On the first stop today of a week-long trip meant to help win over the West to Jimmy Carter. Vice President Mondale promptly took a stand that could alienate many voters: He said the administration will back Indian treaty claims to scarce resources.

Mondale is assisting the Interior Department in preparing a proposed national Indian policy that soon will be submitted to President Carter. As outlines of this policy emerged today, it will include a commitment to solving disputes involving Indian lands by negotiation rather than by pending legislation in Congress that would abrogate various Indian treaties.

The Indians met with Mondale today on the first leg of the Vice President's week-long. Seven-state trip, meant to educate him in the problems of the West and allow him to deal with a growing perception here that changes in federal policies -- especially concerning resources -- have not reflected a sympathy toward the region's problems.During their meeting with the Vice President, the Indians said they lack the expertise to deal with the oil and gas companies now negotiating for resources on Indian-owned lands.

"Every time we sit down with oil companies, they have 15 lawyers and 15 geologists," complained Peter MacDonald, chairman of the Navajo nation. "We have the tribal lawyer and the BIA [Bureau of Indian Affairs] land management man."

Mondale directed Cabinet secretary Jack Watson, who is accompanying him, to set up a meeting between the tribal leaders and Energy Secretary James R. Schlesinger Jr. The purpose of the meeting would be to advise the Indians on how they can obtain the technical help needed to properly evaluate the quantity and worth of their mineral resources.

The last few years have seen a rise in Indian ethnic identity that has been matched by tribes suing -- and frequently winning -- to obtain rights that they believe are guaranteed them by treaties but that have been denied or ignored in modern times. These cases have covered the spectrum of resources, including fish, game, land, water, oil, gas, coal, uranium and clean air.

But the Indians fear that the times have turned against them, as reflected by a court decision last week in Massachusetts crippling the chances of a group of Indians to gain title to thousands of acres of valuable Cape Cod land.

The Indians also point to bills pending in Congress that would sharply limit their ability to obtain redress for what they consider to be old wrongs.

While Mondale and Interior Secretary Cecil D. Andrus, who also is traveling with him, won the plaudits of the Indian leaders for their stand, there is some question whether it will improve the administration's popularity in the West.

The view of many whites in the West is that many of the resources the Indians are claiming a greater share of are limited. Thus, in the case of water, for example, the more they get, the less that will be available for growth of the white man's enterprises. In the case of oil and mineral reserves, the view is that the Indians are contributing to high costs by trying to extract maximum profits.

"We're not asking for new rights or new land," MacDonald said in response to this perception. "All we want to do is keep what little is left to us and try to develop it on our own terms."

Responding to a plea from Wendell Chino, chairman of the Mescalero Apache, for "fair and honest dealings with the Indian people," Mondale said:

"Well, I can guarantee to you this [fair and honest dealings] will be part of our Indian policy. There is no part of our job we take more seriously than our oath to uphold the law. Constitutional rights for everyone, including Indians, are the cornestone of the dealings to which you refer."

The view of many whites in the West is that many of the resources the Indians are claiming a greater share of are limited. Thus, in the case of water, for example, the more they get, the less that will be available for growth of the white man's enterprises. In the case of oil and mineral reserves, the view is that the Indians are contributing to high costs by trying to extract maximum profits.

"We're not asking for new rights or new land," MacDonald said in response to this perception. "All we want to do is keep what little is left to us and try to develop it on our own terms."

Responding to a plea from Wendell Chino, chairman of the Mescalero Apache, for "fair and honest dealings with the Indian people," Mondale said:

"Well, I can guarantee to you this [fair and honest dealings] will be part of our Indian policy. There is no part of our job we take more seriously than our oath to uphold the law. Constitutional rights for everyone, including Indians, are the cornerstone of the dealings to which you refer."

Mondale also met with Hispanic businessmen at a local restaurant to discuss minority problems. Over a snack of sopillas (a light Mexican pastry) and coffee, the Vice President heard complaints that unspecified political considerations influenced the decisions of the Office of Minority Business Enterprises.

Mondale replied that there was "no place for politics" in government decisions affecting minority businessmen. He also urged the businessmen to actively complain about any specific federal regulations they found burden-some.

At the next stop, Albuquerque City Hall, Mayor David Rusk showed Mondale single-copy forms used by the city for a pioneering, home grown work-training program. Then Rusk unveiled a stack of papers nearly two feet high that he said were the forms the city had to file to comply with the federal Comprehensive Employment Training Act, which offers fewer jobs in the city.

Today's meetings were relatively friendly ones for Mondale in a state that, though carried by Gerald Ford in the 1976 election, gave Carter one of his strongest showings in the West. But some signs of the skeptical Western view of Washington came through even here.

After Mondale was presented with a red carpet by city officials on his arrival, the city recreation department made a presentation to Andrus, the former Idaho governor whose water-use policies have made him a controversial figure in the West. The department gave Andrus a box of rocks, grass and dirt.