VIII.  Case Study in Funding Inequity

Law Enforcement and Tribal Courts



"The Law and Order situation is critical....It is obvious to every careful observer...that our present procedure is utterly inadequate and that, if anything, it increases rather than decreases crime."[1]



History of Federal Involvement in Tribal Law Enforcement and Dispute Resolution in California


Beginning in 1870, civilian reservations established by federal statute and Executive Order replaced the five military reservations first set aside for California Indians.  Maintenance of law and order and resolution of disputes on these new civilian reservations was, in keeping with standard principles of federal Indian law, a federal and tribal ––  not a state –– responsibility.  The tribes, however, were poorly positioned to discharge that responsibility  through the early decades of the twentieth century.  Years of population loss and dislocation had disrupted tribal social and political organization.  To make matters worse, the Indian Service undermined traditional or popularly elected leaders by appointing more compliant individuals to speak for the tribes and to serve as links for the distribution of meager federal benefits.  Just as new social and economic conditions engendered new types of conflicts, both among tribal members and with outsiders, tribal institutions were less able to respond.  Writing in 1917 in the case of Anderson v. Mathews,[2]  the California Supreme Court described a group of Indians residing in Central California as having


no tribal laws or regulations, and no organization or means of enforcing any such laws or regulations. The only sort of communal organization or semblance of political autonomy it has consists of the fact that one of them has the title of "Captain," and is treated as their leader or spokesman and receives some deference and respect on that account.  But he has no authority.  Disputes are sometimes submitted to him for settlement, but his decisions are considered wholly advisory.  Each party accepts or rejects them as he chooses, and there is neither enforcement nor means of enforcement thereof.


This account doubtless suffers from an ethnocentric conception of government as entailing specific forms of state coercion.  In pre–contact times, tribal political–legal institutions  often functioned effectively without the use of incarceration or execution of judgments through levies on members' property.  Furthermore, traditional tribal legal processes often "went underground" in response to non–Indian hostilities, functioning outside the knowledge of state officials.  Nonetheless, it is true that contact with non–Indians weakened the clan, family, and religious institutions that had supported tribal authority systems.


Under these circumstances, one might expect the federal government to step in to supply the needs for law enforcement and dispute resolution.  Given the pro–assimilationist ideology of the time, federal support to revitalize tribal institutions was not a realistic alternative.  In fact, the federal government neither supported tribal governments nor provided an effective legal system for tribal members. 


Theoretically, Bureau of Indian Affairs Indian police and "special officers" were responsible for policing California reservations.  Also, the federal government could supply criminal courts and civil dispute resolution through Courts of Indian Offenses, which were established by Interior Department regulations and enforced a code promulgated by the Department rather than by Congress.  The reality was far different, however.  Too few Indian and special officers were assigned to the California reservations to provide meaningful law enforcement.  And Courts of Indian Offenses, which existed on reservations elsewhere in the country, could not be found in California through the middle of the twentieth century.[3]  Indian Agent Charles Porter wrote from California in 1883, for example, that the Hoopa Reservation in Northern California was filled with internal dissension, making it impossible to organize either Indian police or Courts of Indian Offenses.[4]  In a 1941 memorandum to California B.I.A. Superintendent John Rockwell, the Bureau's Chief Special Officer related the problems of reservation law enforcement to the absence of Courts of Indian Offenses.  In his view, the absence of such courts made it impossible for officers to make legal arrests, other than for the ten major crimes enacted by Congress in 1886 and for violation of special Indian liquor laws.[5]  This limitation existed because officers were authorized by law only to make arrests for the purpose of sending wrongdoers to court.  At that time, the law enforcement personnel consisted of two Special Officers and roughly eleven Indian police officers for the entire state.  The Chief Special Officer pointed out that unless courts of competent jurisdiction were provided, it was futile to increase enforcement personnel.  Meanwhile, the assaults, batteries, attempted rapes, and other offenses falling outside the scope of the Major Crimes Act and liquor laws continued to plague Indians who had no protection and no legal recourse.[6]


