Indian Reorganization Act (IRA)

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Ivan Star Comes Out: The Indian Reorganization Act at 80 years

The Indian Reorganization Act at 80 years

At Pine Ridge, daily controversy surrounds the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934. Congress enacted the IRA on June 18, 1934. However, the voting requirement was drastically altered just three days prior. This amendment (H.R. 7781, 49 Stat., 378) dated June 15, 1934, lowered the overall voting…

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Indigenous Land Management in the United States: Context, Cases, Lessons

Indigenous Land Management in the United States: Context, Cases, Lessons

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is seeking ways to support First Nations’ economic development. Among its concerns are the status and management of First Nations’ lands. The Indian Act, bureaucratic processes, the capacities of First Nations themselves, and other factors currently limit the…

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Broken Government: Constitutional Inadequacy Spawns Conflict at San Carlos

Broken Government: Constitutional Inadequacy Spawns Conflict at San Carlos

This article, published in 1999, examined the governmental conflict taking place at the San Carlos Apache Tribe. It explored the historical constitutional roots of the conflict, specifically the ineffectiveness and culturally inappropriate Indian Reorganization constitution and system of government…

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Lenor Scheffler: The Lower Sioux Indian Community's Approach to Citizenship

Lawyer Lenor Scheffler (Lower Sioux Indian Community) provides an overview of the Lower Sioux Indian Community's approach to defining citizenship, which is predicated on residency within the Lower Sioux reservation's boundaries. She also discusses how eligibility for tribal social services is tied…

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Robert Hershey: Dispelling Stereotypes about the Federal Government's Role in Native Nation Constitutional Reform

Robert Hershey, Professor of Law and American Indian Studies at The University of Arizona, dispels some longstanding stereotypes about what the federal government can and will do should a Native nation decide to amend its constitution to remove the Secretary of Interior approval clause or else make…

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John Borrows: Revitalizing Indigenous Constitutionalism in the 21st Century

In this thoughtful conversation with NNI's Ian Record, scholar John Borrows (Anishinaabe) discusses Indigenous constitutionalism in its most fundamental sense, and provides some critical food for thought to Native nations who are wrestling with constitutional development and change in the 21st…

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Good Native Governance Break Out 3: Tribal Constitutional Revitalization

UCLA School of Law "Good Native Governance" conference presenters, panelists and participants Melissa L. Tatum, Devon Lee Lomayesva, and Jill Doerfler discuss constitutional reform efforts. Melissa describes the purpose of consitutions. Using her own Nation's experience, Devon discusses the Iipay…

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Terry Janis: The White Earth Nation Constitutional Reform Process

In this lively and far-reaching discussion with NNI's Ian Record, Terry Janis (Oglala Lakota), former project manager of the White Earth Nation Constitution Reform Project, provides an overview of the citizen education and engagement campaign that preceded White Earth's historic vote to ratify a…

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Justin Beaulieu: The Red Lake Nation's Approach to Constitutional Reform

Justin Beaulieu (Red Lake Nation), coordinator of the Red lake Nation Constitution Reform Initiative, provides a detailed overview of how the Red Lake Nation's constitution reform committee has designed and is implementing a methodical, strategic, comprehensive approach to reviewing and reforming…

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Terry Janis: Citizen Engagement and Constitutional Change at the White Earth Nation

Terry Janis (Oglala Lakota), former Project Manager of the White Earth Nation Constitution Reform Project, provides participants with a detailed overview of the multi-faceted approach to citizen engagement that the White Earth Nation followed as it worked to educate the White Earth people about the…

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Joan Timeche: The Hopi Tribe: Wrestling with the IRA System of Governance (Presentation Highlight)

In this highlight from the presentation "Defining Constitutions and the Movement to Remake Them," Joan Timeche (Hopi) discusses how the Hopi Tribe continues to wrestle with an Indian Reorganization Act constitution and system of governance that runs counter to its traditional, village-based system…

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Vanya Hogen: Redefining Citizenship Criteria Through Constitutional Reform and Other Means

Lawyer and tribal judge Vanya Hogen (Oglala Sioux) discusses the difficulties inherent in amending Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) constitutions to redefine tribal citizenship criteria, and shares the story of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community as an example of one Native nation with an IRA…

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Robert Hershey and Andrew Martinez: The Legal Process of Constitutional Reform (Q&A)

Robert Hershey and Andrew Martinez engage participants in a lively discussion about the intricacies of secretarial elections and whether and how Native nations with Indian Reorganization Act constitutions should remove the Secretary of Interior approval clause from those governing documents.

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Richard Luarkie: The Pueblo of Laguna: A Constitutional History

In this informative interview with NNI's Ian Record, Laguna Governor Richard Luarkie provides a detailed overview of what prompted the Pueblo of Laguna to first develop a written constitution in 1908, and what led it to amend the constitution on numerous occasions in the century since. He also…

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Bethany Berger: Citizenship: Culture, Language and Law

University of Connecticut Law Professor Bethany Berger provides a brief history of the federal policies that have negatively impacted the ways that Native nations define and enforce their criteria for citizenship historically through to the present day.  This video resource is featured on the…

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Diane Enos: Building a Sustainable Economy at Salt River

In this informative interview with NNI's Ian Record, Diane Enos, President of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, discusses some of the many significant steps that Salt River has taken over the past few decades to systematically build a self-sufficient, sustainable economy.

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Ian Record: Citizen Engagement: The Key to Establishing and Sustaining Good Governance

For Native nations, establishing and sustaining the good governance necessary to determine and then achieve their strategic priorities hinges on citizen engagement: the ability of a nation and its government to consult and educate its citizens about the major decisions it makes and implements in…

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Brian Cladoosby: The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community's Approach to Governance and Intergovernmental Relations

In this wide-ranging interview with NNI's Ian Record, Chairman Brian Cladoosby of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community discusses Swinomish's unique governance system, its approach to building relationships with other governments to achieve its strategic priorities, and what he feels are the…

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David Wilkins: Indigenous Governance Systems: Diversity, Colonization, Adaptation, and Resurgence

In this in-depth interview with NNI's Ian Record, federal Indian law and policy scholar David Wilkins discusses the incredible diversity and sophistication of traditional Indigenous governance systems, the profound impacts colonial policies had on those systems, and how Native nations are working…

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John Petoskey: The Central Role of Justice Systems in Native Nation Building

John Petoskey, citizen and longtime general counsel of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (GTB), discusses the key role that justice systems play in Native nation building, and provides an overview of how GTB's distinct history led it to develop a new constitution and system of…