Skip to Main Content

United States: legal resources: First peoples & indigenous law in US

Indigenous Peoples in the USA

There are 574 federally recognised tribes of indigenous peoples - American Indians or Alaskan Natives - in North America. In 2010, the US government voiced its support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The same year, US Congress used the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010 (H.R.3326, Sec.8113 (111th Cong., 2009-2010)) to issue an apology to Native Americans for the discriminatory treatment they have received in history.

Official federal government websites

Other useful monitors and commentary

Holders of an Oxford SSO have extensive collection of US primary sources via the following databases:
Note: On Westlaw US you can select Tribal as a "state" jurisdiction to filter searches.

Restatement of the law, the law of American Indians (2021) is available online via both Westlaw and Lexis. It is in print on level 3, at USA 045.
Contents: Foreword -- 1. Federal-tribal relations -- 2. Tribal authority -- 3. State-tribal relations -- 4. Tribal economic development -- 5. Indian country criminal jurisdiction -- 6. Natural resources -- Table of statutes -- Table of cases -- Index.

Holders of an Oxford SSO have extensive collection of US law journals via the following databases:

Specialist ejournals

On Level 2, the floor at which you enter the Law Library, is the current collection of US law books.


Subject searches to use in SOLO

Indians of North America -- Legal status, laws, etc
Indians of North America -- Government relations
Indians of North America -- Politics and government

Self-determination, National -- United States
Tribal government -- Law and legislation -- United States

Indians of North America -- Claims
Indians, Treatment of -- North America -- History

Note: This topic may also be the subject of chapter(s) in books with wider subject matter.
For example Chapter 28 of The Oxford Handbook of Law and Humanities is on Indigenous law in the US. See first link below.

Related Law Bod Guide