In the area of civil dispute resolution, the federal government was of no greater service to California tribes and their members.  Problems with outsiders who trampled upon Indian rights were particularly acute.  Non–Indians trespassed on Indian lands, cut their timber, and diverted their water with relative impunity, almost daring the United States as trustee to take action.[7]  Rarely was any federal response forthcoming.  In the case of Round Valley, for example, political pressure from non–Indians caused the United States attorney to withdraw federal actions against non–Indian trespassers.[8]  Disputes among tribal members also had no recourse before the federal government.  Indeed, it was a dispute over land rights on the Hoopa Reservation in California that led to the homicide prosecuted by the federal government in the landmark Indian law case of U.S. v. Kagama.[9]  Kagama and Lyouse were Klamath Indians who had been relocated onto the Hoopa Reservation.  Kagama wanted to build a house on the reservation, but Lyouse laid claim to the same site.  Kagama requested clarification from the reservation Indian agent, who in turn directed the request to Washington.  The Bureau did not respond, and the dispute between the two Klamaths escalated into homicide.[10]  Lack of federal assistance in this case was fatal. 


Toward the end of the second decade of the twentieth century, members of several Southern California tribes concluded that the federal government would never offer adequate services in the areas of law enforcement and dispute resolution.  So they formed the Mission Indian Federation, an association of tribal members and non–Indian allies that lobbied against the Bureau and organized its own police force and judiciary to challenge the Bureau's authority.[11]  Until the 1950s, many Southern California reservations had two organizations:  an elected spokesman and councils opposed by a Mission Indian Federation group, generally direct descendants of traditional leaders followed by traditional families.  The Mission Indian Federation has a controversial legacy, because its leaders lent strong support to Public Law 280 and state jurisdiction, while forcefully opposing allotment.  Tribal members perceived as friendly to the Bureau or to allotment received harsh treatment from Federation police; and some Indians found the Federation police to be as abusive as officers from the Bureau.[12]  Although the organization faded away in the 1950s, it offered a model of Indian self–determination in the area of dispute resolution and law enforcement that the federal government has never nurtured in California, even as it has aided tribes in other states.    


Contemporary Inequities in the Federal Government’s Law Enforcement and Tribal Courts Support for California


With the enactment of Public Law 280 in 1953, California and five other states received criminal jurisdiction and civil judicial jurisdiction on reservations, subject to certain exceptions.[13]  Through the same legislation, the federal government relinquished its criminal jurisdiction.  Federal funding for law enforcement in California, never robust, disappeared almost entirely. 


While California tribes were being abandoned to the state, an altogether different development was occurring in the non–Public Law 280 states.  Beginning in 1959, with the case of Williams v. Lee,[14] tribal authority over civil and criminal disputes in Indian Country was increasingly recognized by the Supreme Court.  Soon thereafter, a national policy of self–determination for tribes became ascendant and with it federal support for tribal governing institutions such as police and judicial systems.  As of 1995, the B.I.A. was allocating $80,440,000 per year for tribal law enforcement and another $14,102,000 for Indian judicial services.


California tribes have garnered hardly any of that money.  Of the approximately $500,000 in law enforcement monies allocated per year in the early 1990s, $100,000–$300,000 had to be diverted from the affected tribes' adult and vocational education programs.[15]  And this money went to the counties of San Diego and Riverside –– which were given contracts to supplement law enforcement on local reservations –– not to the tribes themselves.  The per capita spending on law enforcement was $11.24 for California in 1995 (or $5.62, using the "real" service population figures), compared with a national per capita expenditure of $67.94 (see Table VIII–1).


Given the absence of support for tribal law enforcement, it should come as little surprise that there are scarcely any tribal courts in California.  The approximately 200 reservations outside California have approximately 150 tribal courts, almost all of which receive federal assistance.  In California, only two of the approximately 100 federally recognized tribes have tribal courts, and one of these two (Fort Mojave) is a tribe that straddles Arizona and California and receives its federal funding through the Bureau area office in Phoenix.  The other California tribe with a tribal court (Hupa) receives federal funding through a special self–governance program, thereby avoiding the standard federal funding policies that disadvantage California tribes.  Two efforts are underway to develop consortium courts serving groups of tribes –– one in Southern California dealing exclusively with child welfare matters, and one in Mendocino County in Northern California.  Limited federal funding has been available for these initiatives.  In most years, Sacramento has received no money at all for tribal courts, compared with national per capita spending of $11.91 (see Table VIII–2).


