Indian tribes are self-governing, meaning they have their own government. Each tribe with its own government has a relationship with the USA or Canada, and the land they occupy is like ‘foreign territory’. The national government has a ‘treaty relationship’ with each tribe and treats them almost like other foreign countries. So you can imagine, tribal land are like foreign countries spotted around North America.
Businesses that want to do business with Indian tribes have to approach the situation as if these ‘foreign governments’ have existing obligations from treaties with the national government as well as their own set of assumptions from their particular culture because they are like other countries.
A recent pipeline project that is allowed to pass through tribal land, as part of the treaty with the USA, is a point of disagreement between building standards with an impact and risks to people and the environment of those lands.
Though the Indian tribes occupy land with lots of natural resources, they face poverty and high unemployment in today’s contemporary business setting, because they have strong standards for the environment.