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Tribal Legal Studies Textbook Series


The Tribal Legal Studies project was initiated in 1998 as a collaborative effort between the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Native Nations Law and Policy Center, the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, and four tribal colleges (Turtle Mountain Community College, Salish Kootenai College, Diné College, and Northwest Indian College) to develop, pilot, and implement Tribal Legal Studies curricula at tribal community colleges.


This book series is designed to develop legal and technical resources for tribal justice course offerings and materials, so that they reflect community thought, philosophy, traditions, and norms, and serve to strengthen tribal government and leadership.

While four books in the series have been published thus far, several additional volumes are planned, including Tribal Code Development. Tribal Legal Studies funding currently comes from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.


A copy of each textbook was provided free of charge to every tribal court.  Information on purchasing these textbooks can be found Please note that instructor guides are available to those teaching a course or workshops on the topic. Contact heather[at] to request an instructor guide. 

Introduction to Tribal Legal Studies, 3rd ed. is one of the only comprehensive introductions to tribal law. The book covers the history and structure of tribal justice systems; the scope of criminal and civil jurisdictions; and the various means by which the integrity of tribal courts is maintained. (2015)

Tribal Criminal Law and Procedure, 2nd ed. examines the complex subject of tribal criminal law and procedure from a tribal perspective--utilizing tribal statutory law, tribal case law, and the cultural values of Native peoples. This book discusses the histories, structures and practices of tribal justice systems, comparisons of traditional tribal justice with Anglo-American law and jurisdictions, elements of criminal law and procedure, and alternative sentencing. (2015)

Sharing Our Stories of Survival is a general introduction to the social and legal issues involved in acts of violence against Native women. The stories and case-studies presented here are often painful and raw, and the statistics are overwhelmingly grim; but there is a countervailing theme: Many of the women who appear in these pages are survivors, often strengthened by their travails, and the violence examined here is human violence, meaning it can be changed. This publication also has a companion trainer's manual that can be downloaded for free. (2008)

Structuring Sovereignty  is designed to serve as a guide to communities engaged in the process of drafting a constitution and to students who are studying that process. This book draws on research, firsthand experience with writing and constitutional change, and numerous examples from actual governing documents to demonstrate the many ways that Native nations can structure their sovereignty. (2014)

This Trainer's Manual is a companion training tool for the Sharing Our Stories Of Survival: Native Women Surviving Violence publication. Combined, the Trainer's Manual and textbook can be used to teach students the sociological issues that arise in the context of violence against Native women. A course on Violence Against Native Women might be taught in any number of disciplines: for example, social work, psychology, advocacy, history, legal studies, criminal justice, nursing, or medicine. However, a full semester or quarter-long course is not always feasible—learning may take place at conferences, meetings, community gatherings,or staff training. This manual is specifically designed to give guidance to presenters of workshops, conference plenary sessions, staff and community training by domestic violence and sexual assault advocates. (2008)

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