I have no reason to disbelieve Justice Scalia, and remember, he said something quite positive about the Doctrine of Christian Discovery. I take his underlying message to be that Christian discovery and domination is not a legitimate legal or political principle for the U.S. That is something we as Indian nations and peoples need to put forward. We need to explicitly challenge and refute that idea that "the Christian nations of Europe" or "Christian people" had any legitimate right to invade Turtle Island and perform their own symbolic and ritual acts of possession (domination) and then say that by doing so they had "created rights of sovereignty" within, over, and under our traditional territories. (See "The Creation of Rights of Sovereignty Throught Symbolic Acts" published by Columbia University in 1938) Understanding and invoking the correct political identity of one's Indian nation is imperative. In doing so, we are only following the example of the U.S. Supreme Court itself in Worcester v. Georgia. This is why I refuse to use self-diminishing and self-subordinating terms such as "tribe" and "tribal." Treaties are made between two or more nations. In Worcester v. Georgia (1832) Chief Justice Marshall wrote, "The words 'treaty' and 'nation' are words of our own language, selected in our diplomatic and legislative proceedings by ourselves, having each a definite and well understood meaning. We have applied them to Indians as we have applied them to the other nations of the earth. They are applied to all in the same sense." Not only that, but ours is the original free and independent existence of our ancestors on this continent and within this hemisphere for thousands of years, prior to false claims of a right of Christian discovery, domination, and "plenary power" premised on "discovery" and rituals of "possession." The Supreme Court also wrote in Worcester: "The treaties and laws of the United States contemplate the Indian territory as completely separated from that of the States, and provide that all intercourse with them shall be carried on exclusively by the Government of the Union." Notice the Court referred to "intercourse with them" not "over" them. Indian nations are supposed to have political relations with the United States, relations in which the US does not have any legitimate right to dominate Indian nations through claims of "plenary power" based on Christian "discovery." The Worcerster Court further said "The Indian nations had always been considered as distinct, independent political communities retaining their original natural rights as undisputed possessors of the soil." Additionally, the Worcester Court said: "The Constitution, by declaring treaties already made, as well as those to be made, to be the supreme law of the land, has adopted and sanctioned the previous treaties with the Indian nations, and consequently admits their rank among the powers who are capable of making treaties. The treaties and laws of the United States contemplate the Indian territory as completely separated from that of the States, and provide that all intercourse with them shall be carried on exclusively by the Government of the Union." Notice the Marshall Supreme Court was not using "tribe" or "tribal" in this powerful political language advocating for the correct understanding of Indian nationhood. We need to correctly reset the understanding of Indian nationhood. It is not a "diminished" status based on false claims that Christian nations had a right assume "the ultimate dominion" to be in themselves, just because they showed up to our traditional territories with the bible and the story of the chosen people and the promised land.
Friday, June 24, 2011 - 22:44