IRS Logo
Print - Click this link to Print this page

ITG FAQ #4 Answer-What is Indian Country?

In Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, Part I. Crimes, Chapter 53. Indians, or 18 USCS @1151, Indian Country was defined in 1948. It says, "Except as otherwise provided in sections 1154 and 1156 of this title, the term 'Indian Country', as used in this chapter {18 USCS @ 1151 et. seq.}, means (a) all land within the limits of any Indian reservation under the jurisdiction of the United States Government, notwithstanding the issuance of any patent, and, including rights-of-way running through the reservation, (b) all dependent Indian communities within the borders of the United States whether within the original or subsequently acquired territory thereof, and whether within or without the limits of a state, and (c) all Indian allotments, the Indian titles to which have not been extinguished, including rights-of-way running through the same".

The codified definition above was enacted in regard to criminal statutes. For application of the IRC as it pertains to Indian tribes, civil courts rely on this statute in part. There is no generic definition for Indian Country applicable to all tribes. Treaties and more recent legislation, such as the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Return to List of FAQs

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 02-Aug-2016