By David E. Wilkins
"Like the miner's canary, the Indian marks the shift from clean air to poison gasoline in our political surroundings; and our therapy of Indians, much more than our remedy of different minorities, displays the increase and fall in our democratic faith," wrote Felix S. Cohen, an early professional in Indian criminal affairs. during this ebook, David Wilkins charts the "fall in our democratic religion" via fifteen landmark circumstances during which the perfect court docket considerably curtailed Indian rights. He deals compelling facts that ideal court docket justices selectively used precedents and evidence, either historic and modern, to reach at judgements that experience undermined tribal sovereignty, legitimated tremendous tribal land losses, sanctioned the diminishment of Indian spiritual rights, and curtailed different rights besides. those case studies--and their implications for all minority groups--make very important and troubling studying at a time while the ideally suited court docket is on the vortex of political and ethical advancements which are redefining the character of yankee govt, remodeling the connection among the criminal and political branches, and changing the very which means of federalism.
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Additional info for American Indian Sovereignty and the U.S. Supreme Court: The Masking of Justice
Suquamish Indian Tribe and United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians. Oliphant involved the question of a tribe’s power of criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians, while Sioux Nation, the one case among my selections that has been interpreted as a ‘‘victory’’ for the tribal party by some commentators, involved land title and treaty rights. Chapter 6 entails the three most recent cases: Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Association, Employment Division, Dept. of Human Resources v. Smith, and County of Yakima v.
Tribes enjoy cultural traits and practices which differ from predominant Euro-American cultural characteristics and those common to other ethnic and minority groups. 3 Indigenous nations, in short, fall easily within the purview of the Court as ‘‘discrete and insular’’ groups which sometimes require special protection from discrimination. To deﬁne their status, it is important to identify certain characteristics of tribal nations. First, and most obvious, tribal nations are indigenous to the United States, while all other individuals and groups are immigrants.
Gradations of ‘‘savagery’’ were applied to the various tribes, and the Court vacillated in the manner in which it employed these masks. The masks for the Supreme Court, on the other hand, portray it, and by extension the federal government, as deeply moralistic, Christian, and nearly always above reproach. The Law is masked as an absolutely essential element in moving Indian persons and tribes from an uncivilized to a civilized state. The focus here was never on whether or not such a cultural transformation was Name /T5723/T5723_CH01 14 05/24/01 06:03AM Plate # 0-Composite american indian sovereignty and the supreme court justiﬁable; rather it was on whether it would take place gradually or rapidly.