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Howard R. Berman papers

Identifier: Law Spec. Coll. 06

Scope and Content Note

Collection includes original writings (essays, reports, correspondence, and course materials) by Mr. Berman; unpublished conference papers and research proposals; photocopies of journal articles, bibliographies, correspondence, book excerpts, Congressional materials, maps, pamphlets from indigenous peoples’ organizations and official working documents from the International Labor Organization, the United Nations, and other international organizations. Also includes photocopies of early papers in the development of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


  • 1835-1997
  • Bulk: Majority of material found within 1976-1997


Language of Materials

Collection material in English, French and some ephemeral materials in indigenous languages.

Terms of Access

Materials can be examined by qualified researchers in the Law Library during hours of operation during which Law Reference Librarians are present. In order to insure access, researchers are advised to contact the Law Library in advance of visits.


Copyright for the materials in the collection does not reside with the Law Library. Therefore, patrons wishing to publish any item, or part of an item from this collection for any purpose, are responsible for securing requisite permissions. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Biographical Note

Howard R. Berman, a 1973 graduate of the UB Law School, taught American Indian Law and Human Rights at UB from 1978 to 1982. Professor Berman taught at Harvard Law School from 1983 to 1987 and California Western Law School from 1987 until his death. 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.

Prof. Berman was an early leader in the development of law on the rights of indigenous peoples. His interests also included comparative law, international environmental law, international law, international trade and property. He chaired the Interest Group on Indigenous Rights for the American Society of International Law and served on the Board of Advisors for the International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs for the United Nations from 1993 until his death. He worked closely with the traditional Haudenosaunee [Six Nations, Iroquois Confederacy] and consulted with many indigenous peoples around the world.

He was an avid collector of rare books on New York history and Indian affairs, and international law. Upon his death in June 1997, Professor Berman donated to the Law Library his collection of books and papers which focus on Indian Nations within New York State and the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide.


30 Linear Feet (53 manuscript boxes, 6 oversize boxes)


Collection includes original writings by Mr. Berman and background materials he collected in his research and consulting with and on behalf of indigenous peoples.


The collection is arranged in eleven series:

I. Berman Authored Materials

II. Aboriginal Rights and American Indian Law

III. Indians and New York State

IV. Indians and Canada

V. Other Indigenous Peoples

VI. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs) and Indigenous Peoples Organizations

VII. International Labour Organization (ILO)

VIII. Minorities and International Law

IX. United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations (WGIP)

X. Serials

XI. Oversize

Acquisition Information

Gift of Howard R. Berman's estate, 1997.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Related Resources

Marilyn L. Haas Collection
This Law Special Collection includes books on the Haudenosaunee (also known as the Iroquois Indians or Six Nations)with special emphasis on the Senecas and Tuscaroras.
Onondaga Nation Land Claims Records, Law Spec. Coll. 9
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
Seneca Nation Land Claims Records, Law Spec. Coll. 7
This Law Special Collection materials from litigation of Seneca Nation of Indians and Tonawanda Senecas’ land claims for Grand Island, New York and the Oil Springs Reservation in Cuba, New York.
Bibliography of Professor Howard Berman
Reprinted with permission from the California Western School of Law, 28 Cal.W.Int'l.L.J. (Spring 1998).

Separated Material

Howard R. Berman Papers, Series XI. Oversize materials are stored in Special Collections Librarian's office.

Howard R. Berman Collection Books, also kept in Law Special Collections, may be identified by searching the University Libraries Online Catalog.

Processing Information

Processed by Karen L. Spencer in 2000 and 2007.

Finding Aid for the Howard R. Berman Papers, 1835-1997 (bulk 1976-1997)
Finding aid prepared by Karen L. Spencer.
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Charles B. Sears Law Library Repository

O'Brian Hall
Buffalo New York 14260 United States