Abstract: Indian tribes have a special relationship with the federal government that dates back to the establishment of the United States. Federal disaster law, however, treats tribes as local governments and gives little weight to the historic relationship and lands of tribes. Instead of communicating as sovereign governments, tribes must first submit a disaster request to state officials, who then have discretion in transmitting the information to the federal government. This additional step in communication harms two important goals in disaster response on tribal lands: Efficiency and respectfulness in emergency communication and assistance. This paper examines how the legal framework that frames that intergovernmental communication. With this short introduction, this paper hopes to draw attention to the unique characteristics of tribal government, Indian law, and disasters on tribal land. Â© 2012 ISCRAM.