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Indians & New York State: Important Resources

Last Updated: Oct 30, 2023 1:58 PM

Special Collections

Howard R. Berman, a 1973 graduate of the UB Law School, taught American Indian Law and Human Rights at UB from 1978 to 1982. He also taught at Harvard Law School from 1983 to 1987 and California Western Law School from 1987 until his death in June 1997. He maintained a private practice in American Indian law and served as an attorney for the Indian Law Resource Center in Washington D.C. from 1978-81. His interests also included comparative law, international environmental law, international law, international trade and property, and the rights of indigenous peoples.

In July 2001 the Law Library purchased a private collection of books and materials on the Haudenosaunee - People of the Longhouse, known to non-Indians as the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. The collection is rich in historical, anthropological and cultural sources. Researchers interested in cross-cultural issues in the legal context, human rights, or simply local historical background for legal disputes will find it useful.

Materials from litigation between 1994-2005 of Seneca Nation of Indians and Tonawanda Senecas' land claims for Grand Island, New York and the Oil Springs Reservation in Cuba, New York.

Materials from litigation of Onondaga Nation land claims in central New York State, Onondaga Nation v. New York, et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, Docket 05-CV-0314.

Bibliographies and Indexes

Bibliographies and Indexes

Haas, The Seneca and Tuscarora Indians: An Annotated Bibliography Z 1210 S49 H33 1994 (Ref)
Also as an E-Book
Particularly useful are the sections on Land, Treaties, and Government Documents.

NYS Archives & Records Admin., Guide to Records Relating to Native Americans
E 78 N7 N65 1988 (Law Library Reference)
Online at the New York State Library

Index of Opinions New York State Attorney General and New York State Comptroller on Indian Affairs KFN 5940 A58 N49 1961 (Also Ref)
Includes a "checklist on the recent litigation and a Selected Bibliography on the American Indian - Federal and New York State."

Indian Gaming in NYS

New York State Racing & Wagering Board - Annual Reports 
(1986 to present)


Indian Gaming- New York State Racing & Wagering Board
Includes: Frequently Asked Questions; Development of Indian Gaming Law; Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Buttersworth;California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians;  Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988; Indian Gambling After Seminole Tribe v. Florida; New York Compacts and Provisions; Casino Contact Information


Nation-state gaming compact between the Seneca Nation of Indians and the state of New York
Berman KFN5940 .A4 2002 (2 vols.)

Decision and order : the Seneca Nation of Indians, plaintiff, the Tonawanda Band of Seneca Indians, plaintiff-intervenor, United States of America, plaintiff-intervenor v. the State of New York, George E. Pataki, governor, State of New York ... [et al.], defendants.
Berman KFN5940 .U55 2002

Providing for the renegotiation of certain leases of the Seneca Nation, and for other purposes : form the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs submitted the following report (to accompany H.R. 5367) (including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office).
BermanKFN5940 .U56 1990

Providing for the renegotiation of certain leases of the Seneca Nation, and for other purposes : from the Select Committee on Indian Affairs submitted the following report (to accompany S. 2895).
Berman KFN5940 .U57 1990

Tribal-state compact between the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and the State of New York.
Berman KFN5940 .A4 1993

National Indian Gaming Commission
Links to Compacts - organized by tribe name



Manz, Gibson's New York Legal Research Guide, 3rd ed. ("Indians," Chapter 30) KFN 5074 G53 2004< (Also Ref, Ref Desk, NY Alcove, LL Archives)

Kahn, et al, Building Bridges Between Parallel Paths: The First New York Listening Conference for Court Officials and Tribal Representatives, 78 N.Y.S.B.A. J. 10 (Nov./Dec. 2006) K 14 E963

NYSBA, [Legal Issues of Indians Nations], Government, Law & Policy Journal (Spring 2006) KFN 5940 A75 L44 2006 (Also Berman)

Cohen, Handbook of Federal Indian Law ("New York Indians," Chapter 22) KF 8205 C6 1942 (Ref); KF 8205 C6 1986 (Also Berman); KF 8205 C6 1988; KF 8205 C6 2005 (Ref)

Porter, Robert, Building a New Longhouse: The Case for Government Reform Within the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee, 46 Buff. L. Rev. 805 (1998)
Also via HeinOnline

