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 remedy of Indians, much more than our remedy of alternative minorities, displays the increase and fall in our democratic faith," wrote Felix S. Cohen, an early specialist in Indian felony affairs. during this e-book, David Wilkins charts the "fall in our democratic religion" via fifteen landmark instances during which the perfect court docket considerably curtailed Indian rights. He bargains compelling facts that very best court docket justices selectively used precedents and evidence, either historic and modern, to reach at judgements that experience undermined tribal sovereignty, legitimated gigantic tribal land losses, sanctioned the diminishment of Indian spiritual rights, and curtailed different rights in addition. those case studies--and their implications for all minority groups--make vital and troubling interpreting at a time while the superb court docket is on the vortex of political and ethical advancements which are redefining the character of yankee govt, remodeling the connection among the felony and political branches, and changing the very that means of federalism.
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Extra resources for American Indian Sovereignty and the U.S. Supreme Court: The Masking of Justice
American Indian peoples make up less than one percent of the nation’s population, slightly fewer than two million. 1 But although tribal nations share some socioeconomic characteristics with other minority groups,2 the differences distinguishing tribes from the other groups profoundly exceed any parallels that might be drawn. 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.
Related to this is a theory of federalism in which the Supreme Court, acting as a coordinate branch of the federal government, clearly identiﬁes Congress as the only constitutional source entitled to deal with tribes. This policy development is in direct contrast to what African Americans have experienced. There, at least historically, the states were granted virtually free reign to assert their dominance over blacks. Tribal nations, on the other hand, were generally shielded from the states, though the shielding device used by the federal government Name /T5723/T5723_CH01 16 05/24/01 06:03AM Plate # 0-Composite american indian sovereignty and the supreme court was effective congressional omnipotence over Indian sovereignty and Indian civil, political, and property rights.
42 For example, in 1800 a House Committee dealt with the petition of Isaac Zane, who sought to have his Indian-derived tract of land validated by Congress. The committee’s report indicated that Congress took such petitions seriously and was more than willing to conﬁrm Indian grants to individuals provided that a strong case was made . . That the petitioner state that he was made a prisoner by the Wyandot Indians . . that his attachments to the white people [have] subjected him to numberless inconveniencies and dangers during the almost continual wars which existed between the United States and the Indians, until the peace of Greenville, in 1795.