Understanding and Strengthening
Tribal Sovereignty

Indian tribes have their own inherent sovereignty, pre-dating the founding of the United States, yet the question of tribal sovereignty is still being litigated and debated daily. In this fascinating class, you’ll learn the history of tribal sovereignty, from pre-colonial times all the way through the most recent Supreme Court cases. Discover how federal and state governments, as well as the tribes themselves, have come to treat tribal sovereignty differently over the years, and what impact that has on policy-making, government-to-government relationships, and—most importantly—the daily lives of tribal community members.

In this exciting class you’ll leave with more than a history lesson—you’ll be invited to develop a strategy for evaluating and enhancing your own tribe’s sovereignty, or for evaluating how well your agency communicates respect for tribal sovereignty to tribal partners (if you are a state or federal employee).

We’ll also give you a non-technical overview of the Indian Self-Determination Act and how it impacts tribal programs, and help you understand what the practical differences are between Self-Determination and Self-Governance tribes.

Perfect for tribal, state, or federal decision-makers, tribal HR professionals, program managers, or anyone interested in better understanding how tribal sovereignty impacts the work they do for or with tribes.

T O P I C S   I N C L U D E
Key Terms and Concepts
  • Inherent sovereignty
  • Retained sovereignty
  • Government-to-government relationships
  • Trust responsibility
History of Federal Indian Policy
  • Trade and Intercourse Acts (1790-1834)
  • Johnson v. McIntosh (1823)
  • Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831)
  • Worcester v. Georgia (1832)
  • Movement to Reservations (1830-1887)
  • End of Treaties (1871)
  • Crow Dog Case (1883)
  • The Allotment Act of 1887
  • Indian Reorganization Act (1934)
  • Termination and Relocation (1953-1968)
  • Public Law 83-280
  • The Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968
  • The Indian Self-Determination and Education Act of 1975 (P.L. 93-638)
  • The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978
  • The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988
  • The Indian Tribal Justice Act of 1993
  • Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013
Sovereignty as Addressed in:
  • Treaties
  • Executive orders
  • Laws
  • Court decisions
Indian Self-Determination Act
  • Non-technical overview
  • Amendments to the Act
  • Self-determination vs self-governance
  • Indian preference
Recent Supreme Court Cases Impacting Sovereignty
  • Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
  • United States v. Bryant
  • Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community
Exercising Sovereignty Through:
  • Tribal constitution, bylaws, civil codes and criminal codes
  • Tribal enrolment policies
  • Economic development
  • Tribal land use management
  • Tribal courts
  • Federal courts
  • Jurisdiction (Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez)

*Topics subject to change.

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