Opinion

Bryan Newland: Trump team quickly brings back fears of termination





It took the Bush administration a year before talk of termination began to bog down its dealings with Indian Country. But fears of that era are already back on the table barely four months after President Donald Trump came into power. Writing on the influential Turtle Talk blog, attorney Bryan Newland, a citizen of the Bay Mills Indian Community who worked at the Bureau of Indian Affairs during the Obama years, wonders where it's all going:
Donald Trump has been the President for nearly four months, and his administration has done little (if anything) to assuage Indian country’s concerns.

Within days of taking office, he issued executive orders approving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines over the objections of Indian tribes, and without consulting those tribes. More recently, he announced a review of President Obama’s designation of the sacred Bears Ears as a National Monument without tribal consultation. Tribal leaders in the Four Corners area have had a difficult time even getting a meeting with officials in the Trump Administration to discuss their concerns with reviewing the Bears Ears Monument designation. The Department of the Interior has also announced a new policy (again, without tribal consultation) to have senior officials in the BIA’s Washington, D.C. office review and approve land-to-trust requests for off-reservation land. This will have the effect of slowing those types of acquisitions almost to the point of a moratorium, making it harder for small land-base tribes to establish a reservation.

Indian country’s biggest fear with a Trump Administration has been that the Federal Government would usher in yet another era of tribal termination. I wrote a post in 2016 explaining that then-candidate Trump’s views on Indian tribes appeared to be rooted in a philosophy that Indian tribes were nothing more than race-based associations, rather than sovereign legal entities.

As President, Donald Trump, his administration, and his congressional allies have done little to put these fears to rest.

Read More on the Story:
Bryan Newland: Donald Trump, and Indian Country’s Termination Fears (Turtle Talk 5/8)

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