indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Indian Law Online Master Degree - University of Tulsa College of Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

Printer friendly version
N.M. opinion says tribes have 'given up' authority
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2003

Tribes in New Mexico do not have the authority to impose taxes on road projects that run through tribal land, the state's top law enforcer has determined.

In a January 23 opinion, attorney general Patricia Madrid said that tribes usually lack jurisdiction over the activities of non-members. Referring to a series of Supreme Court decisions seen as negative to Indian rights, she said tribes have "given up" their sovereignty on land where the projects occur.

"Under those decisions, a tribe generally has no inherent sovereign power to tax nonmembers who are working on a state highway project," she wrote.

Madrid was responding to a dispute that surfaced when the Navajo Nation sought to tax a state highway contractor. The tribe was asking for more than $250,000 for work being done on the reservation.

But since the project occurs on a right-of-way, she said the tribe lost civil or criminal authority over the land. She cited a federal law that authorizes the easements.

"The affected tribe consents to the grant and receives compensation," the opinion states. "None of the easements reserve general gatekeeping rights to the tribes."

The opinion applies to all reservation easements, Madrid argued, even though some tribes have recently retained greater control over rights-of-way in response to the court rulings. In those instances, she said the state retains "exclusive right to regulate, among other things, highway design, highway construction and highway maintenance."

Three Supreme Court rulings were part of the review. One was 1981's Montana case that limits tribal authority over non-member activity on non-Indian land. There are exceptions if there is a consensual relationship or if the activity in question affects the political integrity, the economic security or the health or welfare of the tribe.

The second was a 2001 decision that struck down the Navajo Nation's hotel tax. The court found no existence of a consensual relationship or any effect on the tribe's sovereignty.

Finally, Madrid cited 1997's Strate case that involved a right-of-way on a North Dakota reservation. The Supreme Court determined that an easement is equivalent to non-Indian owned land, thus the tribe lacks jurisdiction except under the Montana exceptions.

Get the Opinion:
Opinion No. 03-03 (January 23, 2003)

Relevant Links:
New Mexico Attorney General - http://www.ago.state.nm.us

Relevant Court Decisions:
Atkinson Trading Co., Inc. v. Shirley (2001) | Strate v. A-1 Contractors (1997) | Montana v. US (1981)

Related Stories:
State disputes 'illegal jurisdiction' of tribe (10/10)
Supreme Court strikes down Navajo tax (5/30)
Supreme Court to take on taxation (11/28)
Crow fate may rest in decision (11/28)
Court rules against Crow tax (07/18)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Businesses show support for LNI tournament (3/27)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux fighter climbing in the ranks (3/27)
Mark Trahant: Alaska Natives look 10,000 years into the future (3/27)
Ivan Star: The influences of boarding school and Vietnam War (3/27)
Gyasi Ross: Funerals become family reunions in Indian Country (3/27)
Tim Giago hands over the reins as publisher of Native Sun News (3/27)
House committee passes Native American Children's Safety Act (3/27)
Bill to benefit Miami Nation moves forward in House and Senate (3/27)
City extended contract to send treated sewage to sacred peaks (3/27)
Oneida Nation welcomes ruling backing land-into-trust request (3/27)
Lawmakers want BIA to delay new federal recognition reforms (3/27)
Another conviction from Chippewa Cree Tribe corruption probe (3/27)
Editorial: Shakopee Tribe contributes $5M for health initiative (3/27)
Opinion: Navajo Nation enacts 'sin tax' on unhealthy products (3/27)
Editorial: Opposition to Pamunkey Tribe recognition 'revolting' (3/27)
Dennis Jenkins: Hypocrisy for new tribal casinos in Connecticut (3/27)
Supreme Court asked to hear Kialegee Tribal Town gaming case (3/27)
Ho-Chunk Nation extends agreement for off-reservation casino (3/27)
Indiana lawmakers seek role in Pokagon Band gaming compact (3/27)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux leader not pleased with boycott (3/26)
Lakota Country Times: Lakota Nation Invitational stays in Rapid (3/26)
Native Sun News: Mayor of Rapid City addresses race relations (3/26)
Jane Daugherty: Tribal e-commerce continues to draw scrutiny (3/26)
Witness list for Senate Indian Affairs Committee's field hearing (3/26)
Richard Iron Cloud: Remove murderer's name from sacred peak (3/26)
Native Youth: Bring dental therapy providers to Indian Country (3/26)
Steven Newcomb: Tribal nations still under dominating process (3/26)
Law firm hosts tribes for session on marijuana in Indian Country (3/26)
Judge upholds BIA decision on Oneida Nation land-into-trust bid (3/26)
Appeals court rules against Crow Tribe in housing grant dispute (3/26)
Ho-Chunk Nation raises minimum wage to $2.75 above federal (3/26)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe to appeal decision in recognition lawsuit (3/26)
Racist emails of former Montana federal judge to be preserved (3/26)
Shingle Springs Band considered but rejected indoor gun range (3/26)
House panel backs bill to block Tohono O'odham Nation casino (3/26)
Quapaw Tribe did not include casino on land-into-trust request (3/26)
Chumash Tribe never got apology for diplomat's casino remark (3/26)
Governor won't sign casino compact with Fort Sill Apache Tribe (3/26)
Cherokee Nation approves $6.9M renovation project for casino (3/26)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux veteran training for Paralympics (3/25)
Alaska Native musher Chuck Schaeffer completes 2015 Iditarod (3/25)
LTBB News: Michigan tribes come together for historic meeting (3/25)
Lecture focuses on repatriation of tribal intellectual properties (3/25)
Board still working on delivering money for Cobell scholarships (3/25)
Sen. Barrasso to chair field hearing on drugs in Indian Country (3/25)
Bill for tribal marijuana compacts up for hearing in Washington (3/25)
Choctaw Nation chief hopes to travel to Ireland for monument (3/25)
HHS urged to do more to help tribes with foster care programs (3/25)
Eastern Cherokees work to teach language to new generations (3/25)
Another suggestion for Indian woman on $20 bill -- Sakakawea (3/25)
Man from Crow Tribe cites self-defense in fatal casino shooting (3/25)
Shawnee Tribe sees opposition to off-reservation gaming plan (3/25)
Navajo Nation signs Class III casino compact with New Mexico (3/25)
Quapaw Tribe insists a casino isn't focus of Arkansas land plan (3/25)
Suquamish Tribe reaches deal to allow highway work at casino (3/25)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.