The subject matter of this Restatement predates the birth of our nation. Some of the most important early decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, including ones authored by Chief Justice John Marshall, deal with the Law of American Indians. And tribes, along with the federal government and the states, are one of the three categories of sovereigns in the United States. (Excerpted from the Forward of Tentative Draft No. 1 by ALI Director Richard L. Revesz)

This field is so informed by history, probably more than any other in some ways. … Certainly in the field of Indian affairs, a lot of damage has been done in the past, and there are a lot of challenges for the future just to get things right from the perspective of those of us who believe that tribes should have a voice in this society, and that there are good rules to help bolster that voice. (Excerpted from an interview with Associate Reporter Kaighn Smith)

A significant portion of Chapter 1 (Federal-Tribal Relationships) has been approved by ALI’s membership.  This chapter contains General Terms, Federal–Tribal Relationship, American Indian Treaty Law, Federal Legislation, and Breach of Trust Claims.

Additional planned chapters:

  • Chapter 2 will focus on the powers of Indian tribes, including the power to determine what form of government tribes will develop, to determine the criteria for membership in the tribe, and also to legislate with respect to a wide variety of matters like taxation.
  • Chapter 3 will address tribal-state relations.
  • Chapter 4 is going to address two aspects of economic development in Indian country; tribes as economic actors, and tribes as economic regulators.
  • Chapter 5 will address an issue that is at the forefront in Indian law policy right now – Indian country criminal jurisdiction.

Divided court rejects Texas’ bid to control gambling in tribal casinos

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Ysleta del Sur Pueblo v. Texas resolves a longstanding dispute about the ability of Texas to control gambling on the lands of two of the Native American tribes that reside there. The answer the court gave was a stern rebuke, vitiating the plenary control that lower-court decisions had granted the state for more than a quarter of a century

Taking Stock: Open Questions and Unfinished Business Under VAWA Amendments to the Indian Civil Rights Act

This Article analyzes whether the presence or absence of special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction has any bearing on a Tribal court’s power to hear and resolve VAWA 2013 cases. It also explores whether the existence of these facts and circumstance can be resolved as a matter of law by a court or whether they are elements that must be submitted to a jury.

Is the Court of Indian Offenses of Ute Mountain Ute Agency a Federal Agency for Purposes of the Fifth Amendment’s Double Jeopardy Clause? (Denezpi v. United States, Docket 20-7622)

This case examines the application of the U.S. Constitution’s Double Jeopardy Clause, sits within the intersection of tribal courts, federal Indian law, and federal criminal law and jurisdiction. Essentially, the question is whether a Native American Indian can be punished twice for the same conduct—first in tribal court and a second time in federal court.

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