I've read online that there are requisites for non natives to live in certain indian reservations. Is this true? Are there indian reservations in United States where you can't live if you aren't a tribal member?


This may be true of the Nooksack tribe, in a sense. There is a category of Indian land known as trust land, which is held in trust by the US Government for the benefit of a tribe (there is also land that is just plain owned by the tribe). A tribe can thus set rules regarding use of the land that they control, which could mean that nobody can live in a particular place (not uncommon). The tribe could rent out land, and the rental agreement could contain a tribal membership clause. This complaint by the Nooksack Indian Housing Authority alleges that defendant is not a member of the tribe, and that the rental agreement requires defendant to be an enrolled member of the tribe. Defendant was disenrolled, and the eviction action followed. Non-member evictions are not the most popular actions that a tribe undertakes, so finding those rules online is not going to be easy.

  • Does this mean in a sense that indian reservations have more rights than states? Since as far as I understand, since 1965 they can vote in US elections, and they can also choose who lives in their reservations, something states can't do ? – Pablo Aug 30 '19 at 15:58
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    Reservations (real estate) have zero rights, but tribes (a political unit) have rights. A state can decide who lives on property owned / held by the state. A tribe cannot control private land within the boundaries of a reservation, only trust land and land directly owned by the tribe. Same as a state. – user6726 Aug 30 '19 at 16:03

Tribes were original recognized under treaties. They are currently recognized as "nations". They are not states and have their own sovereignty. e.g. It's complicated.

Tribal Nation

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    It's complicated, because tribes have varying degrees of sovereignty and federal and state governments have varying degrees of jurisdiction on reservations. – BlueDogRanch Aug 30 '19 at 17:07
  • But people in those nations can actually vote for president of the United States, can't they? – Pablo Aug 30 '19 at 21:19

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