What happened when land on an Indian reservation was opened to settlers? Did the land lose its reservation status? What if an Indian tribe tries to regulate a city now located on that land?
In Solem v. Bartlett (1984) the Supreme Court articulated a three-part test to determine if a reservation has been diminished. Courts must look at “statutory language used to open the Indian lands,” “events surrounding the passage of a surplus land Act,” and “events that occurred after the passage of a surplus land Act.”
In Nebraska v. Parker when the Omaha Tribe tried to enforce its new alcoholic beverages tax in the Village of Pender, Nebraska, the village objected. It claimed it is not located on the Omaha Indian Reservation because Congress diminished the reservation in 1882. The 1882 Act allotted less than 1,000 out of 50,000 acres of the western portion of the reservation to tribe members; the remaining acres were sold to non-Indians.