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Experts: US Court fractures decades of Native American law

Tribal sovereignty
AP Photo/Kristi Eaton, File
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This Sept. 9, 2012 file photo shows The entrance to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, home to the Oglala Sioux tribe is viewed on Sept. 9, 2012. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling expanding state authority to prosecute some crimes on Native American land is upending decades of law in support of tribal sovereignty.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling expanding state authority to prosecute some crimes on Native American land is upending decades of law in support of tribal sovereignty.

The Wednesday ruling veers from the trend of increasing tribes' ability to prosecute all crimes on reservations, regardless of who is involved.

Federal Indian law experts say the high court's decision in an Oklahoma case is concerning.

While it doesn't directly impact tribal court systems, the experts say it does not enhance tribes' right to govern themselves on their own territory.

It also cast tribes as part of states rather than the sovereign nations they are, infuriating many across Indian Country.