Indian Reservations – Special Laws that Apply in Their Territories

American Indians are an interesting bunch, which today have special rights on their reservations. There are special laws in the United States which treat American Indians differently. Here are some of the most interesting laws which apply only for American Indians, some of which are active only within the territories the Indian reservations.

Casinos are Allowed on Indian Reservations

Plenty of Indian reservations have many casinos opened on their territories. This is because gambling is allowed on the reservations. This came to be through the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. This act allowed the creation of the National Indian Gaming Commission, a body responsible for regulating all the gambling within the territories of the American Indians.

Three classes of gambling are recognized, Class I, which are traditional Indian games, where gambling results in minimal amounts of money. Class II games are bingo and bingo-like games, which either use the help of technology or not. Class III games are the most important ones, as they are the ones most frequently played by people, namely casino games like blackjack, roulette and slot machines. Indian authorities cannot organize these games unless they meet a few conditions.

Given how sports betting is becoming legalized in many states in the United States, Indian government officials are looking into sports betting as an addition to their casinos, which can attract more people.

American Indians are Still Subject to Taxation

American Indians must pay their taxes, just like any American citizen must. They are excluded from a couple of things, like federal taxes on income from trust lands which are held by the United States and state taxes on income earned on a federal Indian reservation. While some of these exclusions do allow American Indians some benefits, they still have to do a tax return at the end of each year.

Things not to Do on Indian Reservations

As with any other place you would visit, Indian reservations have their own set of laws which you should obey, unless you want to pay fines or have your stuff confiscated. The things you should not do is take pictures or record in any manner, traditional and sacred areas. You can have your camera confiscated and they are not obligated to return it.

Taking or even touching Native American artifacts can lead to serious troubles with the law. You have to get permission to visit each reservation, meaning that you cannot simply enter it as you would other states.

Drive carefully through reservation territories. The laws of traffic there are the same as anywhere else, but they are enforced more frequently.

Indian reservations have some specific laws which make them separate from the rest of the states. They have their own governing body but are after all subject to higher authorities on plenty of things. If you plan on visiting a Reservation, remember to be respectful, of their laws and their culture.