A little-noticed provision in a 2006 federal sex-offender law is rankling American Indian tribes in six states because it would give state law enforcers unprecedented authority to monitor child molesters living on tribal land, reports Stateline.org. Tribal officials are raising objections because they see the provision as an erosion of their sovereignty, and they argue they weren't consulted when Congress drafted the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which overhauls how sex offenders across the country are registered and tracked.
Meanwhile, state officials in Alaska, California, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon and Wisconsin worry how they are to enforce the law on vast tracts of self-governed tribal land within their borders. The law, named after the murdered 6-year-old son of “America's Most Wanted” host John Walsh and due to take effect in full by next July, gives the six states new powers to supervise sex offenders who reside on tribal lands that are home to hundreds of federally recognized American Indian communities. Unlike 28 other states with federally recognized American Indian populations, the six states have had jurisdiction over most criminal matters on tribal lands for decades under long-standing federal policy.