Why have California tribes lost access to most federal funds for law enforcement and court systems?  Over the years the Bureau of Indian Affairs has offered several justifications, but none withstands careful scrutiny, and some have recently been repudiated by the Congress and by other federal and state agencies.


Justification One:  Lack of tribal concurrent jurisdiction 


If Public Law 280 had the effect of extinguishing tribal criminal and civil jurisdiction on reservations, there would be ample justification for denying federal support for tribal law enforcement and judiciaries in California.  In fact, however, the weight of legal authority affirms continued tribal jurisdiction concurrent with states under Public Law 280.  This authority includes two federal appellate decisions, from the Eighth and Ninth circuits,[16] an Opinion of the Solicitor of the Department of the Interior,[17] Attorney General opinions in two Public Law 280 states other than California,[18] and a state court opinion from Alaska.[19]  The leading treatise on federal Indian law also propounds the view that tribal jurisdiction is concurrent in Public Law 280 states.[20]  A basic principle of Indian law undergirds this widely held position –– the principle that federal legislation should not be interpreted to divest tribes of sovereign authority unless it clearly reflects Congress's intent to do so.  Nothing in Public Law 280 expresses the will of Congress to eradicate concurrent tribal jurisdiction.  Indeed, the legislative history indicates that Congress intended for tribes to persist as governing bodies.[21]  Of all the six Public Law 280 states, California has been the most resistant to concurrent tribal jurisdiction, in one instance arresting tribal officers who were attempting to exercise criminal jurisdiction over Indians on tribal land.[22]  California's aberrant position on the question of concurrent jurisdiction should not justify an absence of federal support, however.  



Justification Two:  California tribes are not "historic" tribes with inherent jurisdiction 


Even if concurrent tribal jurisdiction survives Public Law 280 as a general matter, there could be some circumstance that prevents particular tribes from exercising that jurisdiction.  Until quite recently, the Department of Interior maintained that just such an obstacle existed for many California tribes, although it never so informed the affected groups.  Specifically, the Department adopted the view that many federally recognized groups in California were not "historic tribes," in the sense of having existed as tribes before federal recognition occurred.  In the Department's opinion, only "historic tribes" possessed inherent civil and criminal jurisdiction that could function concurrently with state jurisdiction in Public Law 280 states.[23]  Having taken that position, the Department had a convenient excuse for refusing to fund tribal law enforcement and dispute resolution in California.  In the fall of 1994, however, Congress rejected the Department's treatment of California tribes and insisted that they be placed on equal footing with tribes elsewhere in the nation.  A more detailed account of the Department's position and Congress's response follows. 


For almost sixty years the Department of Interior has been distinguishing between "historic" and "created" Indian tribes without notifying the affected tribes.[24]  A Solicitor's Opinion written soon after the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) was adopted in 1934 interpreted section 16 of the IRA to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to categorize Indian tribes into these two groups.[25]  The Department made this distinction on the basis of whether a reservation had been established for a tribe that had been removed from their aboriginal homesteads by the federal government.[26]  The Department concluded that the groups located on "rancherias" in California were "created" tribes because the rancherias were established to alleviate a homeless Indian problem in California rather than to reserve land for a particular tribe.


According to the Department's policy, only "historic" tribes were regarded as maintaining their inherent sovereign powers, including the authority to govern their lands.  "Created" tribes were deemed to possess only those authorities that were expressly conferred by the Secretary of Interior.[27]  Among other things, "created" tribes were determined to lack the authority to establish judicial systems.  According to Bureau of Indian Affairs officials in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento, the majority of tribes located in California had been classified as "created" tribes.  Indeed, one Bureau official in Sacramento has said that the concept of "inherent powers" was taboo in California.[28]  However, neither California tribes nor Congress was aware of this distinction until the Pasqua Yaqui tribe of Arizona was denied Bureau funding on the basis of this classification and that tribe brought the situation to the attention of Congress in 1993.


