Contextualizing Tribal Sovereignty

Flathead Nation police patch

A nation within a nation creates endless opportunities for conflict or for negotiation.

I think the materials presented in class about tribal sovereignty are good and useful–they present the tribal perspective, and they present a good starting place, particularly for students who are unfamiliar with the history and the arguments behind tribal sovereignty.

I would contextualize these materials in my class by focusing on what Decker called “collisions” between tribal sovereignty and other constitutional considerations. One major area that invites further thought has to do with the rights of nonmembers who find themselves under the jurisdiction of tribal governments due to tribal sovereignty. One context for tribal sovereignty is the Constitution itself.

The New York Times picked such a situation for an online discussion. Because the case they selected focuses on the treatment of black citizens by a Native American tribe, it has the advantage avoiding the racial stereotyping that such discussions tend to invite. My hope would be to balance a discussion of history with a discussion of principles, ignoring racial distinctions and discussing group A and group B–the situations in the abstract.

I will also locate or create a simple document spelling out what “rule of law” has meant to a few major thinkers historically–including Aristotle and Hayek but also a few others.

Website Pin Facebook Twitter Myspace Friendfeed Technorati Digg Google StumbleUpon Premium Responsive