Tribal Governments

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Many tribal governments were created during colonization an the signing of treaties, while others have been recognized more recently. Some tribal governments have treaties, while others have never ceded their lands. Where tribal governments are established, they may involve the voluntary or forced aggregation of many bands or communities. Tribes of the Salish Sea involve many language groups within the Salishan Languages as well as other language groups. In the United States, treaties often reference "usual and accustomed areas" and make promises about hunting, fishing, and gathering in these areas. These areas are overlapping, as many tribes had complex land sharing arrangements. Each tribal nation has distinct communities, interests and organizations, and there are many different levels of interaction and collaboration among tribal governments. The representation of these networks on this platform, as for all topics herein, are incomplete.


  • Welcome to Indian Country 101 is a course developed by The Nature Conservancy and The Whitener Group to provide conservation professionals with a detailed understanding of social and political, as the website states, "The development of the Indian Country (IC) tribal engagement series was grounded in the understanding that you can’t work with tribes in the United States without first outlining the long and complicated history of tribes and tribal governments."
  • The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission was established following The Boldt Decision of 1974 to assist tribes in their role as natural resource co-managers.
  • There are 566 tribal nations within the Unites States according to the [National Congress of American Indians]
  • "The Congress shall have the power to ... regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes." - Article 1, Section 8, United States Constitution
  • - A mapper that aims to describe territories, language groups and treaties.


A set of treaties recognizes tribes as sovereign and rightful owners of these lands, and defines the relationships between tribes as sovereign nations and the United States government. NWIFC maintains a page listing treaties.

  • Treaty of Point No Point, 1855
  • Treaty of Point Elliott, 1855
  • Treaty of Olympia, 1856
  • Treaty of Neah Bay, 1855
  • Medicine Creek Treaty, 1854

Tribal Governments described on the Wiki

The following pages are currently in the 'tribal' and 'workgroup' categories, but does not include all tribal governments of the Salish Sea: