Traffic Q&A: Tribes exercise sovereignty with license plates

"Question: “I was driving in Tacoma yesterday and saw a car with a license plate that said “Yakama Indian Nation” on it.

I know tribes are supposed to be sovereign nations, but can they really issue their own license plates? -- Janine, University Place

Answer: A little-known but long-established law (RCW 6.16.022) allows recognized tribes to issue the equivalent of the exempt license plates used on federal or state government vehicles.

The Yakama Tribe is one of many tribes authorized by state law to use Native American Exempt license plates for use on vehicles owned by the tribe, according to the state Department of Licensing."

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Traffic Q&A: Tribes have power to issue exempt license plates (The Bellingham Herald 1/14)