About the Federal Courts Indian Law Bulletin

Frequency of Updates: Research is performed at least once a week to identify new cases. Email alerts will be sent out on when 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 courts (including the U.S. Courts of Appeal, 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 only U.S. Courts of Appeal cases were included. In 2002, 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.

We run a very broad search in Westlaw Courts of Appeal, 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 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. We also monitor online 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, should not substitute for independent research, and does not constitute legal advice.

Cases 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.

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 cases freely available online. 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