Who Is In Charge When Non-Indians Settle on Indian Reservation Land?
Supreme Court justices questioned lawyers Wednesday about whether tribal sovereignty over Indian reservations applies to non-Indian settlements in a case that could affect the territorial boundaries of Indian reservations and tribes' rights to jurisdiction over that land.
Nebraska v. Parker involves an 1882 Act of Congress that authorized the sale of a small portion of the Omaha Tribe's land in Nebraska to non-Indian settlers. The village of Pender is the only settlement on that land. After the Omaha Tribe imposed an alcohol tax on its reservation in 2004, authorities in Pender said the town was not required to collect the tax because the 1882 Act set it outside the reservation's boundaries. The village seeks a diminishment of the reservation's territory, meaning the reservation's border would stop at Pender.