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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.

Restatements and their uses

Restatements of the Law (Restatements) are a series of treatises that articulate the principles or rules for a specific area of law. The American Law Institute publishes these secondary sources to help clarify areas of law by synthesizing and organizing common law doctrines and statutory rules for a given subject. Restatements contain black letters (statements of the law), comments (explaining the rule, its background, adaption, and application), illustrations or examples, and reporter notes (which discuss the authority of the black letter section). 

Restatements provide a wealth of information and research assistance. The Restatement of the Law of American Indians covers a broad spectrum of topics, from definitions of tribal authority, tribal economic development, criminal jurisdictions, and more. Restatements are a good place to begin investigating specific rules and definitions, while the comments provide helpful examples and further sources to investigate. Restatements are only persuasive authority but carry more weight than other secondary sources.  

Restatement of the Law of American Indians

Restatement of the Law, The Law of American Indians

This Restatement cements the foundational principles of American Indian law. Topics include federal-tribal relations, tribal authority, state-tribal relations, tribal economic development, Indian Country criminal jurisdiction, and natural resources.


Law Reviews and their uses

Law review articles are the general mechanism of exchanging ideas within legal academia. Law review articles often include multiple citations to significant cases, statutes, or other prominent sources. Likewise, law review articles often provide historical or contextual information concerning the paper's topic. Law reviews, like Restatements, are especially helpful for answering specific questions. The University of Oklahoma Law School publishes the American Indian Law Review and is best found using Westlaw, which begins coverage with volume 10, published In 1983. Full coverage began in 1993 with vol. 18 No. 2. Contact your law librarian for help finding older editions.  


American Indian Law Review 

University of Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma College of Law Seal

Description: The American Indian Law Review is a specialized law review devoted exclusively to Indian law, and provides a forum for scholarly writing in the areas of the law that particularly affect American Indians. A distinguishing feature of the Review is to encourage expression of differing viewpoints concerning American Indian legal problems. The goal of the American Indian Law Review is satisfy the void in legal writing in the areas of law that affect American Indians and, collaterally, to assist in the alleviation of the numerous problems that confront American Indians because of their unique relationship with the federal and state governments and their different social and cultural backgrounds. By providing a forum for scholarly writing, the Review will assist in insuring that thorough analysis is given to American Indian legal problems.


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