The Rapidly Increasing Extraction of Oil, and Native Women, in North Dakota
During the past year, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and allies made national news as they gathered in prayerful ceremony at the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball Rivers to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline project in North Dakota. The pipeline threatens the tribe’s drinking water, sacred sites, and burial grounds, and, as a result, much attention has been paid to the potential environmental and cultural impacts of the pipeline. Little to no focus, however, has been given to the proposed pipeline’s impacts on the safety of Native women and children living in the Bakken region of North Dakota.
Statutory Divestiture of Tribal Sovereignty
The Supreme Court’s non-decision in Dollar General v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
is evidence not only of disagreement on tribal civil jurisdiction but perhaps also uncertainty in how to analyze divestiture of tribal sovereignty. Most scholars (including myself) have described the Court’s behavior in tribal sovereign authority cases as one of judicial supremacy, in that the Court merely makes policy choices based
on its own ideological views of tribal power.
Breaking Faith With the Tribal Sovereignty Doctrine
The great Seneca Nation leader and diplomat Red Jacket is said to have illustrated the tribe’s frustration with the insatiable encroachment of those seeking Seneca lands during a negotiation with the Holland Land Company’s agent, Joseph Ellicott. The two were seated on a log.
Tribes and Cannabis: Seeking Parity with States and Consultation and Agreement from the U.S. Government
Sales of legal cannabis reached nearly $7 billion in 2016 and are expected to eclipse $20 billion by 2021. Despite their efforts, and an overarching trust obligation owed by the U.S. government to Indian nations, American Indian tribes adopting state “go-it-alone” models of cannabis legalization have failed to receive parity in treatment with states on cannabis issues and have been met with threats or actions by law enforcement.
Does the Supreme Court Have the Final Word?
The Supreme Court and legal scholars frequently promote the doctrine that when the Court decides a constitutional issue, it speaks with finality. In a 1953 decision, Justice Robert H. Jackson offered this explanation: “We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.”