Commentary: Just what is tribal sovereignty?
"Before the advent of Indian gambling casinos and the profits which enabled federally acknowledged Indian tribes to enter the world of big business, few people had ever heard of tribal sovereignty.

Generally the old European and international concept of sovereignty was associated with “nation states,” countries that saw their people and territory as having to answer to no other sovereign nation in their affairs.

Since the United States became a sovereign independent nation, it has exercised plenary power over all Indian tribes.

In the early days, there were only a few major recognized historic tribes, some with thousands of tribal members, unlike today, when tiny bands or groups of Indian descendants often claim to be a separate tribe.

In actuality, they are just splinter groups or families sharing a common or similar tribal ancestry.

In California, these tiny groups are no more than the remnants of families that at one time had a tribal ancestry.

The federal government’s Indian policies ran the gamut from treaties relations to welfare dependency.

In the beginning, when the European powers were struggling for hegemony, over the North American continent it was expedient to make treaties with various recognized tribes who were often allies in the war for control of what was called the American and Canadian territories."

Get the Story:
Jim Marino: WHAT IS INDIAN TRIBAL SOVEREIGNTY? (The Santa Ynez Valley Journal 7/2)

Related Stories:
Commentary: Just who is a Native American? (6/25)