Almost identical bills were introduced in both the House and the Senate to amend the IRA to prohibit the Department of Interior or any other federal agency or official from distinguishing among Indian tribes or classifying them on the basis of the IRA or any other federal law.  Senator Daniel Inouye, then Chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, said that this legislation was intended to make it clear that it is and always has been federal law and policy that Indian tribes recognized by the federal government stand on an equal footing with each other and in relation to the federal government.[29]  Senator John McCain, then the ranking minority member on the committee, announced that "[a]fter careful review, I can find no basis in law or policy for the manner in which Section 16 [of the IRA] has been interpreted by the Department of the Interior."[30]  He pointed out further that the policy of classifying certain tribes as "created" ignored the fundamental fact that neither Congress nor the Secretary of the Interior has the authority to create an Indian tribe.  The federal government recognizes Indian tribes, but it cannot create them.  He also noted that the Department's interpretation of Section 16 conflicted with the underlying principles of the IRA, which were to stabilize Indian tribal governments and to encourage self–government. 


With such broad bipartisan support, the bills that repudiated the distinction between "historic" and "created" tribes were passed and signed into law in May, 1994.  As a consequence, the distinction no longer serves as a justification for denying federal law enforcement and dispute resolution funds to California tribes. 


Justification Three:  Availability of state law enforcement and courts as a result of Public Law 280 


Bureau funding for law enforcement and judicial services is paid out under the general terms of the Snyder Act, which authorizes expenditures for "the benefit, care, and assistance of Indians throughout the United States."[31]  When California tribes and Bureau personnel in the Sacramento Area Office have requested law enforcement and tribal courts allocations for California, however, the most common Bureau response has been that the funds are not available for tribes located in states that have assumed jurisdiction under Public Law 280 or comparable statutes.  Indeed, a federal document that describes programs available for Indians states that the objective of "Indian Law Enforcement Services" is to "[m]aintain criminal justice systems within Indian reservations, Indian country, or dependent Indian communities, where the States have not assumed such responsibilities in conjunction with Indian tribes affected."  The separate program for "Indian Judicial Services" –– which supports tribal court management, civil and criminal jurisdiction, training of judicial personnel, codes, and procedures and court standards –– is not similarly limited to tribes in states lacking jurisdiction; as a practical matter, however, tribes without law enforcement funds may find it unfeasible to operate a court system or to support a system of alternative dispute resolution. 


There are two problems with using Public Law 280 as an excuse for refusing to fund California tribes.  First, tribes in Public Law 280 states other than California are receiving Bureau funds for law enforcement and tribal courts.  Second, the existence of state jurisdiction does not remove the need for tribal law enforcement, courts, alternative forms of dispute resolution, some of which are rooted in tribal traditions and customs.  Each of these problems will be elaborated below.


In Wisconsin, and Oregon—both Public Law 280 states—the Bureau allocates funds for law enforcement and judicial services.  How does this come about?  According to Lester Marsten, Chief Judge for the Grande Ronde tribe in Oregon, area offices that include a mix of Public Law 280 and non–Public Law 280 states typically have a large program item for law enforcement and judicial services for the tribes in the non–Public Law 280 states.  For such area offices, it is relatively easy to have that program item increased to accommodate an additional tribal government in a non–Public Law 280 state.  Thus Grande Ronde, located in a Public Law 280 state, requested a Bureau contract to carry out judicial services, and the funds came through the area office in Portland. This Portland Area Office serves not only the Oregon tribes, but also tribes in Washington, a state that has not assumed full Public Law 280 jurisdiction.  The preexisting line item for judicial services for the Washington tribes made the addition of funding for Grande Ronde relatively noncontroversial.  In contrast, adding a major law enforcement or judicial services item for the Sacramento Area Office would represent a significant and controversial policy decision.  Nonetheless, it is disingenuous for the Bureau to use Public Law 280 as a justification for denying funds to California tribes when it is offering funding to tribes in other Public Law 280 states.


The second problem with the Bureau's position regarding funding and Public Law 280 is that tribes in Public Law 280 states continue to have substantial law enforcement and dispute resolution needs, even with the existence of state jurisdiction.  In the more than forty years since its enactment, Public Law 280 has received four types of judicial interpretations that limit the scope of state jurisdiction: 


––  Under the language of the statute, only statewide laws may be enforced under Public Law 280, not county or city ordinances.[32]  Thus city rent control ordinances[33] and county dog license ordinances[34] have been held unenforceable in California because they are not laws of statewide application. 


