Michigan is home to a total of twelve federally-acknowledged Indian tribes that enjoy a special status under federal law and treaties. Federally acknowledged tribes are not merely organizations of citizens who happen to be of Native American descent. Rather, they are sovereign governments that exercise direct jurisdiction over their members and territory and, under some circumstances, over other citizens as well. Tribal governments provide a wide array of governmental services to their members including lawmaking, tribal police and court systems, health and education services, and many more.
The state generally does not have legal authority over tribal governments and tribal members when they are inside the tribe's territory - those lands designated as the tribe's reservation or trust lands. Instead, the state interacts with tribes on a government-to-government basis. This has lead in recent years to a number of formal government-to-government agreements on a variety of subjects including such matters as treaty fishing rights, taxation, water quality issues, economic development, and casino gaming. On this web page you will find links to such agreements and to various state government resources and information regarding tribes and tribal issues. You also find links to the tribal government web site for each of the twelve tribes.
January/February 2001; Volume 3, Number 1