November 21, 2005
Indianz.com is the Web Destination for American Indian Legal Developments
Editor's Note: Victoria A. Santana, Reference Librarian/Native American Resources, Oklahoma City University Law Library has been kind enough to share her expertise on native American legal research. Victoria was a tribal attorney for the Blackfeet tribe for many years. She teaches in Oklahoma City University School of Law's ALR course on several subjects including native American legal research.
Inspired by Mary Whisner’s description of her Cool Websites in the latest LAW LIBRARY JOURNAL, I want to share with you my favorite American Indian site, one that every law librarian should know about.
There will always be the need to consult research guides to deal with the often bewilderingly complex issues of American Indian law. But what you really need today is some way to keep up with the latest news, as this is a very active legal area. There is one website that is essential for finding the latest case or proposed legislation.
Indianz.com probably received its name as a play on the Indian slang expression “rez,” used as an abbreviation for “reservation.” Owned by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, it is primarily a news aggregator, usually listing 20 or so items a day. The site also publishes two or three news articles of its own every day. Each article listed is summarized and a link is given to the entire article, including a username and password to enter that news site. One drawback is that the site is not updated on weekends or holidays.
The search feature is fairly well developed. It searches up to one year back. The results page then gives you the option of searching the archives back to the inception of the site in 1999. Boolean terms are supported. There are other features on the site like forums and specialty pages, even one for law (see link at bottom of home page), but these do not seem to be updated or used much. There is even an irregularly published gossip column called “In the Hoop,” modeled after the Washington Post’s “In the Loop” column.
The best feature for law librarians is that many of the articles contain links to the information described.. For example, the article summarizing the latest bombshell of an appellate decision in the long running Cobell case on Indian trust issues contains a link to the decision from the site of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D. C. Circuit. At the end of the article there are also links to congressional statements and a proposed legislative settlement, a link to the plaintiffs proposed settlement principles, and links to the websites of the plaintiff, the defendant and relevant Indian organizations. There is also a long list of past articles on the case. The current legal document delivered up with background material- it doesn’t get any better than this!
- Victoria A. Santana, Reference Librarian/Native American Resources, Oklahoma City University Law Library
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