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Native American Law Research Guide

This guide includes a selection of legal, governmental, and public policy resources in various formats on Native American law.


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This guide was created to assist your research in the Georgetown University Law Library on Native American law. It includes a selection of legal, governmental and public policy resources in various formats on Native American law.

Native American law covers the body of law concerning American Indian tribes and their interactions with federal and state authorities, as well as among themselves. Historically, Native American law has been chiefly influenced and shaped by federal Indian policy. Tribes are generally considered self-governing, independent entities. However, this independence is subject to the power of Congress to regulate the status of tribes.

A distinction worth noting is the fact that "tribal law" deals specifically with the internal law that governs the affairs of each tribe and its members. Sources of tribal law include oral tradition, tribal constitutions and codes, as well as codes borrowed from other sources.

The following search terms are useful when using the library catalog, databases and other online sources: American Indian law, federal Indian law, Indian law, Native American law, tribal law.

Use the following subject headings to locate relevant materials in library catalogs: