Dancing Bears

Tribal Sovereignty -  As reported by the Native American Caucus*.    August 11, 2022.

Tribal governments are the oldest governments in existence in the Western Hemisphere. Despite common misperceptions, the United States was not the first government to institute democratic rule and introduce concepts of fair representation, equality, and justice for all.   At a time when European governments were authoritarian and hierarchical, traditional tribal governments were based upon principles of democracy, equality, freedom, and respect. The U.S. Constitution is modeled after the oldest constitution in North America — the constitution of the Seven Iroquois Nations.  The Indians called this constitution “The Great Law of Peace” and it governed an alliance of Indian tribes that was four hundred years old when the first settlers arrived.

Sovereignty as a Retained Right 

Long before there was a United States of America, tribes governed themselves, provided for their people, and negotiated treaties with other nations such as England, France, and Spain. When tribes signed treaties with the U.S., they were guaranteed the right to continue governing themselves.  This means that their sovereign rights are retained, not granted.*

This week the subject of the rights of the US Government to determine that we are not a tribe was discussed at the Sault Tribe Board Meeting.  Parties attending the meeting were discussing which projects should be funded; A promised update of the Ceremonial Building or funding a Farm.  Both pitching their projects should be funded because it will satisfy the Federal Government's requirement which would allow them to determine we are a Tribe.  Our interpretation of the statements made to the Board made us believe that the Federal Government can take away our rights if we don't act "Indian Enough".  If we want to protect our rights that is a loop-hole that needs to be closed.  

We are born into the Tribe.    

We are not Dancing Bears.