Book Review: American Indian Politics

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, United States, United States Constitution Pages: 17 (2370 words) Published: September 9, 2010
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 in North America is and has always

been distinctive in comparison to the status and place of African Americans...and

other racial or ethnic groups in the country." (Pg. 41)

B. "First, tribal peoples are the original-the indigenous-inhabitantes of North America

and they are nations in the most fundamental sense of the word." (Pg. 41)

C. "Second, the preexistence of over six hundred independent tribal nations (which)

well in advance of the formation of the United States...necessitated the practice of

aboriginal sovereigns negotiating political compacts... with European nations and

later the United States. (Pg. 42)

1. "The fact of treaty making, which no other resident American group

...participated in, and products of that process...confirmed a nation-to-nation

relationship between the negotiating tribal and nontribal parties." (Pg. 42)

2. "A large number, over five hundred, of these important contractual arrangements

form the baseline parameters of the political relationship between tribes and the

United States." (Pg. 44)

3. "...tribal nations have an extraconstitutional relationship to the United States

that no other group has." (Pg. 44)

4. "...while tribal sovereignty is not behold to or rooted in American constitutional

law, a tribe's treaty rights are, at least in constitutional theory, the supreme law

of the land and should be subject to full protection under the Constitution's

rubric." (Pg. 44)

D. "A third feature differentiating indigenous peoples from other racial/ethnic groups

is the trust doctrine." (Pg. 44)

1. "President Clinton...put forth a clear description (treaties, statutes, executive

orders and court decisions) of what the trust relationship entails from the federal

government's perspective: ...the United States has recognized Indian tribes as

domestic dependent nations under its protection." (Pg. 44)

2. "The hundred of treaties and agreements that were negotiated in which the tribes

were guaranteed all the rights and resources..." (Pg. 44)

3. "...they had not ceded to the federal government when they sold or exchanged

the majority of their lands...were contractual rights that were also protected by

the trust doctrine, which is the federal government's legal and moral pledge to

respect those reserved Indian rights." (Pg. 44)

4. "...President's use of the phrase 'under its (government's) protection.' This is a

declaration that the federal government has a protectorate obligation to support

indigenous peoples legally, culturally, economically, and politically."

a. "it is best characterized by the phrase trustee (United States)-beneficiary

(Tribes) relationship." (Pg. 44)

b. Vine Deloria Jr., the leading scholar of...
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