Jay Daniels

While the Cobell Settlement, approved on November 24, 2012 by the U.S. Congress, allocated $3.4 billion to the plaintiffs in the landmark Indian case, the disbursement of the money is still in process. Recently the Washington, D.C....

4/17/14
Tim Richmond
Reservations are not traditionally known for their affluent living conditions. Some tribes are better off than others, but overall tribes tend to scrape by. This condition of Native life is the result of years upon years of being shuffled aside by the United States Government....
3/18/14
Dina Gilio-Whitaker

Few would argue that the 21st century has proven to be a major turning point in the global indigenous rights movement with the passage of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Even its original opponents have officially signed on to the declaration (if conditionally) and terms and concepts that were once considered radical or unacceptable (such as “peoples” and “self-determination”) are at least tacitly endorsed by nation states. Intellectual space has been created to talk about multinational states, in political terms that expand beyond the assimilationist multicultural state.    

The multinational state recognizes pre-existing nations and peoples within its borders. It acknowledges their rights to exist and flourish without the interference of unilaterally imposed state structures and legal systems. It does this by allowing a process of mutual engagement where governments are perceived as equals without one being subordinate to another. It does so because it ensures an inherently more politically stable, cohesive state.

Decolonization for indigenous peoples in settler states means a lot of different things but politically it manifests as a realigning of relationships between governments, indigenous and settler. For states it signals movement toward a more self-conscious multinational state and for indigenous nations it means a greater recognition of their right to self-determination.  

Article 3 of UNDRIP recognizes that “Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” Article 4 guarantees that “Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal or local affairs as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.”

The concept of self-determination contained in UNDRIP has of course been highly contested with the United States among the most opposed to it. Some argue that it is limited to the exercise of “internal” self-determination, i.e. within the constraints of a domestic federal system (this is how the United States views it) while a more expansive exercise of “external” self-determination would allow for the possibility of secession from the state. Experts have pointed out repeatedly that indigenous nations virtually never speak in terms of independence in the form of statehood (i.e. secession) and that they instead stress the interdependent nature of their relationships with states...

3/10/14
Mark Trahant
2/26/14
President Obama’s next budget, due to be released soon, will be good news for Indian country...
Rob Capriccioso
2/26/14
Soon after the White House confirmed last week that 2014 tribal contract support costs would be fully funded, administration officials are confirming this week that the president’s...
Rob Capriccioso
2/19/14
The White House confirmed February 18 that it has backed off its request last year to Congress to cap contract support costs (CSC) owed to tribes for services provided to tribal ci...
Rob Capriccioso
2/17/14
The Obama administration has reportedly agreed to congressional demands for it to abide by Supreme Court decisions requiring reimbursement of full tribal contract support costs (CS...
Rob Capriccioso
2/3/14
On January 21, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals launched the latest federal assault on tribal land, ruling 2 -1 in Big Lagoon Rancheria v...
Jay Daniels

The Cobell settlement, approved on November 24, 2011, provides for a $1.9 billion Trust Land Consolidation Fund (Fund). The Settlement charges the U.S....

2/3/14
Gale Courey Toensing
1/29/14
The Interior Department has published the latest report on the American Indian population and labor force, updating and improving on the previous report that was published in 2007 ...

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