Montana v United States 450 US 544 1981: sources and scope of the power of an Indian tribe to regulate hunting and fishing on by nonmembers of the tribe on non-Indian property within reservation boundaries

This case concerns the sources and scope of the power of an Indian tribe to regulate hunting and fishing on by nonmembers of the tribe on non-Indian property within reservation boundaries. In Wheeler the court distinguished between powers retained by the tribe and those divested. Thus in addition to the power to punish tribal offenders, the tribes retain their inherent power to determine tribal membership, to regulate domestic relations and to prescribe rules of inheritance. But exercise of power beyond what is necessary to protect tribal self –government or to control internal relations is inconsistent with the dependent status of the tribes and so cannot survive without express congressional delegation. Since regulation of hunting and fishing by nonmembers of a tribe on lands no longer owned by the tribe bears no clear relationship to tribal self-government or internal relations the general principles of inherent sovereignty did not authorize the tribe to adopt the resolution.

| Return to Topic Menu | Return to Main Menu |