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 different minorities, displays the increase and fall in our democratic faith," wrote Felix S. Cohen, an early professional in Indian felony affairs. during this publication, David Wilkins charts the "fall in our democratic religion" via fifteen landmark circumstances within which the splendid court docket considerably curtailed Indian rights. He deals compelling proof that perfect court docket justices selectively used precedents and proof, either ancient and modern, to reach at judgements that experience undermined tribal sovereignty, legitimated large tribal land losses, sanctioned the diminishment of Indian spiritual rights, and curtailed different rights to boot. those case studies--and their implications for all minority groups--make vital and troubling examining at a time while the ideally suited courtroom is on the vortex of political and ethical advancements which are redefining the character of yankee executive, reworking the connection among the criminal and political branches, and changing the very that means of federalism.
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Additional info for American Indian Sovereignty and the U.S. Supreme Court: The Masking of Justice
Two sets of masks were applied to tribal nations. ). ’’ 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.
Chapter 5 scrutinizes Oliphant v. 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.
The mask worn by federalizing agents viewed the United States as the core unit such that nonfederal entities must either be absorbed or vanquished. ’’ In masking the legal process, Law was clearly an agent of national unity. During the late 1800s and well into the twentieth century, the Court rendered a number of decisions indicating a clear intent to dilute the extraconstitutional status of tribes by unilaterally declaring them ‘‘wards’’ of the government and disavowing their separate, independent status.