Native American law resources available online

The National Indian Law Library (NILL) located in Colorado is a public law library devoted to federal Indian and tribal law.

Everyone in the United States have access to U.S. law and history fairly easily from several resources, including from the Law Library of Congress. The same has not always been true for Tribal Government law history. Most individuals would not know how to find this information easily and, furthermore, would not be aware that a resource exists to assist them.

 The National Indian Law Library (NILL) located in Boulder, Co. is a public law library devoted to federal Indian and tribal law. It serves both the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) and the public. NILL serves the public by developing and making accessible a unique and valuable collection of Indian law resources and assisting people with Indian law-related information needs.

 NILL is the only comprehensive collection of past and present Tribal governmental documents, and with many of the documents accessible online. This collection began in 1988 and now consists of Tribal constitutions, codes, ordinances, and resolutions numbering in excess of 700. It has established an invaluable communications network for those involved in the drafting and updating of Tribal government documents. NILL now has working documents on almost every conceivable subject, from declaration of self-determination to sewage disposal, adoptions of a Uniform Commercial Code, off-reservation regulations, conservation and domestic violence ordinances. According to their website, “NILL has filled an urgent need as the single repository.”

Further reading on the website indicates that the National Indian Law Library is the only clearinghouse actively collecting Indian law-related documents. They state that “the collection has grown from over 4,000 items in 1990 to over 10,000 items in 2000.” NILL widely collects all Indian law-related material including books, pamphlets, federal government documents, state government documents, scholarly reports, journal articles, newspaper articles, student reports, and law reviews.

Michigan State University Extension uses the NILL material when assisting tribal communities. If you are further interested receiving ongoing Tribal Law information, NILL offers a number of Indian Law News Bulletins covering federal and state jurisdictions, federal regulations and legislation, law reviews and general news sources. Usually, updates are published on a weekly basis and are available at the website or from the NILL blog, with the option of RSS feed or email delivery.

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