About the State Court Bulletins

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 state Supreme or Appellate courts 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).)

We run a very broad search in the Westlaw state courts database to identify new Indian law cases. The database may not contain all cases and the research strategy may not identify every case in the database. In addition to the search on Westlaw, we monitor Indian law Internet lists and groups 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.

Unpublished Indian Child Welfare Act cases dealing with notice requirements under the act will be excluded. Cases involving Native Americans but not related to Indian law are generally 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: Subject headings are assigned by 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.