––  Even statewide criminal laws may not be enforced under Public Law 280 if they are essentially "regulatory" rather than "prohibitory" in nature.  The Supreme Court introduced this distinction in an effort to limit the corrosive effects of Public Law 280 on tribal sovereignty.[35]  Actually separating the "regulatory" from the "prohibitory" laws is a daunting challenge, however; the most one can say is that courts seem to focus on whether the state allows the activity under some controlled circumstances or whether the activity is completely outlawed.  Nonetheless, it is clear that many state laws have been excluded from state jurisdiction as a consequence of efforts to apply the distinction.  State bingo laws[36] and speeding laws[37] are only two examples of such exclusions from state jurisdiction.    Furthermore, state civil laws that form part of a state regulatory regime,  such as licensing laws, are not rendered applicable to tribes by virtue of Public Law 280.


Certain  matters fundamental to the definition and internal workings of the tribe, such as tribal enrollment and domestic relations matters, may be outside the subject matter jurisdiction of the state, notwithstanding the enactment of Public Law 280.  Although this question is as yet  unresolved in the courts,  it is arguable that freedom of association or inherent tribal sovereignty precludes any outside authority—federal or state—from making determinations about such matters as paternity involving tribal members.  Attorneys representing tribal members in California have argued strenuously that Public Law 280 did not override such exclusive tribal jurisdiction.  They have focused specifically on the fact that Public Law 280 makes no explicit reference to limiting the tribe’s authority.[38]


––  Public Law 280 expressly denies states power to legislate concerning certain matters, particularly property held in trust by the United States and federally guaranteed hunting, trapping, and fishing rights.  These exceptions to state jurisdiction were included in Public Law 280 because Congress feared that it would be abrogating treaty or statutory rights and would be responsible to compensate the tribes for the loss of these rights.  Over the years, courts have interpreted these exceptions to state jurisdiction broadly. Thus state zoning laws,[39] laws restricting outdoor advertising,[40] unlawful detainer or eviction laws,[41] among others, are unenforceable on California reservations, with the possible exception of some fee patent lands within the reservations.  State fish and game laws are unenforceable against tribal members on California reservations.[42]


––  Several statutes enacted after Public Law 280 have reduced the amount of jurisdiction available to states under the 1953 law, simultaneously increasing tribal sovereignty or federal power.  For example, federal environmental laws such as the Safe Drinking Water Act give tribes rather than states primary enforcement responsibility for control of contaminants in drinking water on reservations.[43]  The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988[44] illustrates how a subsequent federal statute can eradicate state jurisdiction under Public Law 280.  Of course, to the extent that state anti–gaming laws are "regulatory" rather than "prohibitory," they never applied to reservations under Public Law 280.  But the few purely criminal state gaming laws that became applicable under Public Law 280 are now inapplicable because the 1988 Act substituted a regime of tribal and federal jurisdiction.  For Class II gaming, the Act explicitly prohibits state jurisdiction.  For Class III gaming, the Act allows state jurisdiction, but only pursuant to a tribal–state compact.  Otherwise, the law enforcement mechanisms are all tribal and federal. 


With all these exclusions from state jurisdiction under Public Law 280, it is unrealistic to expect tribes to rely entirely on state government for their law enforcement and dispute resolution needs.  Indeed, without tribal law enforcement and courts, there is a near vacuum of authority over certain problem areas, sometimes leading to violent or disruptive self–help measures.[45] 


Even where states possess jurisdiction under Public Law 280, they do not often exercise it diligently or effectively.  Hence, a need for concurrent tribal jurisdiction remains.  Ever since the enactment of Public Law 280, complaints have issued from states and tribes alike over the lack of state resources to fund law enforcement and judicial services on reservations.  From the state perspective, the fact that Public Law 280 continued the tax–exempt status of reservation lands left them with an unfair deal –– new law enforcement responsibilities but no taxing authority to support them.  While some states responded to this dilemma by returning jurisdiction to the federal government,[46]  California's response was to give low priority to reservation law enforcement needs, leaving unaddressed everything from public disturbance, juvenile delinquency, trespass, public intoxication, domestic violence, and child neglect to murder, rape, robbery, and drug dealing. 