Porter, Robert, The Jurisdictional Relationship Between the Iroquois and New York State: Analysis of 25 U..S.C. Sec. 232, 233, 27 Harvard Journal on Legislation 497 (1990) K 8 A684
Also via HeinOnline

Porter, Robert. Legalizing, Decolonizing, and Modernizing New York State’s Indian Law, 63 Albany L.Rev. 205 (1999) K 1 L324
Also via HeinOnline


---Wallace, The White Roots of Peace: The Iroquois Book of Life E 99 I7 W26 1994 (Also Berman)

---Copy of the Iroquois Constitution

Historical Materials

Historical Documents, Books & Reports

Wraxall, An Abridgment of the Indian Affairs contained in four folio volumes, transacted in the Colony of New York, from the year 1678 to the year 1751 E 78 N7 N6 1968
"Records of conferences and transactions between the Indians and the magistrates of the city and county of Albany." Detailed introduction and explanation by editor Charles McIlwain focuses on the fur trade.

"Everett Report" Report of the New York state Indian commission to investigate the status of the American Indian residing in the State of new York: the Everett Report KFN5940 .N49 1922a (Ref, Berman)
Annotated version via Internet at
Everett determined the Indians were still owners of land ceded by Treaty of 1784. Other commissioners refused to sign the report and it was rejected by legislature. Reprinted by stenographer in 1972.

Upton, The Everett Report in Historical Perspective, the Indians of New York E 99 I7 U75 1980 (Also Ref, Berman, Haas)
Contains the story of the Everett report and treaties, court cases, investigative reports from colonial times to the 1970s. Also in Berman and Haas collections.

Hauptman, Historical Background to the Present Day Seneca Nation-Salamanca Lease Controversy: The First Hundred Years, 1851-1951 E 99 S3 H38 1985 (Also Haas)

Cadwallader, The History of the Five Indian nations of Canada which are dependent on the province of New York, and are a barrier between the English and the French in that part of the world E 99 I7 C6 1958 (Berman, Haas)

Jennings, The History and Culture of Iroquois Diplomacy: An Interdisciplinary Guide to the Treaties of the Six Nations and Their League E 99 I7 H63 1995 (Ref)
A companion reference manual for the microform collection listed below which contains a chronology of treaty events, a gazetteer of place names, and a descriptive list of people involved in Iroquois-colonial relations.

Jennings, Iroquois Indians: A Documentary History of the Diplomacy of the Six Nations and their League (Microfilm) E 99 I7 I73 1985 Guide (Silverman Ref)
Printed guide to a 50 reel microfilm collection including minutes of treaty conferences, the agreements resulting from formal meetings, and a broad range of background materials useful for interpreting motives, procedures, and effects. Chronological order through 1842.

Trelease, Indian Affairs in Colonial New York: The Seventeenth Century E 78 N7 T7 2009 (Lockwood)

The Papers of Sir William Johnson E 195 J62 1900z; E195 J62 1921 (Berman)
Finding Aid to the original papers

Hough, Proceedings of the Commissioners of Indian Affairs, appointed by law for the Extinguishment of Indian Titles in the State of New York
E 78 N7 N7
1861 (Also Berman)
The first Commissioners of Indian Affairs were appointed by statute passed in 1783 to negotiate cession of land titles from the Indians. This book includes the "Negotiations which attended these transactions" from 1783 to 1788.

"Whipple Report" Report of Special committee to investigate the Indian problem of the State of New York appointed by the Assembly of 1888 (Assembly Document No. 51, 1889) E78 N7 N77 1889a (Ref)
Chronological survey of land deals. App. A (p.80) lists state laws relating to Indians. App. B (p.86) reprints treaties between Indians and U.S. App. C (p.94) reprints land grants back to 1629. App. D (p.190) treaties with the state. Also testimony volumes. See Haas above p. 382-3 for detailed description.

Legal Portals

 Indigenous Law Portal (The Law Library of Congress)


General Books

General Books

Significant Treaties

Significant US Treaties with Senecas & Tuscaroras

(Excerpted from Marilyn Haas' bibliography mentioned above at p.343)

The Treaty with the Six Nations at Fort Stanwix, 1784, 7 Stat. 15, 2 Kappler 5, Whipple Report 86
Six Nations ceded to the US land west of a line running four miles east of the Niagara River to the mouth of Buffalo Creek, south to the north boundary of Pennsylvania, west to the end of this boundary, south along the west boundary of Pennsylvania to the Ohio River. Oneidas and Tuscarora nations secured in possession of lands on which they were settled.

