Outline of United States federal Indian law and policy

Outline of 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. This outline lists notable people, organizations, events, legislation, treaties, court cases and literature related to United States Federal Indian Law and Policy.


U.S. Supreme Court cases

Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg




Civil Rights

Congressional Authority

  • Ex parte Joins, 191 U.S. 93 (1903)
  • White Mountain Apache Tribe v. Bracker, 448 U.S. 136 (1980)
  • California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, 480 U.S. 202 (1987)
  • South Dakota v. Bourland, 508 U.S. 679 (1993)
  • United States v. Lara, 541 U.S. 193 (2004)


  • California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, 480 U.S. 202 (1987)

Hunting and Fishing Rights




  • United States v. Rogers, 45 U.S. (4 How.) 567 (1846)
  • Ex parte Crow Dog, 109 U.S. 556 (1883)
  • National Farmers Union Ins. Cos. v. Crow Tribe, 468 U.S. 1315 (1984)
  • United States v. Lara, 541 U.S. 193 (2004)

Over Non-Indians

  • Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, 435 U.S. 191 (1978)
  • New Mexico v. Mescalero Apache Tribe, 462 U.S. 324 (1983)
  • National Farmers Union Ins. Cos. v. Crow Tribe, 468 U.S. 1315 (1984)
  • Iowa Mutual Insurance Co. v. LaPlante, 480 U.S. 9 (1987)
  • California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, 480 U.S. 202 (1987)
  • Duro v. Reina, 495 U.S. 676 (1990)
  • Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land and Cattle Co., Inc., ___ U.S. ___, 128 S.Ct. 2709 (2008)


  • Washington v. Confederated Bands and Tribes of the Yakima Indian Nation, 439 U.S. 463 (1979)
  • White Mountain Apache Tribe v. Bracker, 448 U.S. 136 (1980)
  • Rice v. Rehner, 463 U.S. 713 (1983)
  • Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold Reservation v. Wold Engineering, P. C., 467 U.S. 138 (1984)
  • Iowa Mutual Insurance Co. v. LaPlante, 480 U.S. 9 (1987)
  • California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, 480 U.S. 202 (1987)


  • Rice v. Rehner, 463 U.S. 713 (1983)


Property Rights


  • Brendale v. Confederated Yakima Indian Nation, 492 U.S. 408 (1989)
  • Yakima v. Confederated Tribes, 502 U.S. 251 (1992)
  • Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land and Cattle Co., Inc., ___ U.S. ___, 128 S.Ct. 2709 (2008)
  • United States v. Mitchell, 463 U.S. 206 (1983)

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

  • Executive Order 13007, 1996, Indian Sacred Sites [Clinton]
  • Executive Order 13336, 2004, American Indian and Alaska Native Education [GW Bush]
  • Executive Order 13096, 1998, American Indian and Alaska Native Education [Clinton]
  • Executive Order 13270, 2002, Tribal College Endorsement [GW Bush]
  • Executive Order 13175, 2000, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments [Clinton]
  • Executive Order 13084, 1998, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments [Clinton]
  • Executive Order 13158, 2000, Marine Protected Areas [Clinton]
  • Executive Order 13021, 1996, Tribal Colleges and Universities [Clinton]
  • Executive Order 13107, 1998, Implementation of Human Rights Treaties [Clinton]


Indiana Indian treaties

Notable people

Vine Deloria, Jr.

