Opinion: Supreme Court won't end land-into-trust
"On Feb. 24, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Department of the Interior could annex land on behalf of an Indian tribe only if that tribe was federally recognized in 1934.

The Narragansett Tribe in Rhode Island was the subject tribe in the Carcieri v. Salazar ruling. Taxpayers funded both sides of the dispute. The ruling affects the Narragansetts and at least half of the tribes recognized today, including the Mashantuckets and Mohegans, who claim the ruling was moot for their purposes. That claim is hardly credible.

Both Connecticut tribes have successfully annexed land in the past, and both surely own taxable property now. Presently, the ruling prevents them from annexing land from local tax rolls. The ruling also means that land previously annexed for the benefit of those tribes was done so in violation of the law, i.e., The Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) enacted in 1934.

The IRA of 1934 was the creation of John Collier, the commissioner of Indian Affairs under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Collier disliked the American Industrial Revolution, believing that people were becoming too materialistic and individualistic as a result. The communal world of Indian tribes was more to his liking. In 1919, the Justice Department scrutinized Collier because of his “communistic” views. All American Indians were made American citizens in 1924. When the 1930s rolled around and communistic ideology was en vogue, Collier was able to establish the Indian New Deal.

Annexation will not end with the Supreme Court decision. Annexation will be an issue for as long as federal Indian law exists. Americans can continue living under convoluted and divisive laws or we live as one nation under equally applied laws."

Get the Story:
Larry Greene: High Court Ruling Rekindles Old Debate (The New London Day 3/15)

Another Connecticut Opinion:
Bethe Dufresne: Tribes' Expansion Drive Deflated (The Hartford Courant 3/15)

Supreme Court Decision:
Syllabus | Opinion [Thomas] | Concurrence [Breyer] | Dissent [Stevens] | Concurrence/Dissent [Souter]

Supreme Court Documents:
Oral Argument Transcript | Briefs

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