Practitioner Resources

Tribal Law Profiles

Tribal Law profiles are produced by students in UNM's Law of Indigenous Peoples course taught by Professor Christine Zuni-Cruz every Fall.

Ogalala Sioux Tribal Profile from Volume 12

By Karen Kimbro Chase This profile by Karen Kimbro Chase offers an excellent overview of Oglala Sioux law, both traditional and modern. Like many tribes, the Indian Reorganization Act had a major impact on the contemporary law of the Oglala Sioux. While the IRA resulted in tribal constitutions that reflected the values of the U.S. Constitution, this profile examines the traditional and customary law that was subsequently incorporated into the Oglala Sioux Constitution. This profile includes a brief history of the Oglala Sioux, overview of traditional law, governmental structure, summary of contemporary law, and  history of political activism. 

Northern Cheyenne Tribe:  Traditional law and Constitutional Reform from Volume 12

By Sheldon C. Spotted Elk This profile by Sheldon C. Spotted Elk examines the U.S. Government's infringement on the Northern Cheyenne's political sovereignty. Most significantly, this profile examines the relationship between the oral history of the Northern Cheyenne and its impact on traditional tribal governance and law. Following the Northern Cheyenne's adoption of a modern constitution, many members fought to continue living under a traditional constitution. Ultimately, the Northern Cheyenne a written IRA compatible constitution while maintaining an oral constitution.  The delicate balance allows the Northern Cheyenne to address modern issues while also keeping the fundamental traditional and customary law of the tribe alive.

Ho-Chunk Nation Tribal Law Profile from Volume 12

By Daniel B. Snyder In this tribal profile Daniel B. Snyder provides an excellent point of reference for practitioners dealing with any legal matter within the Ho-Chunk Nation. Starting with an overview of the legal history of the tribe, including modern government and law, the author examines the traditional legal practices and responsibilities of the Ho-Chunk. Mr. Snyder then explores the modern judicial and legislative branches, and their work to preserve the tribe's traditional laws and customs. 

Profile of the Sayisi Dene Nation of Tadoule Lake in Northern Manitoba, from Volume 5

by Kwesi Baffoe The cultural groups among the Aboriginal peoples of Northern Canada correspond to climatic latitudinal divides. Above the tree line, where the boreal forest meets the tundra, are the Inuit whose territory stretches far into the arctic. South of the tree line are the Dene, and below them are the Cree nations of the prairies. The goal of this paper is to concentrate on the nature of the particular culture of the Dene People.

Cherokee Nation Tribal Profile, from Volume 3

Cherokee Nation Tribal Profile by Ahnawake Carroll provides readers with an overview of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Government. This profile includes information regarding both the historical and contemporary uses of the tribe's traditional law, law of governance, enacted law, and case law.

Profile of the Law of the Navajo Nation, from Volume 2

Navajo Nation Profile by Bidtah Becker, gives an overview of the Navajo Nation governmental structure.

Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Government Profile, from Volume 2

Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Government Profile by Kim Coco Iwamoto, provides readers with an overview of the Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Government. Iwamoto's profile contains information on the Pueblo's traditional law, governance, dispute resolution, and extratribal law.

Oglala Lakota Nation Profile, from Volume 2

Oglala Lakota Nation Profile by Danielle Her Many Horses provides an overview of the Oglala Lakota Nation government. This profile contains information on the Oglala Lakota Nation's traditional governance and its contemporary government.

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