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Indian Law: Federal Indian Law


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Tribal Law
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Arizona Tribes
     Tribal Information - Arizona
     Tribal Law for Tribes in Arizona

Federal Indian Law
     The President and Agencies
     The Courts
     Indian Claims Commission
     Indian Policy Documents

Indian Treaties
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     Researching Indian treaties - CALI

International Indigenous Law
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     Key International Documents
     The United Nations
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     ASU International Law Portal

Secondary Sources
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Cultural Resources
     Research Databases
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Indian Gaming
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     Legislative and Regulatory History
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Economic Development
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Indian Water Law
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Indian Energy
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     Law Reviews and Journals


Documents of United States Indian Policy
This is a collection of more than 200 documents, including letters, cases, laws, and regulations that mark significant policy between Indian nations and the federal government. It is available in print in the Law Library and online on campus or remotely with an ASURITE password.



Department of the Interior

Other Federal Agencies

For more information about researching the federal executive branch, see our Federal Agencies and Executive Branch LibGuide


The resources listed below provide information on finding federal legislation concerning American Indians and the related legislative history.

Kappler’s Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties
This compilation has federal Indian laws from 1871-1970. It is available in print at the Law Library, as part of the Oklahoma State University Library digital collection, and on HeinOnline.

American Indian Law - Federal Legislative Histories
This HeinOnline database contains compilations of legislative history documents for major pieces of federal legislation regarding Indian affairs.

Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States
This House of Representatives subcommittee has jurisdiction over House measures relating to the welfare of Native Americans. It oversees legislation on the management of Indian lands in general and special measures relating to claims paid out of Indian funds, matters pertaining to relations between the United States and tribes, and matters related to the federal trust responsibility to Native Americans.

U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs focuses on the unique issues that American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native peoples face. These issues include Indian education, economic development, land management, trust responsibilities, health care, and claims against the United States.


The resources below provide information on finding federal court cases that have decided questions of Indian law.

Federal Indian Law Court Decisions
The Tribal Law and Policy Institute, a Native American operated organization focused on enhancing justice in Indian Country, has provided on its web site links to summaries of Indian law cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court from 1991 to the present.  The Institute’s website also has information concerning Indian law cases currently pending before the Supreme Court. 

Landmark Indian Law Cases
This set has the full text of 53 important U.S. Supreme Court cases and is indexed by subject matter. It is available in print in the Law Library and on HeinOnline.

Federal Native American Law - Westlaw
This Westlaw database contains cases that relate to Native Americans from the U.S. Supreme Court, federal courts of appeals, federal district courts, bankruptcy courts, Court of Federal Claims, U.S. Tax Court, military courts, and other related federal and territorial courts.

Digest of American Indian Law: Cases and Chronology
This Indian law case digest is arranged by topic, with cases presented in a case brief format. It includes a chronology of federal Indian policy from 1492-1989. It is available in print in the Law Library and on HeinOnline.

Indian Territory Reports
This set has cases determined in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Indian Territory from 1900-1909. It is available in print in the Law Library and on HeinOnline.

Documents relating to the Cobell Litigation, a class-action lawsuit against the United States alleging mismanagement of Indian trust funds.

For more information on researching federal court opinions, please see our LibGuides on federal court decisions and the U.S. Supreme Court.


The Indian Claims Commission was a body established by Congress in 1946 to hear claims of American Indians against the United States, including claims for taken tribal land. The Commission decided claims from 1948 until 1978.

Indian Claims Commission Decisions
The Indian Claims Commission operated from 1948-1978 and heard claims from Native American tribes and other groups against the United States. Decisions of the Commission are available online from the Oklahoma State University Library digital collection and on HeinOnline. For claims decided prior to the creation of the Commission in 1946 and subsequent to its dissolution in 1978, see:

ProQuest Indian Claims Insight
This ProQuest database includes claims presented to Congress and/or brought before the Court of Claims before 1948, Indian Claims Commission documents for the years 1948-1978 including briefs, docket books, decisions, expert testimony, oral transcripts, and for the years post-1978 claims brought before the US Court of Claims (through 1982) and US Court of Federal Claims (through 2006), documents related to post-2006 settlement of claims, legislative histories and congressional publications directly related to Indian claims including Congressional publications indexed by docket numbers, important Supreme Court decisions, and maps. It is available on campus and remotely with an ASURITE password.