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Indian & Tribal Law

Resources for researching federal Indian law and Native American tribal law.

Indian Reorganization Act

The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, ch. 576, 48 Stat. 984 (HeinOnline), codified at 25 U.S.C. §§ 5101-5129 (FDsys), provided that tribes could organize and adopt constitutions and bylaws.

Any Indian tribe shall have the right to organize for its common welfare, and may adopt an appropriate constitution and bylaws, and any amendments thereto, which shall become effective when—

(1) ratified by a majority vote of the adult members of the tribe or tribes at a special election authorized and called by the Sec - retary under such rules and regulations as the Secretary may prescribe; and

(2) approved by the Secretary pursuant to subsection (d) of this section.

25 U.S.C. § 5123.

Many constitutions date from the 1930s and 1940s. For a comment about these constitutions, see Matthew Fletcher, The Myth of the Model IRA Constitution?, Turtle Talk (Nov. 21, 2007).

Many tribal constiitutions are published with Tribal Codes.

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has a digital collection American Indian Constitutions and Legal Materials, grouped by region:

HeinOnline

HeinOnline's American Indian Law Collection includes many constitutions and by-laws separately published by the Office of Indian Affairs. Materials from tribes in Washington State include:

 

HeinOnline and the Library of Congress offer many of the same documents, so why list both sets here? HeinOnline has better searching options, but it is a licensed database and is only available to subscribers (including the UW). Access to the Library of Congress digital collection is free.

George Emory Fay Compilation

George Emory Fay,Charters, Constitutions and By-Laws of the Indian Tribes of North America (1967-1981), KF8220.A75 C55. Available on HeinOnline