Over the course of American history, the Federal government's relationship with Indian Tribes has been defined and modified by treaties, executive orders, court decisions, specific legislation passed by Congress, and regulations.
Important rights were guaranteed to Tribes by treaty, with many of these rights still enforceable today. Case law, over the years, has dealt with the status of Indian Tribes and their special relationship to the Federal government. Legislation, passed by Congress reflects the national Indian policy at the time of enactment.
Current Federal Indian policy recognizes that Indian Tribes are an integral part of the fabric of the Nation and the policy seeks to strengthen Tribal Governments through self-determination and self-government.