The Law Library of Congress collection contains a variety of American Indian legal materials. The Law Library holds most of the laws and constitutions from the early nineteenth century produced by the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole who were forced to leave the Southeast for the Indian Territory after passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830. Some of these documents are in the vernacular languages of the tribes.
The recognition of Indian nations or tribes by the federal government formally began with the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act. Today, there are some 566 federally recognized sovereign Indian nations and tribes operating under constitutions and charters within the U.S. federal and state structure. The constitutional organization of tribal entities is expressed in the corporate component such as Community, Association, or Community Association, Native Village, Traditional Council, Village of Council, or Corporation added to the name of the tribe.
The following titles, spanning both 19th century items and constitutions and charters drafted after the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, have been digitized and are being made available here and other locations including the Library of Congress catalog.
Mapping American Indian Constitutions and Legal Materials
Last Updated: 02/28/2014