Status of Indians under US federal law
Status of Indians under US federal law:
At the tribal level: Since the 1830s, federal law is said to have operated from this principle: Tribes have nationhood status and retain powers of self-government. In reality, tribes are not recognized as foreign nations but as domestic dependent nations. Their interactions with the US government are via the Bureau of Indian Affairs and not the Department of State. At present, tribal nations are more or less on the same level as states, subject to the laws of the federal government.
At the individual level: A significant minority of Indians (over 40%) did not have US citizenship until the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 was passed by Congress and signed by President Calvin Coolidge. Indians who were citizens before 1924 were covered under agreements or laws that applied to certain populations—such as individuals married to US citizens or those who had honorably completed military service. An Indian who was not a citizen had the legal status of ward of the government. After 1924, Indians born on US territory are US citizens, and also hold citizenship in smaller government entities as applicable—state, county, local, and tribal nation.