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Native American Indian Law Research Guide: Federal Executive Resources

This guide provides an overview of selected Native American Indian law materials available at the Marquette University Eckstein Law Library and selected online materials pertaining to Native American Indian law.

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Federal Executive Resources

The President of the United States has the power under the Constitution to make proclamations and issue executive orders. These presidential proclamations and orders have the same power and legal effect as laws passed by Congress. The differences between the two are sometimes blurred, but generally, proclamations are usually more ceremonial and may be used to issue a statement of policy. The text of executive orders and proclamations are numbered separately.  The first executive order was issued in 1789, but none of the orders were numbered or issued in an uniform manner until 1907.  Orders between 1789 and 1862  are unnumbers and are referred to as unnumbered executive orders. An executive order from 1862 is designated as executive order #1. The first executive order included in Title 3 of the Code of Federal Regulations is #7316 (March 13, 1936) and the first proclamation included in Title 3 is #2161 (March 19, 1936). 

The president of the United States, by issuing presidential proclamations and executive orders, made Indian law and policy. For example, proclamations and executive orders set aside land for reservations, extended federal trust periods and redefined reservation boundaries. After 1871, when treaty making ended, documents that were executive agreements took the place of treaties.  In the study and research of Native American Indian law, reading presidential documents may be necessary to complete the history of reservation land, for example. Executive proclamations and executive orders provide sources of law in the study of Indian law.