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Indigenous Peoples of the Americas: History, Culture & Law

A collection with more than 3,800 titles and more than 2.3 million total pages dedicated to indigenous American life and law, inluding treaties, federal statutes, federal case law, tribal codecs, constitutions, and more.

Resources By Type

American Indian Histories and Cultures

This online collection contains a digitized version of the Edward E. Ayer Collection from the Newberry Library, containing manuscripts, artwork, speeches, diaries and historic maps dating from the earliest contact with European settlers up to the mid-twentieth century.

American Indian Movement, 1968-1978

This primary source set from the Digital Public Library of America contains primary documents related to the work of the American Indian Movement, an American Indian advocacy group organized to address issues related to sovereignty, leadership, and treaties.

American Indians of the Pacific Northwest Collection (University of Washington Libraries)

This digital collection of original photographs and documents about the Northwest Coast and Plateau Indian cultures is complemented by essays written by anthropologists, historians, and teachers about both particular tribes and cross-cultural topics.

Bibliography of Native North Americans

This database from EBSCO covers many topics pertaining to native North Americans, including culture, history and daily life. This resource is ideal for researching the contributions, struggles and issues surrounding North America's Indigenous peoples.

Doris Duke Collection

The Duke Collection of American Indian Oral History online provides access to typescripts of interviews (1967-1972) conducted with hundreds of Indians in Oklahoma regarding the histories and cultures of their respective nations and tribes. The collection includes the original tapes on which the interviews were recorded, as well as microfiche copies of the typescripts.

Ethnic NewsWatch

Ethnic NewsWatch is a current resource of full-text newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic and minority press, providing researchers access to essential, often overlooked perspectives, including Arab/Middle Eastern, Hispanic, Jewish, and Native Peoples.

Indian Peoples of the Northern Great Plains

Digitized from the library collections of three of the Montana State University campuses (Billings, Bozeman and Havre), the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, and Little Big Horn College in Crow Agency, Montana, this collection includes photographs, paintings, ledger drawings, documents, serigraphs, and stereographs from 1874 through the 1940s.

Indigenous Governance Database

Launched in September 2012, the free Indigenous Governance Database (IGD) features online educational and informational resources on tribal self-governance and tribal policy reform that foster Native nation building, promote tribal sovereignty, disseminate Indigenous data, encourage tribal leadership development, support the development of capable governing institutions, highlight sustainable economic and community development in Indian Country.

The IGD was first developed by the Native Nations Institute at the University of Arizona, with support from the Bush Foundation, and was primarily designed with Native nation leaders, key decision-makers, employees, citizens, and scholars in mind. IGD account holders can customize a personal resource library and share resources with colleagues.

Indigenous Law Web Archive (Library of Congress)

A digital catalog of Indigenous law resources at the Library of Congress.

Labriola National American Indian Data Center

This collection brings together the current and historical work of Indigenous authors, featuring thousands of books, journals, Native Nation newspapers and primary source materials, such as photographs, oral histories and manuscript collections.

Ojibwe People's Dictionary

This is a searchable, talking Ojibwe-English dictionary that features the voices of Ojibwe speakers and also serves as a gateway into the Ojibwe collections at the Minnesota Historical Society. Along with thousands of audio entries, the collection contains cultural items, photographs, and excerpts from relevant historical documents. Whenever possible, examples of documents in the Ojibwe language are provided.

Rebuilding Indian Country (The National Archives Catalog)

A 1933 film from the Department of the Interior.

Sequoya National Research Center

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Sequoyah National Research Center constitutes the largest assemblage of Native American expression in the world, with a mission to preserve the written word and art of Native Americans.

Stolen Relations: Recovering Stories of Indigenous Enslavement in the Americas

This community based project, housed at Brown University, is a collaborative effort to build a database of enslaved indigenous people throughout time all across the Americas in order to promote greater understanding of the historical circumstances and ongoing trauma of settler colonialism. While currently under construction, the archive hopes to have a public-facing prototype in 2022.

The Indigenous Digital Archive

Contains 500,000 archival documents exploring the history of US government Indian boarding schools in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Early Recognized Treaties with American Indian Nations (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

This is a digitized collection of nine treaties ratified between 1722 and 1805 to complete the 366 treaties included in Charles J. Kappler's Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties.

Indigenous Digital Archive Treaties Explorer

Created by the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in partnership with the US National Archives Office of Innovation and National Archives Foundation, this project presents the 374 Ratified Indian Treaties alongside key historic works that provide context to the agreements made and the histories of shared lands.

Montana Indian Law Portal

Developed for Montana’s Indian Nations, for the citizens of the state, and for educators and students, this portal brings together documents such as tribal court opinions, constitutions, water rights compacts, gaming compacts, fish and game regulations, and codes.

Native American Constitution and Law Digitization Project (University of Oklahoma)

A project between the University of Oklahoma Law Center and the National Indian Law Library to provide access to constitutions, tribal codes, and other legal documents.

