Monday, June 15, 2009

Forced Federalism: Contemporary Challenges To Indigenous Nationhood

Forced Federalism: Contemporary Challenges to Indigenous Nationhood (American Indian Law and Policy)alt

Approximately every two decades, federal policy shifts between a conservative laissez faire delegation of power to the states and a liberal, often paternal, centralization of power within the federal government. The latest development in the cycle, according to the authors of Forced Federalism, is the new federalism that began more than twenty years ago.
Forced Federalism of Native American Indians
Corntassel and Witmer argue that forced federalism has arrived unnoticed, with most people thinking, if they think about it at all, that Indian policy remains as it was in the 1960s. Under Lyndon Johnson federal policy was liberal, and indigenous people were allowed a significant amount of self determination as well as a large amount of federal support. In the late 1980s under the new federalism, specifically in 1988 with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the federal government abdicated its role in Indian affairs and gave the states the responsibility for Native American populations. Indian nations are sovereign entities, comparable to the federal government, whose relations with the United States are set by treaty. Dealing with the states rather than the federal government as such produces a loss of status for Native American nations.

When the American Indian Movement (AIM) seized the Oglala reservation at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in 1973, its purpose was to obtain redress for grievances and bring the federal government to acknowledge treaty violations. AIM was not protesting state or federal neglect of constituents. Rather, it was drawing attention to violations by a sovereign nation, the United States, of an international agreement with another sovereign nation, the Oglala Sioux. To reinforce its claim to sovereignty, AIM attempted to present its case before the United Nations, a forum where sovereign nations handle problems with other sovereign nations.

Read the rest of the review here: Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources: Forced Federalism Or get a copy of Forced Federalism: Contemporary Challenges to Indigenous Nationhood now!alt

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