Federally-recognized tribes in the United States are considered “domestic dependent nations”– political entities with wide powers of self-governance. Federally recognized Indian tribes possess the inherent right to enact laws and be governed by them, even though they’re within the borders of the United States.
The self-governance and sovereign rights that tribes enjoy include:
- The right to form their own government.
- The power to create and apply both civil and criminal laws.
- The power to tax.
- The power to establish membership.
- The right to license, zone, and regulate activities.
- The power to engage in commercial activity.
- The power to exclude persons (Indian and non-Indian) from tribal territories.