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PL-280 in Alaska Tribal Management Program Kevin M Illingworth J.D. University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Rural and Community Development 907-474-5710.

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Presentation on theme: "PL-280 in Alaska Tribal Management Program Kevin M Illingworth J.D. University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Rural and Community Development 907-474-5710."— Presentation transcript:

1 PL-280 in Alaska Tribal Management Program Kevin M Illingworth J.D. University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Rural and Community Development

2 What is P.L. 280? Public Law 280 is a ‘Termination Era’ law aimed at transferring jurisdiction from the federal government to the states. Alaska, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Oregon are mandatory PL 280 States. Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Montana and Washington are optional PL 280 states.

3 Pu blic Law State Jurisdiction over offenses committed by or against Indians in the Indian country (a)Each of the States or Territories listed in the following table shall have jurisdiction over offenses committed by or against Indians in the areas of Indian country listed opposite the name of the State or Territory to the same extent that such State or Territory has jurisdiction over offenses committed elsewhere within the State or Territory, and the criminal laws of such State or Territory shall have the same force and effect within such Indian country as they have elsewhere within the State or Territory. Alaska: All Indian country within the State, except that on Annette Islands, the Metlakatla Indian community may exercise jurisdiction over offenses committed by Indians in the same manner in which such jurisdiction may be exercised by Indian tribes in Indian country over which State jurisdiction has not been extended.

4 State civil jurisdiction in actions to which Indians are parties (a)Each of the States listed in the following table shall have jurisdiction over civil causes of action between Indians or to which Indians are parties which arise in the areas of Indian country listed opposite the name of the State to the same extent that such State has jurisdiction over other civil causes of action, and those civil laws of such State that are of general application to private persons or private property shall have the same force and effect within such Indian country as they have elsewhere within the State. Alaska: All Indian country within the State.

5 What is P.L. 280? Public Law 280 is a transfer to the State of: 1.criminal jurisdiction and 1.jurisdiction over civil causes of action (lawsuits) 1.…within Indian Country -Outside of Indian Country, the State of Alaska already has criminal jurisdiction, jurisdiction over civil causes of action, as well as regulatory jurisdiction.

6 What Impact Does P.L. 280 Have in Alaska Today? P.L. 280 has no significant legal impact in Alaska. But P.L. 280 has had a significant effect on Alaska tribes because Alaska Natives have been falsely led to believe that P.L. 280 was an obstacle to tribal jurisdiction. P.L. 280 is a grant of concurrent jurisdiction to the State, it does not terminate any jurisdiction or powers that tribes have.

7 Tribal Jurisdiction: P.L. 280 “By its very text, P.L. 280 applies only in Indian Country” -Alaska Supreme Court in John v. Baker “We conclude that ICWA section 1911(b) authorizes the transfer of jurisdiction to tribal courts regardless of P.L Alaska Supreme Court in C.R.H “The State cannot simultaneously assert that…there is no Indian Country and that PL 280 prevails.” Indian Law and Order Commission

8 Tribal Jurisdiction: P.L. 280 Despite PL 280, Tribes in Alaska retain concurrent criminal and civil jurisdiction over tribal members. “Do Alaska Native villages have inherent, non-territorial sovereignty allowing them to resolve domestic disputes between their own members?… we hold that Alaska Native tribes, by virtue of their inherent powers as sovereign nations, do possess that authority. … “But the powers of self-government, including the power to prescribe and enforce internal criminal laws… are not such powers as would necessarily be lost by virtue of a tribe's dependent status.” -Alaska Supreme Court in John v. Baker

9 What About Land Taken Into Trust? However, PL 280 did not transfer Regulatory Jurisdiction.  Tribes (not states) have regulatory jurisdiction within Indian Country. Land taken into Trust would be Indian Country and the Tribes would have jurisdiction over both tribal members and the land.  Through P.L. 280, the State of Alaska was delegated concurrent (shared) jurisdiction over criminal laws and civil causes of action within Indian Country. Tribes would also have clear concurrent jurisdiction over criminal cases and civil causes of action.

10 Why is Jurisdiction over Land Important A Government has broader jurisdiction (more legal authority) with Territorial Jurisdiction. Some jurisdiction is tied to control of the land: –Clear criminal jurisdiction and the ability to exclude people who enter the land. –Ability to raise revenue (taxation) –Civil regulatory jurisdiction: Environmental regulations (clean air/water) Gaming (casinos) Zoning, Development Hunting and fishing regulation

11 Chin'an Thank You


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