November is American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month and all of this month we have been highlighting resources to learn more about the historical and current issues American Indian and Alaskan Native people are facing. Below we recap those resources.
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November 1990 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations have been issued every year since 1994. Celebrate with us as we explore the contributions and history of the Native people in the United States of America. A Proclamation on National Native American Heritage Month, 2021
Selected Study Aids
Available via the West Academic study aid subscription, Fletcher’s Hornbook on Federal Indian Law 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. This hornbook includes original research and novel analysis of foundational Supreme Court decisions and critical federal statutory schemes – the stories beyond the stories. In addition to delving into the origins and histories of cases and statutes, the hornbook analyzes modern Indian rights settlements, the international and comparative frontiers of Indian law, and the future of the field.
Available via the West Academic study aid subscription, Fletcher’s Principles of Federal Indian Law 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. The origins behind important doctrines of Indian law and critical statutes are explored in detail.
Available via the Lexis OverDrive study aid subscription, Mastering American Indian Law provides 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. In ten Chapters, the book has full discussions of a wide range of topics, such as: Chapter 2 – American Indian Property Law; Chapter 3 – Criminal Jurisdiction in Indian Country; Chapter 4 – Tribal Government, Civil Jurisdiction and Regulation; Chapter 8 – Tribal-State Relations; and Chapter 9 – Sacred Sites and Cultural Property Protection. Throughout the text, explanations of the relevant interaction between tribal governments, the federal government and state governments are included in the various subject areas. In Chapter 10 – International Indigenous Issues and Tribal Nations, the significant evolution of collective rights in international documents is focused upon as these documents may be relevant for tribal governments in relations with the United States.
Margaret D. Jacobs, After One Hundred Winters: In Search of Reconciliation on America’s Stolen Lands (2021) (e-Book)
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.
Available on Westlaw, American Indian Law Deskbook is a concise, direct, and easy-to-understand handbook on Indian law.
Kouslaa T. Kessler-Mata, American Indians and the Trouble with Sovereignty : Structuring Self-determination through Federalism (e-Book)
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.
Reading American Indian Law Foundational Principles (Grant Christensen & Melissa L. Tatum eds., 2020) (e-Book)
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.
Available on Lexis, Cohen’s Federal Indian Law is an encyclopedic treatise on federal Indian law 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 among 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 also includes coverage of: Current topics such as Indian gaming and taxation; History and structure of tribal governments and tribal law; Tribal and individual Indian property rights, including intellectual property rights; Water rights; Hunting, fishing, and gathering rights; Economic development issues; and Government programs. This publication provides the tools to understand the law and to find relevant cases, statutes, regulations, and opinions critical to answering legal questions about federal Indian law.
Native American Issues: A Reference Handbook explores the history, problems, and contemporary issues faced by peoples of Native American heritage. From the Indian Removal Act of 1830 to the “Twenty Points” platform advanced by the American Indian Movement in the 1970s to the massive budget cuts of the 1980s, readers will discover how the well-being of Native Americans has been affected by federal and state policies.
Explore manuscripts, artwork and rare printed books dating from the earliest contact with European settlers right up to photographs and newspapers from the mid-twentieth century. Browse through a wide range of rare and original documents from treaties, speeches and diaries, to historic maps and travel journals.
Bibliography of Native North Americans (BNNA) is a bibliographic database covering all aspects of native North American culture¸ history¸ and life. This resource covers a wide range of topics including archaeology¸ multicultural relations¸ gaming¸ governance¸ legend¸ and literacy. BNNA contains more than 80¸000 citations for books¸ essays¸ journal articles¸ and government documents of the United States and Canada. Dates of coverage for included content range from the sixteenth century to the present.