The Treaty at Fort Harmar, 1989, 7 Stat. 33, 2 Kappler 23, Whipple Report 87
Six Nations give up land around Oswego for a fort and receive more money in general confirmation of the land boundaries agreed upon at the Fort Stanwix Treaty. Oneidas and Tuscaroras again confirmed in possession of their lands.

The Treaty with the Six Nations, 1794 (the Pickering or Canandaigua Treaty), 7 Stat. 44, 2 Kappler 33, Whipple Report 89
Seneca land area in Western New York becomes smaller in exchange for annuities with assurance that Seneca land, and other Six Nations land, remains theirs until the choose to sell.

Treaty of Amity, Commerce & Navigation (Jay Treaty), 8 Stat. 116 (1794, Ratified June 24, 1795; Proclaimed Feb. 29, 1796)
Treaty between Britain and the U.S. whose Article III allows for free passage to Indians dwelling on either side of the U.S./Canada border. But see: Karnuth v. U.S. ex rel Albro, 279 US 231 (1929), U.S. ex rel Goodwin v. Karnuth, 74 NY Supp 660 (WDNY 1947), and 8 USC 1359.

The Treaty with the Oneida, Tuscarora and Stockbridge Indians, Dwelling in the Country of the Oneidas (Veterans’ Treaty), 1794, 7 Stat. 47, 2 Kappler 37, Whipple Report 92
US distributes money to the Oneida and Tuscarora in payment for their losses and for their services to the US during the Revolutionary War.

The Agreement (sic) with the Seneca: Contract between Robert Morris and the Seneca Nation, (Treaty of Big Tree) 1797, 7 Stat. 601, 2 Kappler 1027, Whipple Report 131
Contract in which the Senecas sell land to Robert Morris reserving for themselves ten reservations.

The Treaty with the Seneca, June 30, 1802, 7 Stat. 70, 2 Kappler 60, Whipple Report 140
Senecas sell land to businessmen from Amsterdam [i.e., the Holland Land Company].

The Treaty with the Seneca (Little Beard’s Reservation), June 30, 1802, 7 Stat. 72, 2 Kappler 62, Whipple Report
143 Senecas sell Little Beard's Reservation to Oliver Phelps, Isaac Bronson and Horatio Jones.

The Agreement (sic) with the Seneca, 1823, Unratified, See Kappler at pp.1033-1034
In proceedings at Moscow, NY, Senecas sell Gardeau Reservation to John Greig and Henry Gibson-- treaty not ratified by Congress and therefore not in U.S. Statutes at Large.

The Treaty with the New York Indians (Buffalo Creek Treaty), 1838, 7 Stat. 550, 2 Kappler 502, Whipple Report 15
In long and intricate treaty Senecas sell Buffalo Creek, Cattaraugus, Allegany, and Tonawanda reservations to Thomas Ludlow Odgen and Joseph Fellows in the same transaction the US agreeing to give all the New York Indians, including the Seneca and Tuscarora, land west of the state of Missouri, both tribes to move west.

The Treaty with the Seneca (Compromise Treaty), 1842, 7 Stat. 586, 2 Kappler 537
The compromise treaty at which the Senecas get back the Cattaraugus and Allegany Reservation.

The Treaty with the Seneca, Tonawanda Band, 1857, 11 Stat. 735, 12 Stat. 991, 2 Kappler 767
Tonawandas give up their claim to land west of the Missouri and use that money to buy back part of their reservation from Ogden and Fellows.

NY Treaties

"Whipple Report" Report of Special committee to investigate the Indian problem of the State of New York appointed by the Assembly of 1888. (Assembly Document No. 51., 1889) E78 N7 N77 1889a (Ref)
Chronological survey of land deals. App. C (p.94) reprints land grants back to 1629. App. D (p.190) Treaties with the state including 1815 treaty in which the Senecas sold the islands in the Niagara River (p. 211). See Haas above p. 382-3 for detailed description. See also the handout with list of treaties.