The Law of American Indians Posts

Congressional Power and Sovereignty in Indian Affairs

The doctrine of inherent tribal sovereignty — that tribes retain aboriginal sovereign governing power over people and territory — is under perpetual assault. Despite two centuries of precedential foundation, the doctrine must be defended afresh with each attack. Opponents of the doctrine of tribal sovereignty express skepticism of the doctrine, suggesting that tribal sovereignty is a nullity because it is not unfettered. Some pay lip service to the doctrine while undermining tribes in their exercise of inherent sovereignty.

Securing Equal Access to the Ballot for Native Americans

Native Americans, like other minority groups, face racially motivated disenfranchisement efforts. Watershed victories for equal access to the ballot – including the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and the Nineteenth Amendment – did not affect Native Americans because they were not considered U.S. citizens until the enactment of the Indian Citizenship Act in 1924. While the Act nominally enfranchised Native Americans, disenfranchisement tactics remained pervasive at the state level.

Federal Indian Law: Taking Account of the Lessons of History

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.