Ethnic NewsWatch (ENW) 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. The complete collection also includes the module Ethnic NewsWatch: A History™, which provides historical coverage of Native American, African American, and Hispanic American periodicals from 1959-1989. Together, these resources present an unmatched, comprehensive, full-text collection of more than 2.5 million articles from over 340 publications. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of the resources is the inclusion of unique community publications not found in any other database, as well as top scholarly journals on ethnicities and ethnic studies.
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.
Selected Films Videos, Webinars & Presentations
A presentation featuring leaders in activism and the legal profession who are of Native American Heritage.
ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, Status, Realities, Legal Framework and Future of Indigenous Peoples in the US and Canada
Panelists discuss the current status and resiliency of indigenous peoples in the United States and Canada. The panelists address the critical question of how past discriminatory – and even brutal governmental policies – led us to the current status of indigenous peoples today. More importantly, the panelists discuss what steps, laws, and policies can be taken to improve the lives of indigenous peoples in the United States. and Canada. The panelists compare and contrast the history, status, and future of the First Nations People in Canada vs. American Indians and Alaska Natives in the United States. After the panel discussion, the audience will gain a high-level overview of the issues around indigenous populations, which we hope will lead to a desire to learn more.
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. In 2016, Vision Maker Media celebrated its 40th anniversary by collaborating with the American Archive of Public Broadcasting to preserve these films as part of their 40 Years, 40 Films, 40 Weeks campaign. With funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, these 40 films were digitized and preserved in the AAPB. Most of the films are available in the Online Reading Room.
UC students, faculty & staff only. Vision Maker Media’s mission is empowering and engaging Native people to share stories. Access selected Vision Maker Media films through the Alexander Street platform.
UC students, faculty & staff only. Films On Demand is a streaming video service containing educational programs. Many programs from the History Channel, Biography Channel, BBC, PBS and other news channels are included in this collection.
Through dance, family traditions, art, and music, these stories show both the contemporary diversity and long history of Indigenous people across the land we now call the United States. Celebrate the history, culture, and traditions of American Indians and Alaska Natives in a special collection of films and programs.
Celebrating our Journey focuses on the first part of the Tribal Law and Policy Institute’s 25th Anniversary theme of Celebrating our Journey; Honoring our Relatives; and Building a Vision for the Future. This webinar celebrates the journeys involved in the 2013 reauthorization 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. American Indian and Alaska Native women face rates of abuse, murder, and sexual assault higher than any other population in the United States. Statistics gathered by the U.S. Department of Justice and tribal governments demonstrate that non-Indians commit a majority of these violent crimes. Thus, the restoration of tribal criminal jurisdiction over non- Indians is a critical sovereign right that tribal governments can exercise to ensure safety for Native women.
World Channel is devoted to telling stories that humanize complex issues, sharing the best of public media in news, documentaries, and fact-based informational programming that helps promote understanding conflicts, movements and cultures that may be distinct from your own. This November, World Channel, with Vision Maker Media presents films rich with voices from the Indigenous community.
Selected Legal Collections
While treaties between Indigenous peoples and the United States affect virtually every area in the USA, there is as yet no official list of all the treaties. The US National Archives holds 374 of the treaties, where they are known as the Ratified Indian Treaties. Here you can view them for the first time with key historic works that provide context to the agreements made and the histories of our shared lands.
The Law Library of Congress collects and preserves primary law sources of Indigenous nations, which are sovereign governments by treaty with the United States. At the time this collection started, there are 578 tribes and 92 agencies. This archive includes constitutions of a number of sovereign nations, including Navajo Nation, Muscogee Nation, Cherokee Nation, Comanche Nation, Hopi Tribe, etc. and ordinances, Supreme Court papers, court rules and forms for criminal, civil and family courts, and wellness courts. Tribal executive orders, emergency orders, ordinances and legislation are included in this collection as well. Tribes, nations, bands, communities and rancherias do communicate with their citizens by social media and at times when that was the sole source of legal documentation, we have targeted social media sites for capture where possible.
The Law Library of Congress 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. The digital portion of this collection is a work in progress but many of the works have been digitized.