Tribal Jurisdiction and “Indian Country”
A basic concept of Indian law based on Article VI of
the U.S. Constitution is that the federal government can deal with
Indian nations to the exclusion of the states. In other words, the
power to control Indian affairs is divided between the federal
government and Indian tribes. This "control" is called "jurisdiction."
As a general rule, since most Indian nations have given up some powers and rights to the federal government, they SHARE jurisdiction with the United States.
The property owned by Indian nations includes land and resources. Indian land can be called:
Definition of "Indian Country”
The U.S. Supreme Court decision has defined "Indian Country" very broadly:
• United States v. Pelican, 232 U.S. 442, 449 (1914)
It is important to note, however, that just because the law says a tribe has jurisdiction, it doesn't mean that it won't have to fight for it. States and individuals (both Indian and non-Indian) are constantly challenging in the courts the jurisdiction of tribes to tax, to enforce laws and other matters. Generally speaking, the courts have found in favor of the Tribes, thereby wasting tax payer dollars.
“Governmental Powers & Tribal Sovereignty” of Youth for Tribal Government, by Kirke Kickingbird and Lynn Shelby Kickingbird,“Governmental Powers & Tribal Sovereignty” of Youth for Tribal Government, by Kirke Kickingbird and Ly
©2004 Kickingbird Associates | Web site developed and hosted by Back40 Design, Inc.