The Law of American Indians Posts
The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held hearings Wednesday, Oct. 25, on two bills introduced by North Dakota senators to address issues raised after the killing in August of a 22-year-old Fargo woman, Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, and abduction of her newborn child.
At its meeting in New York City on October 19 and 20, The American Law Institute’s Council reviewed drafts for eight projects, with the following outcomes:
It’s highly appropriate for The American Law Institute to take on federal Indian law; it is fundamental to who we are as a nation. The history of federal Indian law reflects the country coming to grips with its colonization of indigenous peoples. The process has gone on now for a long time, obviously, and in the early stages, the state of the law was dismal from a human rights standpoint.
Here are some recent and upcoming events featuring topics that may be of interest to our readers.
After a landmark decision on Native American jurisdiction in August, Oklahoma prosecutors have asked the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its ruling, this time asking the whole court to review the opinion of a three-judge panel.
State, county and tribal officials involved in the new court say it marks a turning point that promises better relationships between the state and the tribes and better outcomes for children.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit invalidated the state court murder conviction and death sentence of Patrick Dwayne Murphy, an American Indian, after concluding that the Oklahoma courts lacked jurisdiction.
Navajo President Russell Begaye on August 7 signed the Navajo Nation Law against Human Trafficking, signaling his commitment to take a stance against an international crime that targets some of the world’s most vulnerable populations. The law, which amends the tribe’s criminal code, also calls for cooperation among government and civil institutions to define, prevent and combat the illegal “transporting, trading or dealing” of people.
The Bishop Paiute Tribe (the “Tribe”) seeks a declaration that they have the right to “investigate violations of tribal, state, and federal law, detain, and transport or deliver a non-Indian violator [encountered on the reservation] to the proper authorities.” Before reaching this issue, the district court dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds, concluding that the case presents no actual case or controversy.
Tribal self-governance contracting/compacting has significantly raised American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) health outcomes, standards of living, and education rates across tribal backgrounds. However, whether the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) of 1975 empowers tribal sovereignty remains an open question—a question with important policy implications for tribal governments.