Native-American Studies: Public Law 280

The Public Law 280 was considered as a source of complication because of the effects of the transfer of jurisdiction from federal to state agencies. Jurisdiction refers to the legal right of the government or any public or private institution to exercise and apply the application of any particular course of action over a particular location or territory. When applied to the Public Law 280 case, jurisdiction refers to the lawful authority to undertake police procedures which was transferred from federal agencies to state agencies in tribal nations where the Public Law 280 applies.

Jurisdiction means those places where Public Law 280 was effective are now places where the main police authority of the state is the highest and immediate authority; it means whatever happens in these said areas, state agencies, because of their jurisdiction of the place, are the ones responsible for whatever police matters in these tribal nations. Jurisdiction is a responsibility and accountability blanket that places accountability and responsibility to those who are delegated with such responsibility.

Despite the jurisdiction of the state agencies, the Public Law 280 does not impede the operation of tribal governments in place in these tribal nations, retaining for themselves a sense of jurisdiction wherein tribal nations are still left with some powers and capability to deal with criminal actions happening in the tribal nation through their own ways and means.

State agencies should return the jurisdiction back to the federal government because the federal government, because of its proximity and its more immediate focus on local concerns, is more suitable to handle tribal nation concerns, and because “tribal governments felt that their concerns were being abandoned by a sometimes supportive federal government and were being handed over to hostile state governments (Thompson, 2005, p. 2). ” The design of federal governments feature a more localized approach and capability that makes it more suitable to handle the problems of tribal nations (i. e. criminal charges, civil charges, etc). At the hands of the state agencies, the tribal nations feel that they are being governed by a government and its agencies that do not connect with them.