Every gathering and hearing on the subject of Public Law 280 brings forth illustrations of this problem.  For example, the Washoe tribe, with lands on either side of the Nevada–California border, has a police force in Nevada which complains that it must stand aside while crimes go unattended on the other side of the reservation.[47]  A recent Los Angeles Times article points out that the La Jolla Reservation in San Diego County has been overrun with drugs and violence, with six young tribal members murdered during a period of several months in the late 1980s.  According to a past tribal chair, when members called the Sheriff's Department to report a murder, it was usually an hour before a deputy arrived.  Anything short of homicide, and the wait for a sheriff's response was at least three days.  Sometimes no response came at all.  Even representatives of the Sheriff's Department acknowledged that the remoteness of the reservations, the cultural differences between the police and tribal members, and the uncertainties of jurisdiction law discouraged police responsiveness.[48]   These complaints are echoed in federal reports on Public Law 280.  In 1966, for example, a Senate subcommittee found that "Public Law 280...[has] resulted in a breakdown in the administration of justice to such a degree that Indians are being denied due process and equal protection of the law."[49]  The 1976 American Indian Policy Review Commission reached the same conclusion based on its own investigations.[50]

In 1990, the Bureau responded to this problem by shifting Southern California tribes' education funds over to law enforcement contracts with the counties of San Diego and Riverside.[51]  Under these contracts, the county sheriffs agreed to provide supplemental law enforcement services on the local reservations, and to instruct the deputies assigned to the reservations in relevant federal Indian law as well as in tribal customs and traditions.  While the local police presence on reservations increased,[52] many tribal members took a dim view of the contracts.  Indeed, a grass roots organization, Southern California Indians for Tribal Sovereignty (SCITS), was formed around opposition to these agreements.  Opponents of the contracts registered several serious concerns:  first, the deputies who operated on the reservations were often heavy–handed, insensitive to tribal governing structures, and ignorant of tribal customs; second, the counties should not have received payment for performing their federally mandated law enforcement duties, especially when the necessary funds had to be transferred from important tribal education programs; third, the widely articulated federal policy supporting tribal sovereignty suggests that federal money should not be used to reinforce state jurisdiction on reservations, but rather to finance tribal law enforcement.[53]  As tribal leaders who had originally backed the contracts switched their views, the agreements with San Diego and Riverside counties were terminated. 


Public Law 280 cannot justify the near total lack of federal support for tribal law enforcement and dispute resolution.  Large gaps in the state jurisdiction created by the law as well as failure by the state to discharge its law enforcement responsibilities create a genuine need for tribal institutions.  Indeed, the diversion of tribal education funds to county sheriffs demonstrates how desperate the need is for new sources of federal funds from the Bureau.  Tribes in California have tried to be resourceful, looking to other federal agencies for money to support law enforcement and dispute resolution.  The Administration for Native Americans in the Commerce Department, for example, has given planning money to some California tribes that wish to establish tribal codes and court systems.  The recent Crime Bill has funding provisions for community policing that are open to all tribes; and the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Indian Health Service may be sources of tribal funds for law enforcement problems relating to housing and child abuse, respectively.  For non–California tribes, however, even many in other Public Law 280 states, these non–Bureau sources are over and above the standard Bureau funding levels for law enforcement and courts.  California tribes should be placed in the same position as these other tribes.


In sum, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has not successfully defended California's meager allocation of law enforcement and court funding.  California tribes clearly possess civil and criminal jurisdiction, even following the enactment of Public Law 280.  To use the state's jurisdiction as a justification for not funding California tribes overlooks the treatment of tribes in other Public Law 280 states, the absence of state jurisdiction over important matters of public safety and community welfare, and the inadequacies of state jurisdiction even where it exists.  California tribes need funds to determine whether they wish to establish their own law enforcement and justice systems, either alone or as part of consortia of tribes.  Some tribes may prefer to contract with state and local governments for the delivery of such services, or to retain the status quo.  But whatever they may choose, California tribes should receive federal financial support that will allow for effective law enforcement and dispute resolution on their reservations.

[1]   John Rockwell, The Status of the Indian in California Today 126 (1944).

[2]   174 Cal. 537 (1917).

