Vehicle registration plates of Native American tribes in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ferrari 360 Modena bearing a plate from the Cherokee Nation

Several Native American tribes within the United States register motor vehicles and issue license plates to those vehicles.

The legal status of these plates varies by tribe, with some being recognized by the federal government and others not. Some nations issue plates for both tribal and personal vehicles, while others issue plates only for official tribal vehicles.

Some nations' plates indicate the U.S. state with which they are most closely associated, while others do not. This variation may even exist among the nations associated with one particular state.

Federally recognized tribes may also lease vehicles through the United States General Services Administration under certain circumstances. Such vehicles carry U.S. Government license plates.





North Dakota[edit]

Spirit Lake Tribe license plate


Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma license plate

South Dakota[edit]

All tribal plates in South Dakota are issued by the state. There are nine tribes recognized. All nine have non-graphic, tax exempt plates beginning with a tribe-specific prefix, for use on official vehicles. Seven of the nine tribes also have graphic plates available for private vehicles. The graphic plates are available to all South Dakota residents (no tribal affiliation is required.)


Quinault Nation license plate

Official, tribally owned vehicles bearing plates issued by tribes are allowed to use public roads under Washington state law.[2] The Yakama tribe began issuing plates to all members in 2011.[3]


Bad River Tribal license plate

Wisconsin Department of Transportation has reciprocal recognition of vehicle registration with the indicated Tribal organizations. It allows for unrestricted use and operations of vehicles registered with either the State of Wisconsin or the Tribal jurisdictions as per Wisconsin Statutes Section 341.409.[5]


  1. ^ Leo Good, ALPCA, Erik Bos. "License Plates of Native American Indian Tribes by Status." License Plates Portal. (retrieved 31 Oct 2011)
  2. ^ "Traffic Q&A: Can tribes issue license plates?", The News Tribune, Tacoma, Washington, June 10, 2011
  3. ^ Phil Ferolito (February 11, 2011), "Yakamas to issue own license plates", The Seattle Times
  4. ^ Lummi culture and history, Native Languages of the Americas, retrieved 2015-07-18
  5. ^ "341.409  Reciprocal registration exemption agreements for federally recognized Indian tribes or bands". Wisconsin Statutes. Wisconsin State Legislature. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Tribal/Indian bands license plates". State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Retrieved 27 April 2017.

External links[edit]