An Indian reservation is an area of land tenure governed by a federally recognized Native American tribal nation under the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, rather than by the government of the state in which it is located.
Some of the country's 574 federally recognized tribes govern more than one reservation, while some share reservations, and others have no reservation at all.
In addition, because of past land allotments, leading to sales to non–Native Americans, some reservations are severely fragmented, with each piece of tribal, individual, and privately held land being a separate enclave.
The largest reservation, the Navajo Nation Reservation, is similar in size to West Virginia.
Because recognized Native American nations possess limited tribal sovereignty, laws on tribal lands vary from those of the surrounding area.
For example, these laws can permit legal casinos on reservations located in states which do not allow gambling, attracting tourism.
The term “reservation” is a legal designation. It comes from the conception of the Native American nations as independent sovereigns at the time the U.S. Constitution was ratified.
Thus, early peace treaties (often signed under conditions of duress or fraud), in which Native American nations surrendered large portions of their land to the United States, designated parcels which the nations, as sovereigns, “reserved” to themselves, and those parcels came to be called “reservations”.
In 2012, there were over 2.5 million Native Americans, with 1 million living on reservations.
Last Updated on 8 months by pinc