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Tribal Sovereignty

The United States Constitution recognizes the sovereignty of Native Nations alongside states, the federal government, and foreign nations. Native Nations have the sovereign authority to protect and enhance the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens and territory.

Federally Recognized Tribes

Inherent Authority

Native Nations have inherent rights and sovereign authority recognized through treaties and other means.

In the state of Wisconsin, 11 Native Nations have a formal government-to-government relationship with the U.S. federal government. One additional Native Nation, the Brothertown Indian Nation, is no longer federally recognized. However, its Tribal leaders seek to regain federal recognition and restore a government-to-government relationship with the U.S.

Federal & State Consultation

The political relationship between Native Nations and the U.S. government includes the duty to consult. Generally, consultation refers to the process where a non-Tribal government and a Native Nation engage in a decision-making process where Tribal interests may be implicated.

The federal consultation duty originates in the federal trust obligation owed to Tribal governments and citizens, as established by treaties, acts of Congress, and the fact that the federal government holds lands and resources in trust for Native Nations and Tribal members.

On the state level, there are two executive orders that affirm a government-to-government relationship between Wisconsin and those Native Nations whose reservations overlap the state: