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


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

Document Type



Few jurisdictional issues are as complex and controversial as the question of regulatory jurisdiction over activities occurring in Indian Country. Thefederal 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 theways in which the decisions affect the current status of tribal, state, and federal authority over non-Indian resource development in Indian Country.


Proc. Rocky Mtn. Min. L. Inst.

Publication Title

Proceedings of the Rocky Mountain Mining Law Institute

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