Manual The rights of Indians and tribes: the basic ACLU guide to Indian and tribal rights

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Skip to search form Skip to main content. The Aberdeen Indian Health Service infant mortality study: design, methodology, and implementation. Randall and Chris Krogh and Thomas K. Of all Indian Health Service areas, the Aberdeen Area has consistently had the highest infant mortality rate. View PDF. Save to Library. Create Alert. Share This Paper.

However, U. Weld," he said recently. Despite Frank's support, federal officials estimate that it could be another three years before the tribe can obtain all the approvals needed to establish their operation.


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The second part of this article is except where noted based on Stephen L. In light of the gaming issue, the question of what exactly is meant by Indian sovereignty needs to be examined. The advent of gaming has not necessarily made the answer to this question any clearer.

READ THE NEW BOOK The Rights of Indians and Tribes: The Authoritative ACLU Guide to Indian and

Part of the problem is that sovereignty is a murky concept in any context. Oppenheim's International Law states that "there exists perhaps no conception the meaning of which is more controversial than that of sovereignty. It is an indisputable fact that this conception, from the moment when it was introduced into political science until the present day, has never had a meaning which was universally agreed upon. This lack of "universal agreement" on the meaning of sovereignty is certainly true with respect to its application in the Indian context.

There is substantial dissension among politicians, scholars, and among Indians themselves as to just what Indian sovereignty entails. The concept has been subject to both wide and narrow interpretations since Indians first entered into formal relations with European settlers. There are, however, basic constructs pertaining to the nature and scope of Indian sovereignty that have remained in place and continue to influence perceptions of the issue.

ISBN 13: 9780809317684

The most basic component of any notion of sovereignty is self-government. No entity can be sovereign without the ability to govern itself. Indian nations clearly do have the right to self-government. The Supreme Court first recognized this "inherent right" in the landmark decision Worcester v. The Court ruled that the state of Georgia could not impose its laws on the Cherokee Indian Reservation, noting that:. Indian nations [are] distinct political communities, having territorial boundaries, within which their authority is exclusive, and having a right to all the lands within those boundaries, which is not only acknowledged, but guaranteed by the United States Indian nations had always been considered as distinct, independent political communities, retaining their original rights, as the undisputed possessors of the soil from time immemorial The Cherokee nation, then, is a distinct community, occupying its own territory This principle was reaffirmed by the Court in Oklahoma Tax Commission v.

Among them are 1 the ability to determine tribal membership; 2 regulation of tribal property; 3 regulation of individual property; 4 the right to tax; 5 the right to maintain law and order; 6 the right to exclude nonmembers from tribal territory, 7 the right to regulate domestic relations; 8 and the right to regulate commerce and trade.

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Despite these powers, however, Indian sovereignty is ultimately a "limited" sovereignty. The Supreme Court has described tribal governments as "quasi-sovereign" and "semi-independent. Kagama By sheer might, if not, as some argue, by legal justification, the U. Wheeler The ostensible legal basis for this power is found in the U.

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The Supreme Court held in Worcester that these two constitutional provisions provide Congress with "all that is required" for complete control over Indian affairs. This is the doctrine of "plenary power," the cornerstone of relations between the federal government and Indian tribes. Under plenary power, the Congress has "full and complete" power over all Indian tribes, their government, their members, and their property.

This power includes the authority to eliminate tribal powers of local self-government. In addition to using the doctrine of plenary power, the U. The former was invoked in the Supreme Court's decision in Lone Wolfv. Hitchcock The Court upheld a law that Indians had challenged as a violation of a prior treaty with the Indian nation.


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  • The Court supported the statute by stating that the power of Congress over Indian affairs was of a "political nature" and thus a matter for the executive or legislative branches, not the federal courts. The federal trust responsibility doctrine is one of the most important elements of Indian law.

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    Simply stated, the trust responsibility is the legal obligation of the U. This obligation stems from the idea that promises made by the U. The courts have extended the trust responsibility so that federal statutes, agreements and executives orders can create trust obligations in the same way a treaty can. The government, however, is not obligated to perform a specific act under the trust responsibility doctrine unless a treaty, statute, or agreement expressly imposes or clearly implies that obligation.

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