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Indian Law

Background Information

It is recommended that you begin your tribal law research project by finding background information about the tribe’s legal system. This will give you an idea about the types of primary sources you will need to locate: constitutions, treaties, codes, court decisions, and customary or traditional law. Listed below are sources for this type of information.

Tiller’s Guide to Indian Country: Economic Profiles of American Indian Reservations
In addition to economic information on tribes, this guide includes useful information and statistics on land status, government, culture, and history. Available on campus and remotely with ASURITE.

Tribal Court Clearinghouse: Tribal Court Directory 
This freely available website has contact information for tribal courts.

Tribal Leaders Directory
This free resource from the Bureau of Indian Affairs lists the date the tribe was recognized, restored or reaffirmed; criminal jurisdiction; court; organization status/corporate charter; and liquor ordinance with Federal Register.

United States Tribal Courts Directory  
This directory provides state-by-state information on tribal courts including contacts, areas of jurisdiction, and publication information for tribal opinions and codes.

U.S. Census Bureau, American Indian and Alaska Native Data and Links
From the U.S. Census Bureau, a publication of American Indian and Alaskan Native (AIAN) counts, estimates, and statistics at different geographic levels. The site includes AIAN policy guidelines and a handbook for interacting and consulting with federally recognized tribes.

Tribal Constitutions, Codes, and Court Opinions

Indigenous Law Portal - Library of Congress
This resource from the Law Library of Congress brings together materials from the Law Library of Congress as well as links to tribal websites and primary source materials found on the web. Tribal information includes constitutions and codes and can be browsed by region, state, and alphabetically.

Indigenous Law Web Archive - Library of Congress
This collection from the Library of Congress stores past versions of tribal legal websites at different moments in the last few years, and is part of the LOC's effort to complete a comprehensive collection of tribal law. This will help researchers access otherwise rare legal materials regardless of future changes to the live websites.

Statewide Tribal Legislation Database - National Conference of State Legislatures
This web site includes the text of state bills and enacted legislation from 2010-present that affect tribal communities. Information can be accessed by state and by topic.

Tribal Law Gateway - National Indian Law Library
The Tribal Law Gateway is a resource for finding the National Indian Law Library’s most recent copy of a tribal code or constitution. Each federally-recognized tribe is listed in an A-Z table. Additional information includes the presence of the most recent online copy on the Internet and tribal contact information.

Native American Constitution and Law Digitization Project
As a cooperative effort among the University of Oklahoma Law Center, the National Indian Law Library, and Native American tribes, this project provides access to tribal constitutions, tribal codes, and other tribal legal documents.

Northwest Intertribal Court System
The Northwest Intertribal Court System provides an appellate court forum and appellate court opinions for Indian nations based in the Puget Sound region of the Pacific Northwest. This resource is also available in print in the Law Library.

Tribal Court Clearinghouse
The Tribal Court Clearinghouse web site includes tribal codes, constitutions, and court opinions.

American Tribal Law Reporter - Westlaw (Westlaw password required)
This Westlaw database has opinions issued by the tribal, appeals, or supreme courts of American tribes as published in West’s American Tribal Law Reporter. Coverage begins in 1997.

Tribal Constitutions, Acts, & Bylaws - HeinOnline (available on campus and remotely with ASURITE)  
These resources are available through HeinOnline’s Indigenous Peoples of the Americas: History, Culture & Law database

Indian Tribal Codes - HeinOnline (available on campus and remotely with ASURITE)  
Select tribal codes are available through HeinOnline’s Indigenous Peoples of the Americas: History, Culture & Law database.

Indian Law Reporter 
The Indian Law Reporter is a print loose-leaf service, issued monthly since 1974. It reports cases, usually in full-text, from federal, state, and tribal courts, as well as agency decisions. The Reporter is organized into eight sections: United States Supreme Court opinions and proceedings; United States Courts of Appeals opinions; United States District Court opinions; United States Court of Federal Claims; state court opinions; tribal court opinions; and miscellaneous proceedings, including U.S. Tax and Bankruptcy Court decisions, Interior Board of Indian Affairs decisions, and Interior Board of Land Appeals decisions. Each volume has a table of cases and topical index. The reporter is also available on HeinOnline (available on campus and remotely with ASURITE).

Lexis Tribal Materials (Lexis password required)
Lexis has tribal laws from the Blackfeet, Chippewa-Cree, Crow, Fort Belknap, Fort Peck, Northern Cheyenne, and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Westlaw Native American Law Directory (Westlaw password required)
A directory of Native American law materials on Westlaw, including available tribal materials.