Native American Constitutions and Legal Materials (Library of Congress)

The Law Library of Congress collection contains a variety of Native American legal materials. The Law Library holds most of the laws and constitutions from the early 19th century produced by the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole who were forced to leave the Southeast for the Indian Territory after passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830. Some of these documents are in the vernacular languages of the tribes. This collection includes 19th century items and those constitutions and charters drafted after the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act.

Tribal Law (OKLaw)

This page contains information and Tribal codes relating to the 38 Tribal nations of Oklahoma, its 22 tribal courts, and practice and procedure in Oklahoma Tribal court. Also included in this database is the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas.

OKLaw is a joint project with Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc., Oklahoma Indian Legal Services, the Legal Services Corporation and Pro Bono Net.  Its goal is to provide the public with easy internet access to basic legal information and legal resources in Oklahoma.

Tribal Law Exchange Project (University of Idaho)

This project aims to create a nationwide, web-accessible electronic database of tribal court opinions, tribal codes and constitutions, and related legal materials.

Tribal Law Gateway - Native American Rights Fund

This index contains tribal law materials organized alphabetically by tribe.

Tribal Treaties Database (Oklahoma State University)

This database includes agreements between tribal nations and the United States (1778-1886) published in the 1904 work “Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties” (Volume II), compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler. Editorial margin notes are included. Links to Kappler’s original text and digitized treaties held at the National Archives can also be found throughout the site. Finally, a recently updated, comprehensive index complements this work.

U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of the Solicitor - SOLICITORS OPINIONS

These opinions represents the DOI's interpretation of particular laws and give legal guidance to the DOI Secretary and other officials before taking final agency action.

American Indian Law - Research Guides at Harvard Library

Provides guidance on using resources at Harvard Law School Library on researching legal issues relating to Native Americans, Alaska Natives and other peoples indigenous to North America.

American Indian Resource Center (Tulsa City-County Library)

Provides guidance on using resources at Tulsa City-County Library's American Indian Resource Center, one of only two centers in public libraries across the nation that provides cultural, educational and informational resources, activities and services highlighting the American Indian culture.

Annotated Bibliography of Federal and Tribal Law: Print and Internet Sources

This bibliography, authored by Marilyn K. Nicely at the University of Oklahoma Law Library, contains resources on researching federal and tribal law.

Indian & Tribal Law (University of Washington Gallagher Law Library)

Provides resources for researching federal Indian law and Native American tribal law.

Indian Law News Bulletins

Published by the National Indian Law Library, this current awareness service provides succinct and timely information about new developments in Indian law.

Indian Tribal Codes: A Microfiche Collection (1988)

A digital index to the microfiche collection of Indian tribal codes at the Gallagher Law Library.

National Indian Law Library (NILL)

Containing popular resources at the National Indian Law Library of the Native American Rights Fund.

Native American Law (Penn State Dickinson Law School)

Provides guidance on using resources at the Montague Law Library at Dickinson Law School.

Native American Law Center (University of Washington School of Law)

Provides guidance on using resources at the Native American Law Center at the University of Washington School of Law.

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month (ABA)

This presentation from the American Bar Association profiles leaders in the legal profession who are of Native American descent.

Indigenous Peoples Law Interest Group

A division of the American Association of Law Libraries, the Indigenous Peoples Law Interest Group focuses on areas of law and librarianship related to indigenous peoples.

National American Indian Court Judges Association

Established in 1969, NAICJA is a national association comprised of tribal justice personnel & others devoted to supporting and strengthening tribal justice systems through education, information sharing, and advocacy.

National Congress of American Indians

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities.

National Indian Justice Center

Established in 1983 to provide an independent national resource for Native communities and tribal governments, the NIJC delivers legal education, research and technical assistance programs that improve the quality of life for Native communities and the administration of justice in Indian country.

National Native American Heritage Month

In 1990, President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” This website, a collaboration of the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, provides resources related to the commemoration of Native American heritage.

Native American Heritage Month (PBS)

This series of specials from PBS show both the contemporary diversity and long history of Indigenous people across the land we now call the United States. 

Native American Rights Fund (NARF)

Since 1970, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) has provided legal assistance to Indian tribes, organizations, and individuals nationwide who might otherwise have gone without adequate representation. It focuses on applying existing laws and treaties to guarantee that national and state governments live up to their legal obligations.

Office of Tribal Justice (Department of Justice)

Initially formed in 1995, the OTJ is the Department of Justice's principal point of contact to listen to the concerns of Indian Tribes and other parties interested in Indian affairs and to communicate the Department's policies to the Tribes and the public; to promote internal uniformity of Department of Justice policies and litigation positions relating to Indian country; and to coordinate with other Federal agencies and with State and local governments on their initiatives in Indian country.

Related Organizations Series: Indigenous Peoples Law

Compiled by the FCIL Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries, this list contains organizations and resources that focus on indigenous rights, organized by scope—international, United States, and individual U.S. tribes.

Returning Home through Togetherness: Native American Heritage Month Film Collection

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, WORLD Channel presents films rich with voices from the Indigenous community.

