Mashantucket Pequot Museum Library and Archives Blog

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Resources for Researching Indian Law

(Adapted from: Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, Office of the Secretary of the Tribal Council,

This is a brief summary of the tools and resources available for researching decisions of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court and Court of Appeals and the Tribal laws. In addition, this guide contains information and suggestions on researching other tribal court decisions and Federal Indian law in general.

Mashantucket Pequot Tribe
Tribal Laws
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Laws presently are published by the Tribal Court in a set containing the general laws, the Probate Code and Rules of Court. Our call number: REF KF8228.P53 A5

The laws are also available online at . This web site is updated as new laws are enacted or amendments to existing laws are made. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Laws can also be accessed through the web site of the State of Connecticut’s Judicial Branch at

Tribal Court Decisions
The decisions of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court and the Court of Appeals are published in the Mashantucket Pequot Reporter (call no. REF KF 8228 .P53 A43), a multi-volume set updated 4 times a year. The decisions are also available for your reference at the Tribal Courthouse and at Connecticut State Libraries, including the Courthouse libraries in New London and Norwich.

Another source for obtaining Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court decisions can be found online at . Versus Law offers a subscription-based database which allows keyword and phrase searching for tribal court decisions, including decisions from the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Gaming Disputes Court.

Some of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court decisions also can be obtained through the State of Connecticut’s Judicial Branch at

Additionally, the National Tribal Justice Resource Center website offers links to
various tribal laws and decisions, including some of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court decisions .

Other Tribal Courts and Laws
The Indian Law Reporter (call no. REF KF 8201 .A3 I5), is a monthly publication with a subject index, that collects cases concerning Indian law and Tribal law from federal, state and tribal courts from 1975 through the present.

The Native American Law Digest (call no. REF KF 8203.1 .N38) is another resource for obtaining Tribal Court decisions. The Digest is a monthly publication that summarizes legal
decisions and discusses legal developments in the Native American community.

Decisions and laws from other tribes can be obtained through the Tribal Court Clearinghouse at and from the National Tribal Justice Resource Center website at . These websites provide information concerning tribal court decisions, tribal codes and constitutions for Native American and Alaskan Native tribal
justice systems, along with links to other resources such as federal and state laws, Indian Law Reviews, supreme court decisions, and pending federal legislation.

Federal Indian Law
There are several treatises and casebooks concerning Federal Indian Law. The leading treatise in this area is Felix S. Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian Law (call no. REF KF 8205 .C6 1982). Some other good references are William C. Canby’s American Indian Law in a Nutshell (REF KF 8205 .Z9 C36 2004) and Cases and Materials on Federal Indian Law, published by Thompson/West (call no. REF KF 8204.5 .G47 2005)

Native American Report (Research Library - Serials Stacks) is an independent news source on Native American issues that covers legislative updates, litigation, federal news, the Federal Register, and funding opportunities.

In addition to searching via Internet, computer-assisted legal research services such as Westlaw (fee-based) are available. Westlaw provides access to federal and state cases, statutes, and administrative regulations through searchable databases. Specifically, Westlaw has a database called Native American Law in which cases, statutes, and rules can be accessed, as well as law reviews and periodicals relating to Indian law. Title 25 of the United States Code (25 U.S.C.) and Title 25 of the Code of Federal Regulations (25 C.F.R.) contain the majority of federal statutes and regulations concerning Indians.

Another source for receiving updates on current legal issues in Indian Country can be found
at various web sites, including and .