Shadow Nations: Tribal Sovereignty and the Limits of Legal Pluralism

Hardcover | July 15, 2013

byBruce Duthu

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American Indian tribes have long been recognized as "domestic, dependent nations" within the United States with powers of self-government that operate within the tribes' sovereign territories. Yet, over the years, the Congress, and more recently, the US Supreme Court, have steadily erodedthese tribal powers. In some respects, the erosion of tribal powers reflects the legacy of an imperialist impulse within the nation that operates to constrain or eliminate any political power that may compete with it. These developments have served to move the nation away from its formativecommitments to a legally plural society, or in other words, the idea that multiple nations and their legal systems could co-exist peacefully in shared territories.This book argues for redirecting the trajectory of tribal-federal relations to better reflect the formative ethos of legal pluralism that operated in the nation's earliest years. Such efforts will require that we confront and redress a number of ideological, constitutional and institutionalchallenges that may otherwise impede the important work of revitalizing tribal systems of self-government. From an ideological standpoint, this means that we must reexamine our long-held commitments to legal centralism, the view that the nation-state and its institutions are the only legitimatesources of law, as well as our commitments to liberalism, the dominant political philosophy that undergirds our democratic structures and situates the individual, not the group or a collective, as the bedrock moral unit of society. From a constitutional standpoint, establishing more robustexpressions of tribal sovereignty will require that we take seriously the concerns of citizens, tribal and non-tribal alike, who will demand that tribal governments operate consistent with constitutional values. Finally, from an institutional standpoint, these efforts will require a new, flexibleand adaptable institutional architecture that is better suited to accommodating these competing interests.

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American Indian tribes have long been recognized as "domestic, dependent nations" within the United States with powers of self-government that operate within the tribes' sovereign territories. Yet, over the years, the Congress, and more recently, the US Supreme Court, have steadily erodedthese tribal powers. In some respects, the erosi...

Bruce Duthu is the Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth College. An internationally recognized scholar of Native American law and policy, Duthu is the author of American Indians and the Law (2008) and was a contributing author to Felix S. Cohen's Handbook of Federal Indian Law (2005), the leading treatise in t...

other books by Bruce Duthu

American Indians and the Law
American Indians and the Law

Kobo ebook|Jan 31 2008

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:July 15, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199735867

ISBN - 13:9780199735860

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Tribal Sovereignty and Legal Pluralism2. In the Shadows of the Nation-State3. Pluralism and Liberalism: Testing the Limits of a Measured Separatism for Tribal Nations4. Of Guardians and Wards: The Indian as Homo Sacer5. Structure and Relationship: The Constitutional Dimensions of Federal and Tribal Power in Indian Country6. Coming Full Circle: (Re)Building Institutions to Advance the Ethos of Legal PluralismConclusionBibliography