Who’s in Charge Here? Tribal, State, and Federal Authority Over Non-Indian Resource Development in Indian Country

Proceedings of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute, Vol. 47, 2001

48 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2009

Date Written: August, 26 2009

Abstract

Few jurisdictional issues are as complex and controversial as the question of regulatory jurisdiction over activities occurring in Indian Country. The federal government, Indian tribes, and state governments have wrestled with the question for more than 200 years and yet many issues remain unresolved.

In the last twenty years, the U.S. Supreme Court has rendered a series of decisions restricting the scope of tribal authority over non-Indian activities in Indian Country, thereby opening the way for greater state control. This article evaluates the impact of those decisions on the ongoing controversy concerning regulatory control over non-Indian resource development in Indian Country. The article first reviews the key decisions. It then analyzes the ways in which the decisions affect the current status of tribal, state, and federal authority over non-Indian resource development in Indian Country.

Keywords: Tribal jurisdiction, Native American law, judicial restrictions, reservations, tribal sovereignty, federal and state jurisdiction, Montana v. United States (1981)

Suggested Citation

Worthen, Kevin J., Who’s in Charge Here? Tribal, State, and Federal Authority Over Non-Indian Resource Development in Indian Country (August, 26 2009). Proceedings of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute, Vol. 47, 2001, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1462383

Kevin J. Worthen (Contact Author)

BYU Law School ( email )

D-364 ASB
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602

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