Saturday, September 21, 2019

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 "What is Tribal Sovereignty?"

Answer: Indian tribes are "distinct, independent political communities, retaining their original natural rights" in matters of local self-government. Although no longer "possessed of the full attributes of sovereignty," tribes remain a "separate people, with the power of regulating their internal and social relations." In short, Indians possess "the right ... to make their own laws and be ruled by them."

Much like the state government, tribal governments are elaborate entities, consisting of executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The office of the tribal chairman (like that of the state governor) and the tribal council (the state legislature) operate the tribe under a tribal constitution and code of laws.

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Vernellia R. Randall
Founder and Editor
Professor Emerita of Law
The University of Dayton School of Law

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