Opinion

Peter d'Errico: Indian trust relationship isn't a two-way street





"When President Jefferson Keel referred to the "trust relationship" in his State of Indian Nations address to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), he fell into a common trap: he presumed several things that are not true.

The first and biggest presumption is that the so-called "trust relationship" is a two-way street. President Keel said the "unique nation-to-nation relationship tribes enjoy with the United States" is "a relationship of mutual respect, mutual obligation and mutual trust." Unfortunately, both history and law show that this statement is false.

The "unique" aspect of the relationship between Indians and the U.S. is that the U.S. considers itself inherently superior to Indian nations. Inherently—by definition—according to the U.S. Supreme Court, Indian nations cannot be equal to the U.S. because the U.S. assumes the role of the Christian "discoverer," empowered by the Popes to take and subdue all non-Christian lands and peoples."

Get the Story:
Peter d'Errico: NCAI President Jefferson Keel Falls Into Traps (Indian Country Today 2/21)

Relevant Links:
Video | Audio | Text of Speech | Sen. Cantwell Response

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