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Background: The Indian Claims Commission was created by the Act of August 13, 1946 (605 Stat. 1060, 25 USC 70a et seq.) to hear claims of 'any Indian tribe, band, or other identifiable group of American Indians' against the United States. The Act provides broad grounds for recovery, including claims based on 'unconscionable consideration' for tribal lands which were taken and 'claims based on fair and honorable dealing not recognized by any existing rule of law or equity.'" (From the Index to Indian Claims Commission Decisions.)

Claims not settled after 1978 were transferred to the Court of Claims.


Commission opinions:

NARF published the 43-volume set, Indian Claims Commission Decisions (1946-1978).

Indexes to the cases and decisions:

  • In 1973, NARF published the Index to the Indian Claims Commission Decisions that covered cases from 1948-1973. It organizes cases by docket number, subject, and alphabetically by tribe.
  • In 1976, it completed a supplement that covered cases from 1973-1976. (Download a copy of the original index and the 1976 supplement.)
  • More recently the library created a database of the remaining cases (1976-1978) and, in 2009, created a final supplement to the original index. (Download the 2009 supplement here.)

Indexes to testimony and expert witnesses:

  • The library has numerous indexes to the decisions and other materials, such as testimony. Click here to see ICC-related materials in the library's catalog.

Briefs and court hearings materials:

These are available through some law school libraries and are known by the following titles:

  • Briefs submitted to the Indian Claims Commission [microform] : including petitions, proposed findings of fact, and answers - New York : Clearwater Pub. Co., 1973-
  • Indian Claims Commission Supplement
  • Indian Claims Commission Expert Testimony (this is the name of a series of testimony materials)
  • Indian Claims Commission Testimony Supplement 1
  • Indian Claims Commission Testimony Supplement 2

Reports by the ICC:

Related materials :

Their day in court : a history of the Indian Claims Commission / H.D. Rosenthal; New York, NY : Garland Publishing Inc., 1990.

Irredeemable America : the Indians' estate and land claims / edited by Imre Sutton. Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press, Institute for Native American Studies, University of New Mexico, 1985.

ICC ethnological reports for various tribes can be found at participating libraries using Worldcat -- search by author (au:United States. Indian Claims Commission) and/or tribe.

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