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The Native doesn’t belong in the current political system – their narratives, stories, and cultures continuously get coopted by the system in an ongoing genocide



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The Native doesn’t belong in the current political system – their narratives, stories, and cultures continuously get coopted by the system in an ongoing genocide


Bradford 04, William Bradford, nearest date given is 2004, Bradford has a degree in law and is prominent in the field of Native American law. He works for the Tulsa Law Review, “Another Such Victory and We Are Undone: A Call to an American Indian Declaration of Independence,” http://digitalcommons.law.utulsa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2464&context=tlr, NN

Non-Indians, contemplating the political and legal enormity of the task of doing justice by the subjects of their policies of conquest, genocide, expropriation, legal assaults on tribal land and sovereignty, and forced political and economic dependency, have long bemoaned their "Indian problem."9 At least it is a problem of their own making; Indians, by contrast, have been saddled with a "Euro-American problem"'0 created, maintained, and, as Lara reveals, as yet unacknowledged by the political and legal system imposed and preserved by the might of the conqueror. Federal Indian law, not just willfully blind to crucial questions of agency and responsibility for past wrongs but often overtly racist, is the current instrument of choice whereby a non-Indian majority thwarts the assertion of sovereign tribal rights to engage in economic development projects resulting in the transborder movement of goods and persons," the production of significant wealth, 2 or the expression of religious or cultural difference. 3 Simply put, Lara, albeit a win for the "good guys," offers nothing to contradict the lesson of more than two centuries of practice: federal Indian law, and in particular the doctrines of plenary power and stare decisis, is the thinnest of veneers for "de facto rule over both tribes and individual Indians without restraint and across all manner of human affairs."' 4 Even if federal Indian law was not already structurally incompatible with the self-determination15 of Indian nations and ready-made for exploitation by foes of sovereign governments within the external borders of the United States, its interpretation, guided by the dominant philosophies of Western liberal jurisprudence and modern international legal positivism-the former distrustful of the Indian normative universe and thus bent upon remaking tribes to comport with a secular, individualist model of governance, the latter unwilling to recognize tribes as subjects of law and as bearers of natural legal rights actionable in domestic and international courts-would prove hostile, and perhaps fatal, to territorially based Indian sovereignty. Even under the moderating influence of the most sympathetic members of the nonpolitical branch, judicial review of questions of federal Indian law, on balance, has been an engine of the destruction of tribal self-determination since the founding of the United States. Plenary power and Indian sovereignty are mutually exclusive, and Lara only partially and temporarily obscures the existential reality that, for Indians, federal Indian law is an evil legal system.16 Rather than celebrate Lara, Indians should probe deeper and ask themselves how long before Congress "fixes" it and divests tribes of nonmember Indian criminal jurisdiction, whether they intend to mount an effective defense against the destruction of the last vestiges of their judicial sovereignty, what instruments of power-legal, political, and moral-they can marshal in support of this mission, and whether their right to self-determine can be meaningfully exercised in continued association with the United States.



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