|Steven Russell discusses sovereignty in the federal Indian law domination system:
In his recent column, “The Long Road to ‘Free and Independent’ for Indian Nations,” Steve Russell says, “My ICTMN colleagues are fond of ‘free and independent’ as a description of the once and future status of Indian nations.” The phrase that Russell did not use in his title or his comment about his ICTMN colleagues is “free and independent of domination,” which is the way I prefer to frame the issue our nations and peoples are facing.
In his column, Mr. Russell hangs his hat in on the word dependent and claims, “As long as we remain dependent in fact, discussions of sovereignty are for amusement only.” But the argument that I’m in the habit of making, that our nations are rightfully free and independent of U.S. patterns of domination, is in no way nullified by the observation that our nations, as a result of centuries of the domination we are seeking to end, have been, to a great extent, made economically dependent on the United States.
Judge Russell places himself in a peculiar role by appearing to counter the argument that our Indian nations and peoples are rightfully free and independent from U.S. patterns of domination. It makes him appear to be saying to Indian nations: “You might as well just accept U.S. patterns of domination over your lives because it has succeeded in making your nations dependent on the United States.” In other words, you are foreclosed from effectively fighting against such domination because of its deleterious effects.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court ruling Worcester v. Georgia (1832) clarifies that Indian nations being “dependent” on the United States has to do with a kind of relationship, and not a rightful political identity.
Get the Story:
‘Dependent’ Is Not a Political Identity
(Indian Country Today 12/19)