Opinion | Politics

Doug George-Kanentiio: Restoring some balance to Native nations






A message from the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin: "I Vote" -- a bracelet. Photo from Facebook

For Native Nations, The US Elections Hinge on Two Paragraphs
By Doug George-Kanentiio

The Native Nations affected by the upcoming US elections hinge on the following two paragraphs of the U.S. Constitution:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Its meaning cannot be more clear. All federal, state and local laws from land claims to hunting rights, economic development or justice are subject to the above statutes. It assures those Native Nations who have formal treaties with the US that they are free, independent and separate from the subsidiary agencies within the US. And every official, appointed or elected, and each officer and member of the military, is bound by the above including the US Supreme Court.

Virtually all candidates striving for national office claim to be bound by the provisions of the Constitution-some even seek to impose strict qualifications upon federal judges to abide by each word and phrase of that document and not to waiver from its intent.

If this is so, then I propose that those in a position to ask candidates questions regarding the Constitution submit the following inquiry:
Question: Under law, you are bound by the Constitution. Do you then affirm Article Six which states, unequivocally, that treaties are the supreme law of the land. Upon entry into office will you, insofar as your authority provides, order all those under your jurisdiction to vigorously enforce this law?

Should the candidate affirm this then each and every treaty entered into with a Native nation must be obeyed. And every law, ordinance or judicial decision made in contradiction to Article Six is therefore nullified. The US and the Native nations must be returned to the status and condition at which time the treaties were signed and enacted, by each nation, into law. And that the terms and conditions of each and every treaty made between the US and the native nations must be subject to the understanding of both entities which were then, and are now, equal parties under law.

Should the candidate waiver, postulate or evade then they undermine the Constitution and should be exempt from elected or appointed office. It also means the nullification of the 1924 Indian Citizenship Act, the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act and the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Are the Native nations prepared of this or will they retreat into the current state of unsustainable contradictions made worse by the decision by some to take an active part if the electoral process of an alien entity?

You are either are-or you are not.

It is that simple. Or complex.

Doug George-Kanentiio is an Akwesasne Mohawk currently residing on Oneida Territory with his wife Joanne Shenandoah.

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