YAKIMA, Wash. – In a move long sought by the Yakama Nation, federal officials have approved returning authority to the tribe for certain civil and criminal cases involving tribal members that have been handled by the state for decades.
Monday’s move was praised as a victory for tribal sovereignty by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which granted the tribe’s petition for retrocession.
The Yakima Herald-Republic reported that officials for Yakima County were concerned that the petition was approved before law enforcement protocols had been worked out for the reservation that both tribal members and nonmembers call home.
The decision removes state jurisdiction over tribal members only in certain cases and does not give the tribe any new jurisdiction over nonmembers. It wiill affect cases such as car crashes, domestic violence and truancy complaints.
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