Monday, January 27, 2014


Disrupting Settled Expectations

Tribal land claims against states always face stiff challenges in U.S. courts, precisely because U.S. courts are run by settlers. Siding with American Indian tribes against state governments happens in U.S. courts from time to time, but the Bush appointments made that much less likely.

As reported in the Michigan Law Review, U.S. courts are now dismissing Indian land claims because they are too disruptive and unsettling to state and local government expectations. But as noted in the article Tribal Disruption and Indian Claims, recent settlements by the Oneida, Chippewa and Anishinaabe demonstrate that creative solutions to governance issues in Indian country can clear out a legal space for improved conditions.


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