AMERICAN MILITARY UNIVERSITY
CASINOS FOR SOVEREIGNTY
TO INSTRUCTOR MARC WENNER
18 JANUARY 2010
Casinos are what people expect to see when they enter an Indian reservation. Most people that visit the reservation have no idea why the Casinos are there and what they mean to the reservations and the Indians that live there. The Indians use the Casinos to take charge of their own economic situations; building the Casino’s are an easy way for the tribes to make money for their own sovereign nation and a way to show they have made their own rules off Federal grounds.
Sovereignty is defined by Webster’s as “supreme power especially over a body politic or freedom from external control1.” When the Indians chose to take control of their own economy the Casino looked like a great idea to show they were willing and able to do it. The idea of Indian sovereignty has been a heated issue since the 1800’s2. Many people feel that the Indians in certain states should fall under the control of that specific state. But the Indians feel like the land is there and they have the right to govern it the way they want to.
Initially the Articles of Confederation were written and gave the new America authority over their affairs, this included the Indian affairs also. When the United States Constitution was drafted in 1787, it affected the Indian decision making ability by enacting the Indian Commerce Clause. Another big hindrance in tribal sovereignty was when Congress passed the Dawes Act. The Dawes Act allows Congress to split up Indian land for individual ownership by an Indian up to 160 acres and allowing surplus lands to be sold to the American public. This of course benefited Americans and hurt the growth of Indian sovereignty. After a long fight in 1934, the Reorganization Act passed and allowed Indian tribes to establish their own self ruled...
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Lawlor, Mary. Public Native America : Tribal Self-Representation in Casinos, Museums, and Powows. Rutgers University Press, 2006.
Schlam, Lawrence. “Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.” http://www.enotes.com/major-acts-congress/indian-reorganization-act (accessed January 25, 2010).
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