Skip to Main Content

Native American Law: Introduction

Research guide to support the spring 2024 Native American Law course taught by Professor Precious Benally.


Winter 2023: Brooklyn Law School (BLS) librarians and Library Fellows are developing this research guide to support the spring 2024 seminar: Native American Law.  Tribal Law and Policy Specialist and Adjunct Professor of Law Precious Benally will teach this course.  Professor Benally is a citizen of the Diné Nation from Northern New Mexico.

  • Course description: This course is aimed at a comprehensive understanding of Native American law, the history that has formed this law, and the impact on Tribal Nations and communities. Native American Law is, in a sense, the most all-encompassing of any field of law, as it necessarily entails the study of the Constitution, federalism and the federal system, international law, the full span of American (and colonial) legal and political history, criminal and civil law and jurisdiction, etc. Due in large part to its all-encompassing nature, Native American Law, even at the highest federal level, has had and continues to have direct, immediate, and long-lasting impact on the lives of Native people in this country. The course will explore the divisions and contentions among Tribal, federal and state governments, and unravel the coded language of colonialism by delving into the history of Native Peoples prior to colonization, understanding the intricacies of Tribal sovereignty, dissecting landmark Federal "Indian law" cases, and going "behind the scenes" of these cases to examine the lives of the people and Native communities at the heart of pivotal Supreme Court cases.

BLS students who want help identifying material to support their research can email: or text: (718) 734-2432.  

This guide primarily highlights 1) recent publicly accessible books and 2) recent books available through BLS Library.  BLS is an independent law school and BLS Library's collection focuses on legal sources.  Researchers could discover more legal sources by searching the catalog of National Indian Law Library (NILL) (click tab: Research to view new items) and by accessing the 15 topic-specific research guides developed by NILL.  Those seeking a wider range of books could review reading suggestions made by staff of First Nations Development Institute, books honored in campaign: #NativeReads, and books highlighted by subject at Birchbark Books.  New York state residents can apply online for a New York Public Library (NYPL) card to access ebooks, audiobooks, and additional databases (example: digitized archival sources in Gale database: Indigenous Peoples: North America).   Those who live, work or attend school in New York state can apply online for a Brooklyn Public Library card. 

BLS librarians thank Professor Benally, Professor Christopher Beauchamp, members of the BLS Lenapehoking Working Group and members of the BLS Indigenous Rights Advocacy Group for their resource recommendations. 

Note: BLS students who plan to work off campus and do not live in a BLS residence: implement the BLS proxy server instructions for 1 web browser, then close/reopen that browser.  This will allow you to access BLS ebooks off campus.  (If you successfully implement the BLS proxy instructions, a prompt will appear requesting your BLS username/password.) 

  • Need help implementing the BLS proxy instructions?  Contact:
  • The BLS Library team purchases some ebooks from ProQuest Ebook Central (EBC). 
    • Tip re. EBC ebooks in BLS Library's SARA catalog: First-time use of the EBC ebook platform requires BLS students to click: Create Account.  BLS students who are off campus: use a web browser that communicates with the BLS proxy server to create an EBC account. 
      • Subsequent use of an EBC ebook: enter BLS username (format: & password.

When Was This Guide Last Updated?

This LibGuide was last substantively updated:

On: March 6, 2024

At:  5:30 AM

By: Jean Davis