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Outline of United States federal Indian law and policy


Outline of United States federal Indian law and policy

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to United States federal Indian law and policy:

Law and U.S. public policy related to Native Americans has evolved continuously since the founding of the United States.


  • U.S. Supreme Court cases 1
    • Citizenship 1.1
      • Adoption 1.1.1
      • Tribal 1.1.2
    • Civil rights 1.2
    • Congressional authority 1.3
    • Gambling 1.4
    • Hunting and fishing rights 1.5
    • Jurisdiction 1.6
      • Criminal 1.6.1
      • Federal 1.6.2
      • Over non-Indians 1.6.3
      • State 1.6.4
    • Liquor 1.7
    • Health 1.8
    • Property rights 1.9
      • Allotment 1.9.1
      • Mineral rights 1.9.2
    • Reservations 1.10
    • Statutory and treaty interpretation 1.11
    • Taxation 1.12
      • State 1.12.1
      • Tribal 1.12.2
    • Tribal sovereignty 1.13
  • Other federal court cases 2
  • Legislation 3
  • Executive Orders 4
  • Treaties 5
    • Major treaties 5.1
  • Notable people 6
  • Organizations 7
    • Government 7.1
      • Agencies 7.1.1
    • Nations 7.2
    • Native American advocacy groups and rights organizations 7.3
  • Events and issues 8
  • Literature 9
  • See also 10
  • Notes 11
  • External links 12

U.S. Supreme Court cases




Civil rights

Congressional authority


Hunting and fishing rights




Over non-Indians




Property rights


Mineral rights


Statutory and treaty interpretation




Tribal sovereignty

Other federal court cases


President Andrew Jackson called for an Indian Removal Act in his 1829 speech on the issue.

Executive Orders


Indiana Indian treaties

The federal government was in charge of relations with the Indians, and the procedure was to use the treaty making power of the president and the Senate to make formal arrangements. Over 200 treaties were agreed upon by 1840. Gatlin argues that treaties established a procedure that benefited both parties. The federal government was primarily interested in guaranteeing that Indian lands did not fall into private hands, and that it handled all negotiations with the tribes. These negotiations, says Gatlin, strengthened the tribes sense of unity and leadership. The land sales gave the Indians a steady flow of income, and guarantees of federal financial, medical, and educational aid.[1]

Many of the treaties remain in effect and are of special importance regarding federal recognition of tribal status, hunting and fishing rights, rights to protection of sacred properties, rights to water and minerals, and land claims.[2][3] The federal courts have a long, continuous history of litigation on these issues. The Supreme Court endorsed the procedure, with over 300 decisions making reference to Indian treaties after 1799.[4]

Major treaties

Notable people

The following individuals have played an important role in the evolution of Federal Indian Law and Policy through activism, literature and other methods.


The following organizations have played an important role in the evolution of Federal Indian Law and Policy through activism, lobbying, government oversight and education.



Rocky Mountain Region Homge Blackfeet Agency Crow Agency Fort Belknap Agency Fort Peck Agency Northern Cheyenne Agency Rocky Boy's Agency Wind River Agency


Native American advocacy groups and rights organizations

Events and issues


  • Canby, William C. Jr. (2009). American Indian Law in a Nutshell. Eagan, MN: West Publishing.  
  • Coggins et al, George (2007). Federal Public Land and Resource Law. New York: Foundation Press.  
  • Cohen, Felix S. (2005). Newton, Neil Jessup, ed. Cohen's Handbook Federal Indian Law 2005 Edition. Newark, NJ: LexisNexis.  
  • Duthu, Bruce (2009). American Indians and the Law. New York pp. 91- 115: Penguin Books.  
  • Finkelman, Paul; Garrison, Tim Alan (2008). Encyclopedia of United States Indian Policy and Law. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.  
  • Getches, David H.; Wilkinson, Charles F.; Williams, Robert A. (2004). Cases and Materials on Federal Indian Law (American Casebook Series). Eagan, MN: West Publishing.  
  • Getches et al, David (2005). Federal Indian Law. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing.  
  • Goldberg et al, Carole (2011). Indian Law Stories. New York: Foundation Press.  
  • Hester, Thurman Lee (2001). Political Principles and Indian Sovereignty. Oxford, UK: Routledge.  
  • McCool, Daniel (1987). Command of the Waters: Iron Triangles, Federal Water Development, and Indian Water. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.  
  • Pevar, Stephan E. (2004). The Rights of Indians and Tribes: The Authoritative ACLU Guide to Indian and Tribal Rights. New York: New York University Press.  
  • Pommershiem, Frank (1997). Braid of Feathers: American Indian Law and Contemporary Tribal Life. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.  
  • Prucha, Francis Paul, ed. Documents of United States Indian Policy (3rd ed. 2000)
  • Prucha, Francis Paul. American Indian Treaties: The History of a Political Anomaly (1997) excerpt and text search
  • Prucha, Francis Paul. The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians (abridged edition, 1986)
  • Ruppel, Kristin T. (2007). Unearthing Indian Land: Living with the Legacies of Allotment. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.  
  • Wilkinson, Charles (1988). American Indians, Time, and the Law: Native Societies in a Modern Constitutional Democracy. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.  
  • Wilkinson, Charles (2005). Blood Struggle-The Rise of Modern Indian Nations. New York: W.W. Norton and Company.  
    • Blood Struggle highlights major events and consequences in American Indian history since the Termination Act of 1953.
  • Wilkinson, Charles (1991). Indian Tribes As Sovereign Governments: A Sourcebook on Federal-Tribal History, Law, and Policy. Stockton, CA: American Indian Lawyer.  
  • Wilkins, David (1997). American Indian Sovereignty and the U.S. Supreme Court : The Masking of Justice. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.  
  • Wilkins, David (2011). American Indian Politics and the American Political System. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.  
  • Robert J. McCarthy, The Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Federal Trust Obligation to American Indians, 19 BYU J. PUB. L. 1 (December, 2004).

See also


  1. ^ Jay Gatlin, Private Diplomacy to Private Property: States, Tribes and Nations in the Early National Period," Diplomatic History (1998) 22:1 pp 85-99
  2. ^ Alexandra Harmon, ed., The Power of Promises: Rethinking Indian Treaties in the Pacific Northwest (2008)
  3. ^ Charles E. Cleland, Faith in Paper: The Ethnohistory and Litigation of Upper Great Lakes Indian Treaties (2011) excerpt and text search
  4. ^ Charles D. Bernholz, "American Indian treaties and the Supreme Court: A guide to treaty citations from opinions of the United States Supreme Court," Journal of Government Information (2004) 30#2/3 pp 318-431
  5. ^ "Faculty Profile-James Anaya". Retrieved 2011-05-17. 
  6. ^ Ware, Susan (2005-02-09) [2004]. "C". In Stacy Braukman. Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary, Completing the Twentieth Century ( 
  7. ^ Fluharty, Sterling. Harris, LaDonna Vita Tabbytite (1931-)." Oklahoma Historical Society's Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. (retrieved 16 Sept 2010)
  8. ^ "About AIO". Retrieved 2011-05-19. 

External links

  • American Indian Policy Center
  • National Congress of American Indians: Policy Issues
  • Tribal Court Clearinghouse, Tribal Law and Policy Institute
  • US Department of Justice: Native American Policies
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