The project will develop an open platform that will empower libraries to improve access to tribal laws published into the public domain and more fully serve the needs of diverse users – tribal members and leaders, legal, business, and government professionals, academic researchers and learners, and the public.
“The right to know the law by which we are governed is a fundamental right,” notes Bonnie Shucha, Associate Dean and Director of the Law Library. “This project addresses a critical gap in the availability of published and accessible tribal laws by developing tools to provide this content freely online.” The University of Wisconsin Law Library has partnered with the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians, the UW Law School Great Lakes Indigenous Law Center, the National Indian Law Library (NILL), and the Open Law Library (OLL) on this pilot project. Together, they will address the national need for public access to tribal law….
“Through my work as a tribal court trial judge and appellate justice, tribal court staff attorney, and tribal court administrator for several tribes over the past two decades, I have seen first-hand the need for a simple and coordinated way to digitally publish and access tribal law,” observes Jill E. Tompkins (Penobscot) of the National American Indian Court Judges Association, “This pilot project will undertake the critical work of gathering and publishing tribal laws with direct input from members of the Native Nations. Tribes will retain full control over their laws and this tool will allow them to publish their laws in a standardized digital format, enabling unified access and search functionality across the laws of all participating tribes.”
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