
- Coquille Tribal Court (OR)
- Coushatta Tribal Court (LA)
- Crow Court of Appeals (MT)
- Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (NC)
- Fort McDowell Yavapai Tribal Court (AZ)
- Fort Peck Tribal Court - Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes (MT)
- Hopi Tribal Court (AZ)
- Hualapai Tribal Nation (AZ)
- Makah Tribal Court (WA)
- Mashantucket Pequot (CT)
- Mohegan Tribal Court (CT)
- Mohegan Gaming Disputes Court (CT)
- Navajo Nation Court (AZ)
- Oneida Appeals Commission (WI)
- Passamaquoddy Tribal Court (ME)
- Puyallup Tribal Court of Appeals (WA)
- Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Court (NY)
- Tunica-Biloxi Tribal Court (LA)
- Turtle Mountain Tribal Court (ND)
Tribal Law Resources on the Web
- National Indian Law Library. Provided by the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), a public law library devoted to developing and making accessible a unique collection of Indian law resources. Includes extensive online materials, including a comprehensive Tribal Law Gateway that indexes tribal law materials alphabetically by tribe name. Based in Boulder, Colorado, the Library also offers free research assistance by email.
- Native American Constitution and Law Digitization Project. A cooperative effort by the University of Oklahoma Law Center, the National Indian Law Library (NILL), and Native American tribes providing access to the Constitutions, Tribal Codes, and other legal documents.
- American Indian Law Center, Inc. The AILC focuses on law and public policy. Its Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals functions as a tribal appellate court, which facilitates member tribes' research.
- American Indian Policy Center. The Center aims to provide accurate information about the history and current situation of Native Americans.
- Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior. The Bureau manages approximately 55.7 million acres of land held in trust by the United States on behalf of American Indians, Indian Tribes and Alaska Natives.
- Indian Law Resource Center. The Center is a non-profit and advocacy organization that provides legal assistance to Indian and Alaska Native nations.
- Montana Indian Law. Tribal codes, court decisions, rules and treaties for Native American tribes throughout Montana.
- National American Indian Court Judges Association (NAICJA). Founded in 1969, NAICJA supports the American Indian and Alaska Native justice systems through "education, information sharing, and advocacy."
- National Congress of American Indians. Founded in 1944, the main objective of the organization is "to inform the public and Congress on the governmental rights of American Indians and Alaska Natives.
- National Native American Bar Association (NNABA). Founded in 1973, the NNABA "serves as the national association for Native American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students."
- National Native American Law Enforcement Association (NNALEA). This is a non-profit organization which was formed in 1993 in Washington, D.C. Its mission is "to promote and foster mutual cooperation between American Indian Law Enforcement Officers/Agents/Personnel, their agencies, tribes, private industry and public."
- National Native American Law Students' Association (NNALSA).
- National Tribal Justice Resource Center. The Center is a project of the National American Indian Court Judges Association, and provides opportunities and services for personnel in tribal justice systems and tribal law.
- Native American Rights Fund (NARF). NARF is a non profit organization providing legal assistance technical support to Indian tribes. NARF's headquarters is in Boulder, Colorado and it has branches in Washington, D.C. and Anchorage, Alaska.
- Tribal Court Clearinghouse. A project of the Tribal Law and Policy Institute. This website contains links to numerous federal and native organizations, as well as tribal, federal and state laws.
Created by Yasmin Morais
Updated May 2013 (AJC)
© Georgetown University Law Library. These guides may be used for educational purposes, as long as proper credit is given. These guides may not be sold. Requests to republish or adapt a guide should be directed to the Head of Reference. Proper credit includes the statement: Written by, or adapted from, Georgetown Law Library (current as of .....).