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

  • Hank Adams (Fort Peck Assiniboine-Sioux), Native American rights activist
  • James Anaya is the American James J. Lenoir Professor of Human Rights Law and Policy at the University of Arizona's James E. Rogers College of Law.[1]
  • Clyde Bellecourt (White Earth Ojibwe), co-founder of American Indian Movement
  • Vernon Bellecourt (White Earth Ojibwe), co-founder of American Indian Movement
  • Mary Brave Bird (Brulé Lakota), author and activist
  • Ed Castillo (Luiseño-Cahuilla), Native American activist who participated in the American Indian occupation of Alcatraz in 1969.
  • Ward Churchill, American scholar, author, and political activist.
  • Felix S. Cohen, American lawyer and scholar who made a lasting mark on legal philosophy and fundamentally shaped federal Indian law and policy.
  • John Collier, American social reformer and Native American advocate.
  • Lyda Conley (Wyandot, lawyer and the first woman admitted to the Kansas bar, who fought to retain tribal control of the Wyandot National Burying Ground
  • Elizabeth Cook-Lynn (Crow Creek Lakota), editor, essayist, poet, novelist, and academic.
  • Lucy Covington (Colville), activist for Native American emancipation.[2]
  • Mary Dann and Carrie Dann (Western Shoshone) were spiritual leaders, ranchers, and cultural, spiritual rights and land rights activists.
  • Joe DeLaCruz (Quinault), Native American leader in Washington, U.S., president for 22 years of the Quinault Tribe of the Quinault Reservation.
  • Vine Deloria, Jr. (Yankton Dakota-Standing Rock Nakota, 1993–2005) was an American Indian author, theologian, historian, and activist.
  • Deskaheh (Cayuga, 1873–1925), Haudenosaunee statesman noted for his persistent efforts to get recognition for his people.
  • John EchoHawk (Pawnee), Native American attorney, founder of the Native American Rights Fund, and a leading member of the Native American self-determination movement.
  • Larry EchoHawk (Pawnee), head of the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs, Attorney General of Idaho from 1991 to 1995.
  • Adam Fortunate Eagle (Red Lake Ojibwe),Native American activist and was the principal organizer of the 1969-71 occupation of Alcatraz Island by "Indians of All Tribes."
  • Kalyn Free (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), American attorney and former political candidate
  • Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne–Hodulgee Muscogee) is a policy maker, author, legal activist for American Indian rights, and founder of the Morning Star Institute
  • LaDonna Harris (Comanche), activist, founder of Americans for Indian Opportunity, and US vice-presidential candidate.[3]
  • Thomasina Jordan (Wampanoag Nation), fought for the federal recognition of Virginian Indian tribes and served as chairwoman of the Virginia Council on Indians.
  • Ronnie Lupe (White Mountain Apache), chairman of the White Mountain Apache Tribe, land and water rights, endangered species, and tribal sovereignty activist
  • Oren Lyons (Seneca-Onondaga), faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Iroquois Confederacy, Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth, negotiator with national-states on behalf of indigenous nations.
  • Janet McCloud (Tulalip), cofounder of Women of All Red Nations (WARN) and Indigenous Women's Network, advocate for fishing and other treaty rights
  • D'Arcy McNickle (Salish-Kootenai, 1904–1977), educational reformer, instrumental in drafting the "Declaration of Indian Purpose" for the 1961 American Indian Chicago Conference, co-founder of the National Congress of American Indians
  • Wilma Mankiller (Cherokee Nation), community organizer, the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.
  • Tina Manning (Duck Valley Shoshone-Paiute, d. 1979), water rights activist and wife of John Trudell
  • Russell Means (Oglala Lakota, b. 1939), member of AIM, actor
  • Carlos Montezuma (Yavapai-Apache), founding member of the Society of American Indians and outspoken opponent of the BIA
  • Glenn T. Morris, American academic and Native American activist.
  • Richard Oakes (activist), Mohawk Native American activist who promoted the fundamental idea that Native peoples have a right to sovereignty, justice, respect and control over their own destinies.
  • William Paul (attorney), American attorney, legislator, and political activist from the Tlingit nation of southeastern Alaska.
  • Leonard Peltier, activist and member of the American Indian Movement (AIM).
  • Simon Pokagon, member of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, author, and Native American advocate.
  • Robert Robideau, American Indian activist.
  • Katherine Siva Saubel, Native American scholar, educator, tribal leader, author, and activist committed to preserving Cahuilla history, culture and language.
  • Redbird Smith, Cherokee traditionalist and political activist.
  • Standing Bear (Ponca, ca. 1834–1908), chief who successfully argued in US District Court case establishing the right of habeas corpus for Native Americans
  • Ralph W. Sturges, American Mohegan tribal chief who helped gain federal recognition for the Mohegan people of Connecticut in 1994.
  • JoAnn Tall (Oglala Lakota), environmental and anti-nuclear activist, co-founder of the Native Resource Coalition
  • Melissa L. Tatum, Research Professor of Law and Associate Director of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program at the University of Arizona's James E. Rogers College of Law
  • Charlene Teters (Spokane), artist, educator, editor, and founding boardmember of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media
  • Mel Thom (Walker River Paiute), cofounder of National Indian Youth Council and president of the Southwest Regional Indian Youth Council
  • Susette LaFlesche Tibbles (Omaha-Ponca-Iowa), author and international lecturer about Native American rights and reservation conditions.
  • Thomas Tibbles, journalist and author from Omaha, Nebraska, who became an activist for Native American rights in the United States during the late 19th century and married Susette LaFlesche Tibbles.
  • Catherine Troeh (Chinook), editor, co-founder of American Indian Women's Service League and only woman to serve on the Chinook Tribal Council
  • John Trudell (Santee Dakota), author, poet, actor, musician, and former chairman of the American Indian Movement.
  • Asiba Tupahache, Matinecoc Nation Native American activist from New York.
  • Clyde Warrior, activist for Native American civil rights.
  • Kevin K. Washburn, former federal prosecutor, a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, and the General Counsel of the National Indian Gaming Commission.
  • Charmaine White Face (Oglala Lakota), spokesperson for the Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council and coordinator of the Defenders of the Black Hills, which works toward the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868 being enforced. She works in language preservation, land reclamation, and international indigenous human rights.
  • Bernie Whitebear (Colville), American Indian activist, a co-founder of the Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB), the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, and the Daybreak Star Cultural Center.
  • Robert A. Williams, Jr., an American lawyer who is a notable author and legal scholar in the field of Federal Indian Law, International Law and Indigenous Peoples Rights, and Critical Race and Post Colonial Theory.
  • Sarah Winnemucca (Northern Paiute, 1844–1891), author and lecturer who educated non-natives about conditions in Indian Country and founded a school for native children
  • Zitkala-Sa (Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, Yankton Dakota, 1876–1938), political writer and educator, religious freedom activist


