Federal Indian Law Resources

Basic Indian Law Research Tips -- Part I: Federal Indian Law (2005) (National Indian Law Library) March 2008 update to an article originally written in The Colorado Lawyer in 2005. Published as part of the Legal Research Corner, a project of the Colorado Association of Law Libraries (CoALL).

The second part of this article series was Basic Indian Law Research Tips -- Part II: Tribal Law.

Researching Native American Law: Print and Online Resources for Federal Indian Law and Tribal Law A research guide maintained by the University of Oklahoma Law Library.

Findlaw Guides Under "law topic legal guide" one can select "native peoples law" for short guides to Native American law topics.

Guide to Law Online - United States: Native American Peoples (Library of Congress) Links to texts, "commentary" publications, and agencies.

How to Build a Tribal Legal History (Created by Nancy Carol Carter. Professor of Law and Director of the Pardee Legal Research Center, University of San Diego School of Law. Hosted on the NILL website.) Describes a step-by-step process for finding the documents needed to build a tribal legal history. At each of the five steps, researchers are guided to the most authoritative electronic and print sources, offering alternative sources when available.

Papers on American Indian Law (Moriset, Schlosser, Ayer & Jozwiak law firm) Offers papers on a variety of Indian law topics.

Project on the Judiciary (NCAI and NARF) The Project's primary goal is to ensure that the federal judiciary is composed of individuals who understand the unique legal status of Indian tribes and will approach Indian issues from an unbiased perspective.

Indian Law Portals

Commercial web sites with free resources:


Online Books & Treatises

Handbook of Federal Indian Law - (Native American Constitution and Law Digitization Project, University of Oklahoma Law Library). By Felix S. Cohen (1945 edition).

Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties. - (Oklahoma State University) - The complete 7 volume set. Includes treaties and federal laws passed relating to Native Americans through January 13, 1971. Volume II is the treaties and executive orders volume. See also United States Statutes at Large in the "Federal Laws" resources web page.

Problem of Indian Administration: Meriam Report (1921)

Finding Case Law Related to Native American Issues

Indian Law News Bulletins

Sign up to receive free Indian Law news bulletins from NILL.

Also, use the bulletin's search engine to search for case names or topics. Find relevant cases going back 10+ years.

Tribal Supreme Court Project (Native American Rights Fund) Includes selected case dockets and documents related to Indian law.

Tribal Court Clearinghouse Summaries of Supreme Court decisions in Indian Law cases back to 1991, with links to the full text of decisions.

Seminal U.S. Supreme Court Cases Regarding Federal Indian Law (Wisconsin Judicare's Indian Law Office). Links to current and historical opinions -- 1831 to present.

Supreme Court Review (Native American Constitution and Law Digitization Project, University of Oklahoma Law Library). Status of Native American cases before the U.S. Supreme Court 1997 - present. 

Book: LandmarkIndian Law Cases edited by the National Indian Law Library and published by W.S. Hein.

Indian Claims Commission Materials (National Indian Law Library). The Indian Claims Commission was created in 1946 to hear claims of 'any Indian tribe, band, or other identifiable group of American Indians' against the United States. aims not settled after 1978 were transferred to the Court of Claims.

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Search the online catalog

Go to the Online Catalog

Find guides, manuals and handbooks on specific topics by searching for (handbook OR manual OR guide OR nutshell).

Often-used books at the library:

American Indian law deskbook / Conference of Western Attorneys General.

American Indian law in a nutshell / by William C. Canby, Jr.

Cases and materials on federal Indian law / by David H. Getches, Charles F. Wilkinson, Robert A. Williams, Jr.

Cohen's handbook of federal Indian law.

The rights of Indians and tribes / by Stephen L. Pevar.