Document Type



This article is a guide to legal research with the specific goal of assisting practitioners. The typical practitioner would be an attorney, but many professionals who work within the arena of Indian and tribal law may not have the formal legal training that attorneys do. The article is a discussion of the resources available to research the law, the issues that often arise in the area, and the approaches to take in applying the resources to the issues. It is not a classic bibliography listing resources (often alphabetically), and is not intended to be comprehensive in the resources mentioned. Acknowledging the rural location of many Indian lands, the article discusses not only the best overall sources for researching Indian law issues, but also attempts to provide suggested alternatives for practitioners who may not have access to commercial databases or nearby law libraries. Part I of the article introduces the reader to the legal topic of the article and also introduces a type of research tool called “Boolean” searching. Part II describes federal Indian law and the treaties, statutes, cases, compacts, and secondary sources that cover this area of law and how to research them. Part III explains tribal law, why this area of law differs from federal Indian law, and why research in this area is equally important. Finally, Part IV states the conclusion and what the reader should have taken away from reading the article.