Something that has long been a bur under my saddle is this. Over the last forty years I have spent dealing with Tribal issues, I have heard so many people say, “There is nothing we can do, the government won't let us.”.

This just does not sound very sovereign to me.

How does one deal with drastic problems? With drastic measures !

BIA say Tribes can do this and can't do that. They control Tribal Land, Tribal resources and in many cases Tribal funds at least to some degree.

Yet we all know the government applies many unlawful and even unconstitutional actions aside from Treaty violations.

Now, sovereignty would dictate that any Sovereign Nation any where would not tolerate these things.

I think Tribes simply don't see themselves as having any bargaining chips.

I disagree with this train of thought, especially in this day and time. Today Tribes not only have their own voices, but the voices of other Nations to go with theirs. Even the voices of individuals and those who are nonnative around the world who support Tribal Issues.

Being able to bring these bargaining chip into play is another question entirely.

Just one example, open pit mining benefits no-one other than the mine owners. It is harmful to the environment, to the health of people who live near it and to everything and everyone it touches.

When this happens on Tribal Land, why don't Tribes simply say, this is not allowed on Tribal Land !

Now, I probably know the answer to this question, but for the sake of argument, lets just say that I don't.

Could it be that Some Tribal Leaders think they have no other option? Could be that even some have decided to look out for themselves rather than the People? Perhaps some simply have no idea what being a sovereign Nation actually entails? I will say this, you are never more sovereign than you act !

There are hundreds of issues out there that could be won in court. I am not an attorney, though I have for over 40 years studied every aspect of Federal Law concerning Tribal Law. I have seen so many times that Tribes have said, We can't do that, our attorneys say that it won't work. My question is, How do you know if you don't try ?

Legal precedent is

Definition :

prec·e·dent (prĕs′ĭ-dənt)

n.

1.

a. An act or instance that may be used as an example in dealing with subsequent similar instances.

b. Law A judicial decision that is binding on other equal or lower courts in the same jurisdiction as to its conclusion on a point of law, and may also be persuasive to courts in other jurisdictions, in subsequent cases involving sufficiently similar facts.

Every case that has made Legal Precedent was an argument that had not been made effectively or made at all in the past.

The actions of a Sovereign Nation are not dictated by any other Nation, other wise they are simply dependent Nations to the Sovereign Nation.

So, if the BIA is not acting in the best interest of a Tribal Nation, evict them and their representatives from Tribal Land until they do so.

If they have control over Tribal Resources, file a show cause order why the Tribe should not have control of their own resources.

If the Government makes a deal on Tribal Resources that does not benefit the Tribe, then don't sign it period ! And if a Tribe finds out after the fact that a deal is detrimental to the Tribe, simply cancel the agreement and evict anyone who is attempting to continue that “deal”.

Here I will refer you back to my former posts on Tribal Sovereignty. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/question-tribal-sovereignty-jim-windwalker/

It is not enough to say we are sovereign. We must act sovereign.