Tribal Law and Policy Institute's Speaker Series: Celebrating Our Journey

This webinar celebrates the journeys involved in the 2013 re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which was a significant victory for Native women and the tribal nations that seek to protect them; the implementation of VAWA 2013’s landmark Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction (SDVCJ) provision (see NCAI’s 2018 Five-Year Report); and current VAWA reauthorization efforts to strengthen this initial limited restoration of tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians.

Vision Maker Media Documentaries

The Vision Maker Media Documentaries Collection includes 40 documentary films featuring Native voices from Native producers, created between 1982 and 2012. These films, created by independent Native producers and broadcast on PBS, inspire people to look at the world through Indigenous eyes and encourage youth to embrace their rich culture as part of their identity. The films document the people, society and culture of Native tribes including, but not limited to, the Navajo (Dine), Lakota, Choctaw and various other tribes. Topics include art, music, language and many others.

After One Hundred Winters: In Search of Reconciliation on America's Stolen Lands

After One Hundred Winters confronts the harsh truth that the United States was founded on the violent dispossession of Indigenous people and asks what reconciliation might mean in light of this haunted history. In this timely and urgent book, settler historian Margaret Jacobs tells the stories of the individuals and communities who are working together to heal historical wounds—and reveals how much we have to gain by learning from our history instead of denying it.

American Indian Law Deskbook

American Indian Law Deskbook is a concise, direct, and easy-to-understand handbook on Indian law.

American Indians and the Trouble with Sovereignty: A Turn toward Self-Determination

With tribes and individual Indians increasingly participating in American electoral politics, this study examines the ways in which tribes work together with state and local governments to overcome significant governance challenges. Much scholarship on tribal governance continues to rely on a concept of tribal sovereignty that does not allow for or help structure this type of governance activity. The resulting tension which emerges in both theory and practice from American Indian intergovernmental affairs is illuminated here and the limits of existing theory are confronted. Kessler-Mata presents an argument for tribal sovereignty to be normatively understood and pragmatically pursued through efforts aimed at interdependence, not autonomy. By turning toward theories of federalism and freedom in the republican tradition, the author provides an alternative framework for thinking about the goals and aspirations of tribal self-determination.

Cohen's Handbook of Federal Indian Law

Cohen's Handbook of Federal Indian Law is an encyclopedic treatise written by experts in the field, and provides general overviews to relevant information as well as in-depth study of specific areas within this complex area of federal law. This is an updated and revised edition of what has been referred to as the "bible" of federal Indian law. This publication focuses on the relationship between tribes, the states and the federal government within the context of civil and criminal jurisdiction, as well as areas of resource management and government structure.

Federal Indian Law

This book from West's Hornbook Series is a deep survey of the history and substantive law governing the relations between the three American sovereigns, federal, state, and tribal. Interwoven are issues of federalism, administrative law, constitutional rights, and international relations.

Mastering American Indian Law

This book from Lexis is designed to provide readers with an overview of the field. By framing the important eras of U.S. Indian policy in the Introductory Chapter, the text flows through historical up to contemporary developments in American Indian Law. This book will serve as a useful supplement to classroom instruction covering tribal law, federal Indian law and tribal-state relations.

Native American Issues: A Reference Handbook

Native American Issues focuses on the contemporary political issues surrounding the confinement of native peoples to limited lands in the United States and Canada. Also discussed is the status and powers of native governments and the health, wealth, and education of native peoples. Biographical sketches, a chronology of events, selected legislation, significant court cases, facts and figures, quotations, presidential proclamations, and lists of print and nonprint resources complete this extensive work.

Native Americans and the Law: Native Americans Under Current United States Law

This essay from Lindsay G. Robertson, Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma, explores the intersection of tribal governments with federal law.

Principles of Federal Indian Law

This book from West's Concise Hornbook Series covers the basics of federal Indian law, the relationships between tribal, state, and federal sovereigns, also touching on federalism, agency law, civil rights, and criminal jurisdiction aspects of Indian law. This concise hornbook offers comprehensive coverage of the blackletter law, with statutory, regulatory, and historical context.

Reading American Indian Law: Foundational Principles

The study of American Indian law and policy usually focuses on federal statutes and court decisions, with these sources forming the basis for most textbooks. Virtually ignored is the robust and growing body of scholarly literature analyzing and contextualizing these primary sources. Reading American Indian Law is designed to fill that void. Organized into four parts, this book presents 16 of the most impactful law review articles written during the last three decades. Collectively, these articles explore the core concepts underlying the field: the range of voices including those of tribal governments and tribal courts, the role property has played in federal Indian law, and the misunderstandings between both people and sovereigns that have shaped changes in the law.

Tribal Writers Digital Library

Featuring out-of-print literary efforts of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and First Nations people of Canada, the Native Writers Digital Text Project at the Sequoyah National Research Center brings the works of Native poets and writers to a worldwide audience.

Tribal Justice: 25 Years as a Tribal Appellate Justice

A LibGuide companion to Frank Pommersheim's Tribal Justice: 25 Years as a Tribal Appellate Justice.

Whatever Tribal Precedent There May Be': The (Un)Availability of Tribal Law

Written by Bonnie J. Shucha, Director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law Library, this article explores the costs and benefits of publishing tribal law.