History of Federal Indian Policy

When judges, legislators, and executives create policy, their decisions are rooted within the cultural context they have encountered over the course of their intellectual lives. Policy is not created in a vacuum.

This legal history project examines the contemporary understandings policy makers had about American Indian peoples and cultures at the time they helped produce major pieces of Federal Indian Law.  These reconstructed concepts about American Indians will then be juxtaposed with modern knowledge of Native North America drawn from indigenous oral histories, archaeological data, ethnohistoric accounts, and historical analysis.