Bureau of indian affairs seal n11288.gif

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 in the United States

Events and issues


  • Documents of United States Indian Policy. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 1990. ISBN 0803287267. 
  • Canby, William C. Jr. (2009). American Indian Law in a Nutshell. Eagan, MN: West Publishing. ISBN 9780314195197. 
  • Coggins et al, George (2007). Federal Public Land and Resource Law. New York: Foundation Press. ISBN 9781599411637. 
  • Cohen, Felix S. (2005). Newton, Neil Jessup. ed. Cohen's Handbook Federal Indian Law 2005 Edition. Newark, NJ: LexisNexis. ISBN 9780327164449. 
  • Deloria, Vine Jr.; Clifford M. Lytle (1983). American Indians, American Justice. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. ISBN 9780292738348. 
  • Duthu, Bruce (2009). American Indians and the Law. New York pp. 91- 115: Penguin Books. ISBN 9780143114789. 
  • Finkelman, Paul; Garrison, Tim Alan (2008). Encyclopedia of United States Indian Policy and Law. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN 1933116986. 
  • Getches, David H.; Wilkinson, Charles F., Williams, Robert A. (2004). Cases and Materials on Federal Indian Law (American Casebook Series). Eagan, MN: West Publishing. ISBN 0314144226. 
  • Getches et al, David (2005). Federal Indian Law. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing. ISBN 0314144226. 
  • Goldberg et al, Carole (2011). Indian Law Stories. New York: Foundation Press. ISBN 9781599417295. 
  • Hester, Thurman Lee (2001). Political Principles and Indian Sovereignty. Oxford, UK: Routledge. ISBN 0815340230. 
  • McCool, Daniel (1987). Command of the Waters: Iron Triangles, Federal Water Development, and Indian Water. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press. ISBN 0520058461. 
  • 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. ISBN 0814767184. 
  • Pommershiem, Frank (1997). Braid of Feathers: American Indian Law and Contemporary Tribal Life. Berkley, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 0520208943. 
  • Ruppel, Kristin T. (2007). Unearthing Indian Land: Living with the Legacies of Allotment. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press. ISBN 0816527113. 
  • Wilkinson, Charles (1988). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300041361. 
  • Wilkinson, Charles (2005). Blood Struggle-The Rise of Modern Indian Nations. New York: W.W. Norton and Company. ISBN 0393051498. 
    • 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. ISBN 0939890070. 
  • Wilkins, David (1997). American Indian Sovereignty and the U.S. Supreme Court : The Masking of Justice. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0292791097. 
  • Wilkins, David (2011). American Indian Politics and the American Political System. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9871442203884. 

See also


  1. ^ "Faculty Profile-James Anaya". http://www.law.arizona.edu/faculty/getprofile.cfm?facultyid=31. Retrieved 2011-05-17. 
  2. ^ Ware, Susan (2005-02-09) [2004]. "C". In Stacy Braukman (Google Book Search). Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary, Completing the Twentieth Century. Notable American Women. 5. New York, NY: Harvard University Press. pp. 137–138. ISBN 978-0674014886. http://books.google.com/books?id=WSaMu4F06AQC&printsec=frontcover&vq=covington&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0#PPA137,M2. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  3. ^ Fluharty, Sterling. Harris, LaDonna Vita Tabbytite (1931-)." Oklahoma Historical Society's Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. (retrieved 16 Sept 2010)
  4. ^ "About AIO". http://www.aio.org/about_aio. Retrieved 2011-05-19. 

External links

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