Indian Law Bulletins
Federal Trial Courts
About the Bulletin
Frequency of Updates: Research is performed at least once a week to identify new cases. The bulletin will be replaced with all new case information every two weeks. If relevant cases are not found within two weeks, the bulletin will be replaced with all new information as soon as new information is found. Email alerts will be sent out on the same day as new information is published on the web site. All older information will be stored in the bulletin archives
Selection Policy & Process: The National Indian Law Library (NILL) endeavors to retrieve important cases decided by the federal trial courts including the U.S. District Courts, U.S. Bankruptcy Courts, Court of Federal Claims and U.S. Tax Court that deal with a federal Indian law issue. (By "Indian law" we mean cases that deal with the "status of the Indian tribes and their special relationship to the federal government, with all the attendant consequences for the tribes and their members, the states and their citizens, and the federal government" as defined by Judge William Canby, Jr., an Indian law scholar (Canby, William C., Jr. American Indian Law in a Nutshell, 3rd ed. St. Paul, Minn: West Group, 1998).) Originally ony U.S. District Court cases were added. In 2003, Court of Federal Claims cases were added and in 2006 U.S. Tax Court cases and U.S. Bankruptcy cases were added. All archives were updated retrospectively in May, 2006 to include cases from each type of court.
We run a very broad search in the Westlaw District Courts, Court of Federal Claims, U.S. Bankruptcy and U.S. Tax Court databases to identify new Indian law cases. We also include cases from other federal non-appellate courts such as the bankruptcy and NLRB courts. The databases may not contain all cases and the research strategy may not identify every case in the databases. In addition to the search on Westlaw, we monitor Indian law Internet lists and groups, Indian law-related newsletters and receive tips from colleagues on new cases. During this process, the non-attorney library staff uses its judgment as to which cases should be included in the bulletin. Therefore, this bulletin should not be considered an exhaustive list of cases, and should not substitute for independent research and does not constitute legal advice.
involving Native Americans but not related to Indian law are excluded.
Occasionally non-Indian law cases will be included if the case outcome
will have a major impact on Native Americans. "Related news
stories," which accompany some of the cases, are selected based
on the criteria set out in the News
Bulletin "about" page.
Sources of Information:
Summary & holding information: We provide case summary and holding information developed by West Group under an agreement. When summary or holding information is not available, we provide summary information from the text of the opinion.
Providing the opinions: We provide links to copies of cases freely available on the Internet. When opinions are unreported or are not freely available, we download opinions from Westlaw, remove any copyright-protected material and provide a link to the opinion on our web site.
See the News Bulletin "about" page for sources of information for "related news stories."
Researcher: David Selden, M.L.S., Law Librarian for the National Indian Law Library (NILL)
Searching & Browsing Tips: Legal cases are listed in reverse chronological order. Only the most recent list of cases appears on the "current" bulletin. The archives contain all previous cases. Annual and multi-year archives will be developed in the future with subject and/or party name search features.
Indexing: NILL subject headings are assigned the Assistant Law Librarian for the National Indian Law Library (NILL).
Archiving: Annual and multi-year archives with special search features are planned for the future.