Resource Guide

Understanding Jurisdiction on Tribal Lands

A User-friendly Public Law 280 (PL 280)
A User-friendly PL 280 Resource Guide offers a unique perspective on Public Law 280 (PL 280). Why is jurisdiction in Indian country like playing a game of Twister? This resource guide will serve as the “tour guide,” directing the reader down the path of the evolution of jurisdiction in Indian country. The book’s presentation gives its reader a broad perspective, beginning with the indigenous sovereign nations and following the historical twists and turns that have created the puzzling tribal, federal and state jurisdictions that exist today in Indian country. PL 280 was the legal vehicle which allowed the federal government to transfer certain jurisdiction to the states. This transfer of jurisdiction, especially criminal jurisdiction, has created a multitude of issues. Both Native Americans and the myriad of individuals who work or interact within tribal communities have been forced to make sense of this convoluted law.
The goal of A User-friendly PL 280 Resource Guide is to take the mystery out of PL 280 and help the reader unravel the tangled jurisdictional maze that is seen in Indian country today. Although PL 280 became a law over a half a century ago, it has managed to remain elusive. No more hiding in the shadows or being camouflaged in high-browed legalese! Let’s grab PL 280 by the collar and confront it face-to-face. The book’s distinctive style and easy-to-understand format, along with its fun illustrations and charts, make for enjoyable learning. It features interesting icon navigation. A User-friendly PL 280 Resource Guide is ideal for tribal members and communities, police/sheriff departments, federal and state authorities, public safety and fire personnel, social services and court personnel, as well as those just interested in the history of the Indians and Indian country. Although this book targets those who are impacted by PL 280, the message goes beyond PL 280 jurisdictional areas.



Tribal Communities

Public Safety & Service Providers

Tribal Councils

Court Personnel

Police / Security / Fire

Social Services

Enterprise Workers

Tribal Members


Tribal Advocates

Sheriff's Depts.

Police / Fire Depts.

Highway Patrol

Court Personnel

D.A.'s Offices

Parole / Probation

Social Services

State Agencies

Federal Agencies

Criminal Justice Students


Service Providers



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