Tribal Jurisdiction Law and Legal Definition

Tribal jurisdiction refers to the authority of a tribal governing authority to determine a civil or criminal matter. Tribes have jurisdiction over their members by virtue of their inherent sovereignty. In some cases, jurisdiction is exclusive, in others, it is concurrent with the state. For example, The relevant portions of the Indian Child Welfare Act enable the Secretary of the Interior to grant to a tribe, upon receipt of a proper petition, exclusive jurisdiction (over all or a portion of the appropriate "Indian country") or referral jurisdiction of child-custody proceedingsIn a criminal case, tribal jurisdiction is largely determined by looking at three factors: 1) the status of the perpetrator (Indian or non-Indian), 2) the status of the victim (Indian or non-Indian), and 3) the type of crime involved.