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Tribal Laws and Courts

Learn about how tribes create and manage their own laws, courts, and membership rules.


I. Tribal Constitutions

Indian tribes are sovereigns, which means that tribes have the right to establish their own constitutions, just like the United States or any other sovereign.

In 1934, the Indian Reorganization Act, also known as the Wheeler-Howard Act, encouraged tribes to create constitutions. Tribes were incentivized with federal subsidies to create tribal constitutions that would replace existing tribal governments with constitutional governments, often modeled after the United...