Peter d'Errico: Anti-Indian forces play hardball in Supreme Court

Sending a message to Dollar General and the U.S. Supreme Court. Photo from Quilt Walk for Justice / Facebook

Retired professor Peter d'Errico doesn't think tribal interests have presented the strongest case in Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, a tribal jurisdiction case being heard today by the U.S. Supreme Court:
Make no mistake: the doctrine of Christian Discovery lies at the foundation of the idea that the US has an "overriding sovereignty" over Indians and that Indian self-government is limited to "internal tribal matters." The notion that the US Congress has power to define Indian government—sometimes referred to as the "plenary power" of Congress—also rests on "Christian Discovery" doctrine.

I venture to suggest that the Choctaw and their amicus allies fail to challenge the fundamental doctrines of federal Indian law out of fear. After all, despite the overall subordination of Indian nations, there remain elements of Indian sovereignty that have not been denied. The US Supreme Court has issued rulings that appear "pro-Indian" in certain cases, like the "exceptions" in the Montana decision.

The thinking likely goes, "Don't rock the boat with a fundamental challenge. Take the safe course and pray for the court to let us alone and leave us to our political program in Congress."

Unfortunately for this line of least resistance, the anti-Indian parties play hardball. They have nothing to lose from pushing the fundamental logic of "diminished sovereignty" to its logical conclusion.

Get the Story:
Peter d'Errico: The Dollar General Case: Anti-Indians Play Hardball, Indians Play Softball (Indian Country Today 12/5)

Also Today:
Dollar General seeks tribal suit ban in Miss. Choctaw case (AP 12/5)
Supreme Court case draws Tulalip’s attention (The Everett Herald 12/4)

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