There are five federally recognized tribes within the state of Idaho, out of a total of 557 tribes in the country. Although they lie within the United States, each tribe is a sovereign nation with its own leaders, laws and justice system. Tribes are the only minority in the United States with this right.
Because the tribes ceded vast parts off their homelands to the newly formed United States government, their treaties guarantee that the federal government will provide them with the funds for certain health, housing, legal and educational services. Increasingly, tribes are running these programs themselves.
In addition, many treaties guaranteed tribal members the right to fish, hunt and gather traditional resources on their native lands outside the reservations.
The tribes are different from one another; for instance, they do not all speak the same native language. Tribes do share many cultural ideals, though. These include a strong oral tradition and the emphasis on respect for elders, as well as the view that humans are intimately tied to animals and the environment.
Click on each reservation to learn more about individual tribes in Idaho.
For more information, check out these web pages:
National Congress of American Indians