American Indian Politics Analysis

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I. Introduction to American Indian Politics and the American Political System by David

E. Wilkins

A. "We claim that the constitution...shall be the supreme law of the land. But we also

claim to recognize the sovereignty of Native American nations, the original

occupants of this land...Two hundred years have produced no resolution of the

contradiction except at the expense of the tribes and the loss to non-Indians of the

Indian's gift of their difference." (Pg. 41)

II. What are Indian "rights" and "tribal sovereignty"?

A. "The situation of the 561 indigenous polities
…show more content…
"...Congress is empowered to exercise a great deal of authority in Indian affairs

because it must be 'immune from ordinary challenges which might otherwise

hamper the wise administration of Indian affairs'." (Pg. 46)

2. "...Congress may literally terminate the legal existence of tribal nations." (Pg. 47)

3. "Congressional action, therefore, that is based on plenary power does not violate

the equal protection due process clauses of the Constitution that prohibit

discrimination on the basis of race." (Pg. 47)

4. "A sovereign nation is a distinct political entry which exercises a measure of

jurisdictional power over a specific territory." (Pg. 47)

5. According to Sam Deloria, "In recognizing these rights (in treaties and

agreements) the United States has voluntarily limited its sovereignty." (Pg. 47)

G. "jurisdictional monopoly vs. jurisdictional multiplicity." (Pg. 48)

1. "...the reality that indigenous nations constitute the third set of sovereigns-along

with the federal and state governments- whose politics deserve focused

attention." (Pg. 48)

H. "The sovereignty of tribes...was not delegated to them by federal or
…show more content…
"Third, American Indians are citizens of their own tribal nations, which are

recognized as extraconstitutional governments." (Pg. 57)

a. "...the federal Constitution does not apply to Indian tribes." (Pg. 57) b. "...the first Amendment has been interpreted by the Supreme Court as not

protecting the religious freedom rights of tribal members." (Pg. 57)

c. "Indians are indeed American citizens, but this status does not restrict the

plenary powers of Congress with respect to Indians." (Pg. 57)

4. "Fourth, Indian tribal governments are nations inhabiting territorial units... in

which the U.S. Constitution is largely inapplicable" (Pg. 58)

a. "...due to the passage of a number of laws like the general Allotment Act of

1887, a large number of non-Indians moved within the boundaries of Indian reservations," (Pg. 58)

B. "...Internal and intergovernmental quandaries are complicated by the indeterminate

manner in which the federal government has dealt with indigenous

nations...(respecting/disrespecting) their sovereignty." (Pg. 58)

1. "tribes are...'distinct, independent communities' capable of exercising a

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