Hunting and Fishing Rights for Tribes
and Tribal Organizations

Although hunting and fishing rights are of vital concern to American Indian communities, tribes’ legal, cultural and economic interests often conflict with those of states. Tribes face challenges when managing natural resources — increased economic development, changing environmental conditions and competing interests, just to name a few. A thorough understanding of the legal issues and rights of all parties is the best defense for protecting your precious natural resources.

This two-day class will examine how the federal government regulates Indian hunting and fishing rights, as well as the protection it offers tribes off of their land, and it will review the latest case law. Find out where states’ rights end and tribes’ begin. Learn what you need to know about the major laws governing hunting and fishing rights on and off the reservation. Discuss the issues that affect your tribe and explore alternative solutions to conflicts.

T O P I C S   I N C L U D E
Indian Law and Hunting and Fishing — Basic Principles
  • Aboriginal or Indian title
  • Reserved Rights Doctrine
  • Treaties and executive orders:
    • Treaty construction and interpretation
    • Abrogation of treaty rights
  • Tribal sovereignty
On-Reservation Hunting and Fishing
  • Tribal and state regulation of tribal and non-tribal members
  • Conservation and migrating fish or wildlife
  • Limits of tribal jurisdiction
  • Exclusive vs. concurrent authority with a state
  • Regulation on diminished or terminated reservations
  • Montana v. United States
Federal Regulation of Indian Hunting and Fishing
  • Plenary power over Indians
  • Sources of federal power
  • The power to abrogate
  • Statutory interpretation
  • Recent trends
  • Federal taxation on hunting and fishing income
Federal Statutes Affecting Hunting and Fishing Rights
  • Migratory Bird Treaty Act
  • Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940
  • Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act
  • Marine Mammal Protection Act
  • Fisheries Conservation and Management Act of 1976
  • Endangered Species Act
  • Direct Federal Regulation Act
Off-Reservation Regulation
  • Treaty rights — United States v. Washington
  • Michigan’s interpretation of tribal shares
  • The changing scope of state regulation
  • Blocking non-Indian and state interference
Protection of the Environment
  • Nature of the fish resource
  • United States v. Washington
  • Habitat protection
  • Alternative protection strategies
  • Action for damages from past wrongs
  • National Wildlife Foundation v. National Marine Fisheries Service
  • Global warming
Considerations for Hunting Rights
  • General rule
  • Open and unclaimed land
  • Hunting on federal land
  • Boundary problems
  • Commercial vs. subsistence hunting
Fish and Wildlife Tribal Ordinance
  • Outline and structure
  • Eligibility and identification
  • On-reservation permits
  • Tribal regulation procedure
Hunting and Fishing in Alaska
  • Stevens subsistence rider
  • Postponed extension and federal jurisdiction over certain waters
  • Federal regulation of subsistence hunting and fishing
  • Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) rural preference
Alternative Solutions to Resolving Issues
  • Cooperative agreements with states
  • Federal delegation of responsibilities to tribes
  • Resolving intertribal disputes:
    • Creating intertribal management bodies
    • Creating a sovereign Indian court
  • Federal courts as the “indispensable party”
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