Tribal Governance

Perhaps the most well-known example of tribal governance is the Iroquois Confederacy, more accurately known as the Haudenosaunee. The Haudenosaunee are an organized group of six tribal nations — the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca, Cayuga and the Tuscarora — that came together during the 15th Century in the Eastern Great Lakes region region that includes sections of eight U.S. states (Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.) for purposes of peace and communal shared by all members of a community functionality.


Tribal Law

Tribal law, specific to each individual tribe and tribal group, has existed for hundreds of years and is firmly grounded in culture and religion, as well as clan An internal system of organization used by some American Indian tribes, familial and kinship A system of organization common among most American Indian tribes. Kinship moves beyond one’s immediate family to also include extended familial relations, clan members of both one’s mother and father, and other important built relationships systems of organization.

Today, the Haudenosaunee, along with hundreds of other tribal nations, continue to function as sovereign tribal governments that rely on more traditional forms of government yet incorporate a contemporary governmental framework.

Tribal Sovereignty

Tribal governance, including elections and voting, is an inherent part of tribal sovereignty The ability and authority to self-govern without interference. Each tribe’s sovereignty allows them to manage their own affairs independent of the federal and state governments.

Tribal governments uphold tribal constitutions, regulate tribal elections, create on-reservation laws, set and regulate on-reservation taxation, license, build infrastructure Buildings, roads and other physical structures that let society work, determine criteria for citizenship or enrollment, and consult directly with the federal government on policy, regulations, legislation and funding.

However, tribal governments differ in key ways from the federal and state governments; “tribal governments control or engage in commercial activities far more frequently than other governments.” Examples of commercial activities that tribes engage in include economic developments, tribal businesses like casinos or commercial fishing.