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ITG FAQ #13 Answer-What is tribal sovereign immunity?

When Indian tribes first encountered Europeans, they were dealt with because of their strength in numbers and were treated as sovereign governments with whom treaties were made. When tribes gave up their lands to the U. S., they retained certain sovereignty over the lands they kept. While such sovereignty is limited today, it is nevertheless jealously guarded by the tribes against encroachments by other sovereign entities such as States. Tribes enjoy a direct government-to-government relationship with the U.S. government wherein they are consulted about decisions about their lands and people.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 11-Dec-2013