The Boldt Decision - the "Brown v. Board of Education" of Indian Law!

The NW Intertribal court is actually a direct result from the ruling of the Boldt Decision, which held that tribes have a right to 50% of the fish in the NW as promised by their Treaties with the United States.


Northwest Intertribal Court System
20818 44th Ave West Suite 120
Lynnwood, WA 98036
office (425) 774-5808 fax (425) 744-7704

The Northwest Intertribal Court System (NICS) is a consortium of Indian tribes based in Western Washington. These tribes have joined their resources to insure that each tribe is able to have its own court by sharing judges, prosecutors, and related court services.  NICS also assists member tribes in the development of their individual justice systems and provides personnel as needed to operate each tribal court. In addition to providing services to its member tribes, NICS has provided services on a fee-for-service basis to tribes in California, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Utah; and is available to provide consultation and court services to any tribe or first nation in the United States and Canada. A non-profit organization established in 1979, NICS has a Governing Board composed of a representative from each member tribe. The Governing Board sets all policy for the organization and selects both the executive director and the judges.

Indian Country Today
A new free database of tribal court appellate opinions is now available. “The Northwest Intertribal Court System (NICS) on June 26 launched a powerful online database providing attorneys and the public free access to hundreds of tribal court appellate opinions from 30 Indian tribes in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Northern California.”


Who Is Considered a Native American? Blood Quantums for Native Americans

For Native Americans, "blood quantum" is all about identity.
The term was first used in the 1700s by Colonial Virginia. Those who were more than 50% Native American had their rights restricted. Today, the federal government uses to determines the benefits a tribe receives based on its population. Different tribes have adopted their own levels of blood quantum. Some, including most of the Cherokee Nation, have abandoned blood quantum. They favor a simple ancestry based on rolls drawn up by a congressional commission in 1893. But many tribes are angered by this, saying that practically anyone can claim membership in the Cherokee tribe. For many, particularly the elders, blood quantum is a matter of pride - a simple, incontrovertible measure of Indian identity.

The National Indian Law Library (NILL)

National Indian Law Library 1522 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302 Phone: (303) 447-8760 Hours Mon.-Fri. 8:30-5.
is a public law library devoted to federal Indian and tribal law. Our mission is to develop and make accessible a unique and valuable collection of Indian law resources and other information relating to Native Americans. NILL places special emphasis on fulfilling the information needs of Indian law advocates and others working on behalf of Native Americans.

NARF encourages you to speak with your attorneys about joining in the historic alliance by submitting your codes, ordinances, constitutions and intergovernmental agreements to West and NARF for publication. By providing researchers and legal practitioners easy access to tribal law via Westlaw and NILL, tribal nations can effectively account for and strengthen their sovereign status and rights. Improved access to tribal law will promote justice and help judges, attorneys, tribal members, and the general public understand the unique relationship among the federal government, states and tribal nations. For information on how to participate in this project, please contact West at: or call 1-800-328-9378, ext. 73843. You also may contact David Selden, NARF's Law Librarian at NILL at: or 303-447-8760 x106.


First Nation People And the Law
Concept: Why aren't First Nation people citizens of the state in which they reside, and the answer is, they do not live in the state.
Reservation land is considered outside of the state even if it is enclosed by it.
Yes, they still do use public education, state roads, etc., and hence the taxation and sovereignty issues are very much disputed.

First Nation People living on reservation land and not in a state at large.

If an Indian moves onto state land, he or she is subject to the laws of the state and local ordinances.
For instance, reservation territory does not have to calibrate gasoline dispension, allow the State Health Department to inspect facilities, or follow state environmental laws. That, again, is on reservation land. The local assertion of the NYS Oneidas has been that any land they buy here should be removed from state tax rolls, and not subject to any state or local regulation. This was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of the City of Sherrill v.s. the Oneida Indian Nation a couple of years ago, though in most cases, the taxes are not yet paid.
The Supreme Court ruled that on land purchased off the reservation, taxes are due and they are subject to state and local laws unless the land is put into trust with the Office of I.B.A.

There are enormous issues of state v.s. Indian government sovereignty here. Yes, it is problematic. The land claim issue here revolves around land that was purchased by the State of NY long ago, but the purchase was not ratified by the U.S. Congress.
Only Congress pass laws regarding First Nation People.
Another example would be if I committed a crime on reservation landor if a crime was committed against me there, it would fall only to the First Nation Justice System which controls whatever happens on the reservation. No state or local laws would apply there. I could not take someone to court in the State of New York for committing a crime against me on the reservation. This is my understanding after signing a contract with their legal department.
Instead of having I.D. as citizens of the State of New York, they have clan cards.
The Oneidas used to use them off reservation to avoid sales tax in stores, but I believe that may have been struck down. Ex-governor Cuomo negotiated a pact with the Oneidas for a Casino, but that appears illegal because he was a representive of the State and not Federal Government. It is expected to be challenged in court.
States cannot negotiate pacts with foreign entities. Another example is the issue of school tax. Most Oneidas here attend public school off the reservation. They do not pay school tax. Instead they offer what is called the "Silver Covenant Grant." However, this money can, and has been withheld. In Stockbridge, the Nation was not pleased with a Native American teacher that the school felt was doing her job. The grant was withheld, and the school district was forced to fend for money in other ways, and cut back on programs in order to avoid firing the teacher. In other instances they have imposed that certain essays be assigned the students that show the Oneida in a certain light, threatening to withhold the grant money if the district did not comply.


Cowboy Banks Get Big Bucks as Indians Get Little: Ann Woolner