[3]   The absence of these Courts of Indian Offenses in California was a mixed blessing.  In other parts of the country, these courts often served to suppress Indian culture and to override traditional Indian dispute resolution systems.  William Hagan, Indian Police and Judges:  Experiments in Acculturation and Control (Yale University Press, 1966).  Sometime after the passage of Public Law 280 in 1953, a Court of Indian Offenses was established on the Hoopa Reservation exclusively for the purpose of prosecuting fish and game violations.   

[4]   Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1883, "Reports of Agents in California," 13.

[5]   In addition to the Major Crimes Act, there are federal statutes penalizing a variety of offenses when committed within "Indian Country," but only when the perpetrator is non–Indian and the victim is Indian or vice versa.  See 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1152.

[6]   Proposed Report of H.R. 2841, included in letter from J.R. Venning, Chief, Law and Order Section, United States Department of the Interior, Office of Indian Affairs to John G. Rockwell, Superintendent, Sacramento Indian Agency, July 3, 1943.

[7]   1872 Report of Commission of Indian Affairs, quoted in Helen Hunt Jackson, A Century of Dishonor 456 (1885); 1905 Kelsey Report, pp. 10–11.

[8]   1872 Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, quoted in Helen Hunt Jackson, A Century of Dishonor 456 (1995).

[9]   118 U.S. 375 (1886).

[10]   An account of this case can be found in Sidney Harring, Crow Dog's Case:  American Indian Sovereignty, Tribal Law, and United States Law in the Nineteenth Century 144–45 (Cambridge University Press, 1994).

[11]   Edward Castillo, "Twentieth–Century Secular Movements," in Handbook of North American Indians 715 (1978).  A similar organization, the California Federated Indians, formed in northern California.

[12]   Florence Shipek in Encyclopedia of North American Indians, Twentieth Century.  Letter from Max Mazzetti to Pauline Girvin, June 17, 1995.

[13]   See Goldberg, "Public Law 280:  The Limits of State Jurisdiction over Reservation Indians," 22 UCLA Law Review 535 (1975).

[14]   358 U.S. 217 (1959).

[15]   This problem is described in great detail in the text accompanying footnotes 50–52 of this section.

[16]   Native Village of Venetie IRA Council v. Alaska, 944 F.2d 548, 552 (9th Cir. 1991); Walker v. Rushing, 898 F.2d 672 (8th Cir. 1990).

[17]   Opinion of Nov. 14, 1978, 6 Indian Law Reporter H–1.

[18]   70 Op. Att'y Gen. Wisc. 237, 243 (1981); Opinion No. 48, Opinion Letter from Robert M. Spire, Attorney General of Nebraska to State Senate James E. Goll (March 28, 1985).  The Washington Attorney General has indicated that tribes retain concurrent jurisdiction under Public Law 280, but has opined that such jurisdiction is valid only insofar as its exercise does not conflict with state law.  Opinion of the Attorney General of the state of Washington, 1980.

[19]   Fawcett v. Fawcett, No. IDE–78–537 (Alaska Super. Ct., Feb. 24, 1986).

[20]   F. Cohen, Handbook of Federal Indian Law 345 (Strickland et al, eds. 1982).

[21]   See Goldberg, "Public Law 280:  The Limits of State Jurisdiction over Reservation Indians," 22 UCLA Law Review 535 (1975).

[22]   See Chemehuevi v. Dick Williams, Civ. No. SACV 920386 GLT (RWRX).  Although the tribe sued in 1992 to enforce its right to exercise concurrent criminal jurisdiction over Chemehuevi lands, the tribe dropped the lawsuit before the case was heard.  Under the administration of the current incumbent, Dan Lundgren, the Attorney General's office seems to be more receptive to the idea of concurrent jurisdiction but still refuses to concede that such jurisdiction exists.  Conversations with Tom Gede, Special Assistant Deputy Attorney General, October, 1994 and December, 1995.

[23]   In a related matter, the Bureau refused to accept revisions of the constitution of the Jamul tribe which would have permitted members to be 1/4 rather than 1/2 blood, on the ground that the Jamul are not a "historic" tribe.  Letter from Carol Bacon, Director, Office of Tribal Services, B.I.A., to Raymond Hunter, Chairman, Jamul Indian Village, July 1, 1993.

