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Restatement of the Law, The Law of American Indians

Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Michigan State University College of Law

Associate Reporters:
Wenona T. Singel, Michigan State University College of Law 
Kaighn Smith, Jr., Drummond Woodsum, Portland ME

About the Restatement Project

The Restatement of the Law of American Indians (“the Restatement”) is the product of the largest collection of experts in federal Indian law ever assembled, working collaboratively over 10 years. The Restatement experts came from a diversity of experiences, from both public and private law backgrounds, as well as from tribal, state, and federal backgrounds. Lawyers who tended to represent tribal interests engaged with those that tended to represent federal, state, and private interests in opposition to tribes. In a field where disparate groups have rarely met to hash out the governing principles in the field outside of litigation or arms-length negotiations, the Restatement project was a historic grouping.

The goal of the Indian law Restatement, like all restatements, is to clarify, modernize, and assist in the improvement of the law.  The Restatement project reporters and advisers sought to focus on default interpretive rules that limited judicial discretion to select policy preferences over law, instead leaving those policy consequences to tribal, state, and federal policymakers. For the American Law Institute to restate Indian law, which is known more for its ambiguities and complexities than for its cohesion, was an intensely difficult task.

Visit ALI for more information about the project and Final Draft

The Proposed Final Draft contains the entire project: Chapter 1, Federal-Tribal Relations; Chapter 2, Tribal Authority; Chapter 3, State-Tribal Relations; Chapter 4, Tribal Economic Development; Chapter 5, Indian County Criminal Jurisdiction; and Chapter 6, Natural Resources. The membership voted to approve the Proposed Final Draft at the 2021 Annual Meeting, subject to the discussion at the Meeting and editorial prerogative. This material may be cited as representing the Institute’s position until the official text is published. 

The Final Draft may be accessed via the American Law Institute Library on HeinOnline.



American Indian and Alaska Native Documents in the Congressional Serial Set  1817-1899During the 19th century, the United States was engaged in an era of territorial expansion and addition of new states. The government entered into treaties with tribes, conducted wars with tribes, established reservations, relocated tribes, and determined rights to the lands and resources of the indigenous population. The Serial Set provides in-depth, detailed contemporaneous documentation of political, military, and governmental activities related to indigenous peoples of the continental United States and Alaskan territory.

The United States government documents included in this colloection were assembled from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries print collection and scanned at the University of Oklahoma Donald E Pray Law Library. Librarians Marilyn Nicely and Steve Beleu identified titles to scan using Steven L. Johnson’s book, Guide to American Indian Documents in the Congressional Serial Set: 1817-1899. 

American Indian and Alaskan Native Documents in the Congressional Serial Set 1817 - 1899

Web Pages

Sequoyah National Research Center - University of Arkansas Little Rock

The Sequoyah National Research Center (SNRC) provides a collection of varying materials, including a collection of tribal newspapers. The Newsletters of the SNRC reflect the diversity of the materials available and the past and future activities of the Center. 

National Indian Law Library News Blog

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Tribal and First Nation Newspaper Sources

American Indian Newspapers offers a diverse collection of print journalism from Indigenous peoples of the US and Canada. Resources include national periodicals as well as local community news and student publications. This collection is also bi-lingual and features editions in Indigenous-languages, such as Hawaiian, Cherokee and Navajo. Subjects covered include the self-determination era and American Indian Movement (AIM), education, language revitalisation, environmentalism, tribal laws, public health and welfare, and rights and cultural representation from an Indigenous perspective. This resource has been developed with the permission and contribution of the newspaper publishers and Tribal Councils concerned.

Oklahoma Historical Society American Indian Newspapers provides a list of sixty-six newspapers collected by the OHS. The listing also provides information about the Oklahoma locations of the publications. Links to those publications that can be viewed online are also provided.

Oklahoma Native Community - News and Current Awareness Resources

Native Times is an independent, native-owned news source based in Oklahoma. News posts include content written by Native Times contributors as well as Associated Press and other news sources.

Mvskoke Media aims to be the voice of the Mvskoke people by distributing information to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation through its newspaper, radio show, and TV broadcasts as well as graphic design and printing services.

Tahlequah Daily Press Tribal News provides news about tribes in Oklahoma. Because Tahlequah is the home of the Cherokee Nation, the focus of much of the news at this site is on the Cherokee Nation.