Law | Opinion

Charles Schneider: Restore criminal jurisdiction to Meskwaki Tribe






Meskwaki Nation Police Department emblem. Photo from CODE 4 Public Safety Emblems / Facebook

Iowa State Sen. Charles Schneider (R) explains why he supports SF2022, a bill to restore criminal jurisdiction to the Meskwaki Tribe by removing the state's role over Native Americans:
The bill effectively gives the Meskwaki tribe jurisdiction over certain crimes committed by tribe members against tribe members on the Meskwaki settlement.

In many states, Native American tribes have criminal jurisdiction for certain crimes committed by Native Americans against Native Americans on their own territory. This has not been the case in Iowa, however, due to a federal law enacted in 1948.

In 1948, Congress enacted a law granting Iowa, rather than the Meskwaki tribe, jurisdiction for criminal offenses occurring on Meskwaki territory, but retaining federal jurisdiction for offenses against federal law. At the time, the tribe did not have its own police force or court system. Since then, the tribe has hired its own police force. Its officers are trained at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy. The tribe also has its own court system. Clearly, it is capable of enforcing its own criminal code. There no longer is a need for state jurisdiction.

Get the Story:
Charles Schneider: Bill gives Meskwaki tribe criminal jurisdiction (The Des Moines Register 1/24)

Related Stories:
Meskwaki Tribe moves closer to removing state from jurisdiction (1/21)
Mille Lacs Band hails return of federal jurisdiction on reservation (1/12)
Yakama Nation reasserts authority after decades under PL280 (10/20)
Iowa lawmakers back repeal of jurisdiction over Meskwaki Tribe (06/12)