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American Indian Sovereignty and the U.S. Supreme Court: The Masking of Justice

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In this book, David Wilkins examines fifteen landmark cases in which the Supreme Court significantly curtailed Indian rights.


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In this book, David Wilkins examines fifteen landmark cases in which the Supreme Court significantly curtailed Indian rights.

36 review for American Indian Sovereignty and the U.S. Supreme Court: The Masking of Justice

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Boyer-Kelly

    Disclaimer I purchased this for a Federal Indian Law course, but of course the professor only required that we read one chapter out of the entire book. My review, thus, is primarily about Chapter 2 and the brief skimming that I completed of a few other chapters. Chapter 2, "The Era of Defining Tribes, Their Lands, and Their Sovereignty," discusses how recognition of American Indian tribes (via the US federal government) came to be. It is a great overview chapter, which explains why it was the sol Disclaimer I purchased this for a Federal Indian Law course, but of course the professor only required that we read one chapter out of the entire book. My review, thus, is primarily about Chapter 2 and the brief skimming that I completed of a few other chapters. Chapter 2, "The Era of Defining Tribes, Their Lands, and Their Sovereignty," discusses how recognition of American Indian tribes (via the US federal government) came to be. It is a great overview chapter, which explains why it was the sole chapter selected to be read in a course I was taking. The chapter begins by describing inherent sovereignty: the inherent right of American Indian Nations to self-govern in a way they see fit without interference. They define this from a political/legal standpoint as well as from a cultural/spiritual standpoint. The author discusses that the Commerce Clause actually shows that the Federal Government knows about this inherent sovereignty, although at times and in different eras they pretend not to understand the concept. The chapter then goes on to discuss the Marshall Trilogy. This is a series of three court cases that helped to give a federal definition of American Indian Nations and is named after the Supreme Court Justice Marshall, who gave the main statements at the end of each case. Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831) is the first case that determined the Cherokee Nation was not a foreign nation, so they could not even bring a case against Georgia in the courts. This is where you end up with the idea/concept of "domestic dependent nations" that leads people to believe tribes are "dependent" upon the federal government. There is then a brief insertion of a discussion/explanation/definition of plenary power. The chapter then goes back to discuss Johnson v. McIntosh (1823) which is another of the Marshall Trilogy cases. It was actually the first case, but the book deals with them out of order. Here, Johnson bought Indian land from a Native individual and McIntosh had purchased the land from the government office. The dispute ended up in the Supreme Court and they decided that Native people could not own/sell land--giving the government exclusive rights to buy/sell Indian land. Following this, the chapter goes on to discuss ways in which the government began to "identify" Native people using different methods. These include questions about citizenship, federal allegiances, separate nations within nations, becoming Indian, questions about if adoptions into tribes count, and if the Supreme Court should ever have jurisdiction in helping/deciding these questions. Overall, a fascinating chapter. The rest of the book looks great too, but this is the fundamental groundwork for everything else.

  2. 4 out of 5

    George Pappas

  3. 4 out of 5

    John

  4. 4 out of 5

    Habsta

  5. 4 out of 5

    Inez Beall

    Creation of Indian Law.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Johnson

  7. 5 out of 5

    Renee

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Taylor Lucas

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lillian Jones

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mandee

  11. 4 out of 5

    Leota Thomas-breitfeld

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ownbymom Ownby

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Akel

  14. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

  15. 5 out of 5

    BookDB

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dania

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Eagle

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marsha

  20. 5 out of 5

    University of Texas Press

  21. 5 out of 5

    Adrian Griffis

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Sharron

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  24. 4 out of 5

    Grace Barnick

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tia

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kira

  28. 4 out of 5

    Adam Marsan

  29. 4 out of 5

    Twylia

  30. 4 out of 5

    Aunika

  31. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

  32. 4 out of 5

    Liz

  33. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

  34. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  35. 4 out of 5

    Kory

  36. 4 out of 5

    Billy

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