Chanku Luta (Red Road)

Hau Mitakuyapi
Take a minute, read, review, comment, we of the Dakota Nation may be forgotten in time, but for now we will never be ignored...I will see you on the Red Road of Life...Wopida Tanka
Hokshida Maza (Iron Boy) Bdewakantowan Dakota Akichita

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Bane of Indian Country

In 1934 Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act for federally recognized tribes.  This act was meant to empower the tribes to establish and maintain their own governance systems individually from reservation to reservation.  And it was meant to improve and enhance conditions which were favorable to the tribes.

In 1928 the Brookings Institute released the highly controversial Meriam Report which depicted the current social, economic and political status of Indian people and decimated and dismal.

It was partly as a result of this report that the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration initiated a process which resulted in the enactment of the Indian Reorganization Act which was passed by the United States Congress in June of 1934.

In consideration of the situation at the time there may have been legitimate reasoning behind the machinations that surrounded the enactment of the "1934 IRA" as it is currently referred to in Indian Country.  But many, not even tribal members themselves could have foreseen what this legislation has perpetuated in many cases.

If you were to compare the 1934 IRA and the US Constitution side by side as working documents you may see an imbalance there.

In the 1934 governments there is no balance of power mechanism.  There isn't a referendum system which doesn't require a sign-off by the Secretary of the Interior.  There isn't a constitutional amendment vehicle that doesn't include the involvement of the Department of the Interior.

Most tribes have tribal courts, but an individual member cannot "sue" their tribe in these forums due to the sovereign or independent status of the tribe and it's members.  In most internal cases the DOI will take a hands off position arguing that the tribe must handle it's own affairs when it comes to governance and administrative jurisdiction.

So there's a dichotomy of federal political positions when it comes to tribal "affairs".

This leaves most tribal members without a true vehicle for recourse when it involves tribal administrative change and or programmatic change for individual rights.

The DOI works as a taskmaster only when it's convenient to them and their standard of policy maintenance.

It is my belief that the 1934 IRA needs to be repealed in favor of a far more benefial system for the current situation of the tribes.  This would require congressional action, but more so tribally based willingness to change an archaic system which has been denying tribes total and complete freedom and self-determination.

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