[24]   See statements by Senator Daniel Inouye, 140 Congressional Record page S. 4278 (April 14, 1994); interviews by Tim Seward with B.I.A. personnel Ray Fry and Betty Rushing, 1993.

[25]   The IRA created a framework for the organization of tribal governments that was available to any Indian "tribe," which was defined to include "the Indians residing on one reservation."  Section 19, 48 Stat. 984 (1934).

[26]   Statement by Senator Daniel Inouye, 140 Congressional Record p. S.6146 (May 19, 1994).

[27]   See 140 Congressional Record p. E663 (April 14, 1994), comments by Representative Richardson, Chair of the Subcommittee on Native American Affairs of the Committee on Natural Resources.

[28]   Tim Seward interview with Raymond Fry, 1993.

[29]   140 Congressional Record S6147 (May 19, 1994).

[30]   140 Congressional Record p. S6146 (May 19, 1994).

[31]   25 U.S.C. sec. 13.

[32]   California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, 480 U.S. 202, 212 fn. 11 (1987) (stating that such jurisdiction was questionable, but not resolving the issue); Santa Rosa Band of Indians v. Kings County, 532 F.2d 655 (9th Cir. 1975).

[33]    See Zachary v. Wilk, 173 Cal. App.3d 754 (1985).

[34]   People v. Lowry, 34 Cal.Rptr.2d 382 (Cal.Super. 1994).

[35]   See Bryan v. Itasca County, 426 U.S. 363 (1976).

[36]   California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, 480 U.S. 202 (1987).

[37]   Confederated Tribes of Colville Reservation v. Washington, 938 F.2d 146 (9th Cir. 1991).

[38]   See, e.g., Briefs for Appellants in County of Inyo v. Huette, Court of Appeal No. E015837, California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Two, 1995.

[39]   Santa Rosa, note 32 supra.

[40]   People v. Naegele Outdoor Advertising Co., 38 Cal.3d 509, 213 Cal.Rptr. 247 (1985).

[41]   All Mission Indian Housing Authority v. Silvas, 680 F. Supp. 330 (C.D.Cal. 1987).

[42]   People v. McCovey, 36 cal. ed 517 (1984); Mattz v. Superior Court, 46 Cal. 3d 355 (1988).

[43]   42 U.S.C. sec 300j.

[44]   25 U.S.C. secs. 2701 et seq.

[45]   See Section XI of this report, infra.  In some of these instances where the state lacks jurisdiction, federal courts are open for civil dispute resolution and occasionally for criminal prosecutions.  For example, evictions from tribal housing and enforcement of federal trust responsibility are actions that may be brought into federal court.  Federal law also makes it a federal offense to violate tribal hunting and fishing rules on reservations.  Such federal intervention is often difficult to achieve in practice, however, for reasons of cost, distance, and formality.  Local tribal courts could be much more effective in resolving tribal disputes.

[46]   For example, Washington State retroceded jurisdiction over several reservations, and Nevada retroceded jurisdiction over the Ely Colony. 

[47]   Interview of Tim Seward with Washoe Tribal Police Chief Captain Lionel Adhunko, September, 1994, and Washoe Tribal Police incident reports from 7/92–5/94, cited in Seward and Goldberg–Ambrose, p. 31 n.121.

[48]   Amy Wallace, "No More No–Man's–Land," Los Angeles Times, June 17, 1991.

[49]   Public Law 280:  Legislative History, Background Report on Public Law 280, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs:  United States Senate, 94th Congress, 1st Session, 29–30 (1975).  

[50]   Final Report of American Indian Policy Review Commission (1976).

[51]   Tribal resolutions supported these shifts, but the tribal leaders did not always have full support of their members.  See discussion infra.

[52]   Wallace, "No More No–Man's Land”; "Statement on Public Law 280 and Law Enforcement," delivered by Southern California Indians for Tribal Sovereignty, September 11, 1991.

[53]   Statement on Public Law 280 and Law Enforcement delivered by Southern California Indians for Tribal Sovereignty, September 11, 1991.  Although many California tribes are so small that it would be inefficient for each one to form a separate police force, such tribes could either form consortia to achieve economies or they could contract with the counties for enforcement of tribal law.