American Indian Law Deskbook

American Indian Law Deskbook

American Indian Law Deskbook

American Indian Law Deskbook


A collaborative effort from Attorney General Offices throughout the country -- faced daily with legal questions involving state and tribal relations -- The American Indian Law Deskbook, Third Edition, is an up-to-date, comprehensive treatise on Indian law. The Deskbook provides readers with the necessary historical and legal framework to understand the complexities faced by states, Indian tribes, and the federal government in Indian country. Included are discussions of: The evolution of federal statutory Indian law and the judicial foundations of federal Indian policy; An extensive compilation and analysis of federal and state court decisions; Reservation and Indian lands ownership and property interests; The parameters of criminal jurisdiction in Indian country; Concepts of tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction relating to a number of specific areas including tribal courts, hunting and fishing, environmental regulation, water rights, gaming, and child welfare; and Cooperative approaches used by the states and tribes for resolving jurisdiction disputes and promoting better relations. Thorough, scholarly, and balanced, The American Indian Law Deskbook, Third Edition, is an invaluable reference for a wide range of people working with Indian tribes, including attorneys and legal scholars, government officials, social workers, state and tribal jurists, and historians. This revised edition includes information from court decisions, federal statutes, and administrative regulations through June 2003 as well as law review articles through the Spring of 2003.


Since publication of the second edition of the American Indian Law Deskbook, the field of Indian law has developed significantly, most notably in the areas of tribal lands acquisitions, tribal gaming, child custody, and contested sovereignty matters. As with the first edition, the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) has published annual supplements to keep the second edition current; however, the volume and significance of developments in case law, legislation, and regulation make this third edition timely, and perhaps imperative.

As noted in the Forewords to the first and second editions, Indian law has developed as one of the most complex and nuanced of fields, in part because it is the product of a complex history of confrontation, accommodation, and policy reversals. While Indian law arose in the conflicts of Indians and white settlers, it now functions in the context of a multicultural society, dedicated to civil rights and racial equality. the practitioner and scholar in Indian law must deal with criminal law, civil regulatory and adjudicatory law, constitutional law, property law, natural resources law, civil rights law, statutory interpretation, administrative and regulatory law, and similar fields. No single book can instruct completely as to all these areas, but a thorough and continually updated compendium of the law is a needed and powerful resource for Indian law study and practice.

The offices of state attorneys general, with their combined expertise in all areas of Indian law, have been an appropriate—and willing—source of the immense work needed to provide that compendium. As with earlier Deskbook editions, this third edition continues a commitment to neutral and disinterested discourse and analysis.

The changes in this edition include revisions to the organization of many chapters and the substantive analysis in all chapters. of particular note are the expanded discussion of the trust doctrine in Chapter 1; the significantly revised discussion of the term “Indian” in Chapter 2; the detailed analysis directed to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act in Chapter 3; the analysis in Chapter 4 of the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act; the exploration in Chapter 5 of the various methods by which Congress . . .

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