Indian Reorganization Act (IRA)

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Truth To Tell: Community Connections - White Earth Constitutional Forum Part II

In collaboration with production partner KKWE/Niijii Radio, TruthToTell and CivicMedia/Minnesota traveled west on August 14, 2013, to the White Earth Reservation to air/televise the seventh in our series of LIVE Community Connections forums on critical Minnesota issues. Convened at White Earth's…

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Native American Lands and the Supreme Court

Native American Lands and the Supreme Court

Tribal judge and legal scholar Angela Riley (Citizen Potawatomi) spoke in the U.S. Supreme Court chamber about the history of the Supreme Court and Native American lands. The lecture was one in a series hosted by the Supreme Court Historical Society on the Constitution, the Supreme Court, and…

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Vine Deloria's Last Video Interview

American Indian author, theologian, historian, and activist Vine Deloria, Jr. (1933-2005) talks with documentary film producer Grant Crowell about traditional Indigenous governance systems and criteria for citizenship, the impact of colonial policies on tribal citizenship (specifically the effects…

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Joseph P. Kalt: The Nation-Building Renaissance in Indian Country: Keys to Success

Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development Co-Director Joseph P. Kalt presents on the Native nation-building renaissance taking root across in Indian Country, and shares some stories of success.

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An Essay on the Modern Dynamics of Tribal Disenrollment

An Essay on the Modern Dynamics of Tribal Disenrollment

Disenrollment is predominately about race, and money, and an “individualistic, materialistic attitude” that is not indigenous to tribal communities. Because many tribes have maintained the IRA’s paternalistic and antiquated definition of “Indian” vis-a-vis blood quantum (as discussed in “An Essay…

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Rethinking Rewriting: Tribal Constitutional Amendment and Reform

Rethinking Rewriting: Tribal Constitutional Amendment and Reform

This essay examines the recent wave of American Indian tribal constitutional change through the framework of subnational constitutional theory. When tribes rewrite their constitutions, they not only address internal tribal questions and communicate tribal values, but also engage with other…

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Understanding the history of tribal enrollment

Understanding the history of tribal enrollment

It's difficult to talk about tribal enrollment without talking about Indian identity. The two issues have become snarled in the twentieth century as the United States government has inserted itself more and more into the internal affairs of Indian nations. Ask who is Indian, and you will get…

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Northern Cheyenne Tribe: Traditional Law and Constitutional Reform

Northern Cheyenne Tribe: Traditional Law and Constitutional Reform

This profile by Sheldon C. Spotted Elk examines the U.S. government's infringement on the Northern Cheyenne's political sovereignty. Most significantly, it examines the relationship between the oral history of the Northern Cheyenne and its impact on traditional tribal governance and law. Following…

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An Essay on the Federal Origins of Disenrollment

An Essay on the Federal Origins of Disenrollment

Disenrollment is not indigenous to Native America. It is a creature of the United States. The origins of disenrollment are traced to the United States’ paternalistic assimilation policies of the 1930s. In 1934 the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act (“IRA”), wherein the federal…

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Members Only? Designing Citizenship Requirements for Indian Nations

Members Only? Designing Citizenship Requirements for Indian Nations

Indian nations' constitutional reform efforts encounter some of their most paralyzing conflicts over criteria for membership. Three years ago, I initiated a Tribal Legal Development Clinic at UCLA, whose purpose has been to assist Indian nations in building their legal infrastructures. This Clinic…

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Race and American Indian Tribal Nationhood

Race and American Indian Tribal Nationhood

This article bridges the gap between the perception and reality of American Indian tribal nation citizenship. The United States and federal Indian law encouraged, and in many instances mandated, Indian nations to adopt race-based tribal citizenship criteria. Even in the rare circumstance where an…

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Tribal Economic Development: Nuts & Bolts

Tribal Economic Development: Nuts & Bolts

Tribal economic development is a product of the need for Indian tribes to generate revenue in order to pay for the provision of governmental services. Unlike the federal government or states, Indian tribes – in general – have no viable tax base from which to generate revenues sufficient to…

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Tribal Constitutions and Native Sovereignty

Tribal Constitutions and Native Sovereignty

More than 565 Indigenous tribal governments exercise extensive sovereign and political powers within the United States today. Only about 230 of the native communities that created these governments, however, have chosen to adopt written constitutions to define and control the political powers of…

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Legal Pluralism and Tribal Constitutions

Legal Pluralism and Tribal Constitutions

What do pigs roaming the streets of New York City during the first half of the nineteenth century and tribal constitutions have in common? The most obvious (and often the most correct) answer is, undoubtedly, “absolutely nothing.” However, tribal advocates, particularly those concerned with the…