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Law: Tribal Law

Tribal Law Overview

American Tribal Law, also known as American Indian Law or American Indigenous Law, encompasses the laws and legal principles that govern the indigenous tribes of the United States. It is a unique area of law that recognizes the sovereignty of Native American tribes, allowing them to operate as “domestic dependent nations” within the federal framework of the United States.

Tribal sovereignty allows tribes to establish their own governance structures, including tribal courts that adjudicate matters related to tribal affairs. However, this sovereignty is subject to limitations imposed by federal law, which can override tribal decisions in certain circumstances. Notably, tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians on tribal lands is restricted, especially in cases where the activity does not directly affect the welfare of the tribe.

The complexity of American Tribal Law arises from the interplay between federal, state, and tribal jurisdictions. Various statutes, such as the Indian Reorganization Act and the Indian Civil Rights Act, outline the rights and governance of Native American tribes. Additionally, the U.S. Constitution and federal regulations provide a framework for the operation of tribal entities within the broader legal system.

Tribal Law Databases

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