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American Indian Law

American Indian Law research is complex and challenging. This guide covers U.S. statutes, tribal codes, case law, and secondary sources.

Primary Sources

Legal primary sources are either binding --meaning that courts in that jurisdiction must follow the stated rules due to precedent or location-- or nonbinding --meaning that while these sources are binding to other courts in other jurisdictions, they are only persuasive to the current court --for example, laws from the United Kingdom are binding in the United Kingdom but are only persuasive in the United States. 

When performing your legal research, finding all the relevant, binding primary authority that applies to a situation is essential. If the legal issue is novel, you may be required to begin with persuasive authority to generate perspective and possible arguments. For research into American Indian Law, tribal constitutions and codes are great starting places to find the appropriate binding authority. 


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