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.
This paper surveys American Indian tribal justice systems to assess whether collateral consequences attach to convictions and whether a pardon or expungement process exists to remove tribal convictions.
In its first major opinion on the scope of American Indian tribes’ sovereign powers in decades, the Supreme court held on Tuesday in United States v. Cooley that tribal governments — and thus their police officers — have the power to search and temporarily detain non-Indians suspected of breaking federal or state laws within reservations.
The first segment of this year’s virtual Annual Meeting adjourned last week. Below is a summary of the actions taken on May 17 and 18. All approvals by the membership at the Annual Meeting are subject to the discussion at the Meeting and the usual editorial prerogative.
ALI members voted at The American Law Institute’s Annual Meeting to approve Restatement of the Law, The Law of American Indians. This is the first Restatement on this important area of law. The project Reporters are Matthew L.M. Fletcher and Wenona T. Singel, both of Michigan State University College of Law, and Kaighn Smith, Jr. of Drummond Woodsum.
Have you ever wondered what exactly goes into completing an ALI project? There’s nobody better to talk about the ALI process than four veteran Reporters whose projects may be completed at the 2021 Annual Meeting.