Steven Newcomb: Dominance at core of federal Indian laws

"Some years ago, I was studying both the Latin and English versions of the Vatican document Inter Caetera, dated May 4, 1493, and came across the following sentence: “We trust in Him from whom empires, and governments, and all good things proceed.” In Latin it reads: “…in Illo a quo imperia et dominationes ac bona cuncta procedunt confidentes…”

The spelling of the pronoun “Him” with a capital ‘H’ (and Illo with a capital ‘I’) tells us that the sentence is signifying a Being that is not named in the sentence. In that context, the word “proceed” means “to issue from.” Thus, I saw that the sentence talks of “empires and governments” issuing forth from, or moving out from, the unnamed Being.

When I compared the Latin and English terminology, I found that the Latin word for ‘governments’ is ‘dominationes,’ or, in English, ‘dominations.’ Thus, the Latin word for a single ‘government’ is ‘domination.’ It is instructional and interesting that, the words “government” and “domination” are synonyms.

Based on the above information, we may accurately refer to “the federal government” as “the federal domination.” Federal Indian law and policy is an outgrowth of a conceptual and behavioral system of federal domination or dominance."

Get the Story:
Steven Newcomb: Government: An Expression of Domination (Indian Country Today 9/10)

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