Native American Heritage Month 2022: Legal and Governmental Resources

The U.S. Supreme Court is currently hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act. ICWA’s purpose is “. . . to protect the best interest of Indian Children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families by the establishment of minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children and placement of such children in homes which will reflect the unique values of Indian culture . . .” (25 U.S. C. 1902). With this case on the Supreme Court docket this term, we thought it might be useful to share other government and legal documents related to Native American affairs.

View of Seminole children at the Brighton Indian Reservation, ca. 1948, by Joseph Janney Steinmetz., Division of Library and Information Services. CC/public domain.

The original congressional hearings and legislative history of ICWA are available via LexisNexis’ Legislative Insight. Indian Affairs are covered under Section 25 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

The legal database HeinOnline has an extensive selection of legal resources dedicated to Native Americans, including treaties, relevant hearings and GAO (Government Accountability Reports), along with a supplemental, curated research guide. Also of interest in the HeinOnline are Indian Claims Reports (arbitrations between tribes and the Federal Government), Indian Tribal Codes, various Native American constitutions and bylaws, and a great bibliography of relevant Native American legal studies and references (for these titles check Library Search Emory availability).

CRS (Congressional Research Service) reports, produced by Library of Congress staff, serve as excellent primers for congressional and executive-level issues surrounding Native Americans.

Chris Palazzolo, head of collections and librarian for political science, economics and French and Italian

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