There is a full chapter in the United States Code of Federal Regulations devoted to Native Americans entitled “25 U.S. Code Title 25 – Indians.” Title 25 outlines the federal government’s obligation to Native Americans.
Tribal governments preceded the United States Constitution and an entire body of law has grown out of explaining and defining the continuing relationship between the federal government and tribes.
Tribes are sovereign nations, little countries within the boundaries of the United States. Tribes have a government to government relationship with the federal government and are not governed by states.
Except for some federal legislation where jurisdiction has been conditionally granted to states, states do not have jurisdiction over tribes.
As an in-house tribal attorney for a Wisconsin tribe for sixteen years, I gained a strong background in both federal and tribal law and valuable experience navigating the jurisdictional minefield in Indian Country. Additionally, I taught Federal Indian Law and Gaming law for the Falmouth Institute during my tenure as a tribal attorney, working in states around the country, both on and off reservations. My office provides legal support for numerous tribal agencies and consulting for entities unfamiliar with tribal government systems and tribal courts. I do not take cases against tribes and most of my work in tribal courts involves civil cases such as probate, land lord tenant or guardianships. I no longer take family law cases.