Michigan State Law Review Symposium on Wenona Singel’s “Indian Tribes and Human Rights Accountability”

Michigan State Law Review has published several articles from its symposium on Wenona Singel’s paper “Indian Tribes and Human Rights Accountability.”

Tribal Rights, Human Rights

Kristen A. Carpenter & Angela R. Riley

2013 Mich. St. L. Rev. 293 | Download PDF

Nenabozho’s Smart Berries: Rethinking Tribal Sovereignty and Accountability

Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark

2013 Mich. St. L. Rev. 339 | Download PDF

Jurisdiction and Human Rights Accountability in Indian Country

Kirsten Matoy Carlson

2013 Mich. St. L. Rev. 355 | Download PDF

First “Review” of Scholarly Promise and Achievement

Frank Pommersheim

2013 Mich. St. L. Rev. 291 | Download PDF

Tribal Sovereignty and Human Rights

Joseph William Singer

2013 Mich. St. L. Rev. 307 | Download PDF

A Most Grievous Display of Behavior: Self-Decimation in Indian Country

David E. Wilkins

2013 Mich. St. L. Rev. 325 | Download PDF

Healing to Wellness Courts: Therapeutic Justice

Joseph Thomas Flies-Away & Carrie E. Garrow

2013 Mich. St. L. Rev. 403 | Download PDF

 

Felix Cohen’s “On the Drafting of Tribal Constitutions”

On the Drafting of Tribal Constitutions

By David E. Wilkins, Felix S. Cohen, Lindsay G. Robertson

A newly discovered document sheds light on Indian self-governance Felix Cohen (1907–1953) was a leading architect of the Indian New Deal and steadfast champion of American Indian rights. Appointed to the Department of the Interior in 1933, he helped draft the Indian Reorganization Act (1934) and chaired a committee charged with assisting tribes in organizing their governments. His “Basic Memorandum on Drafting of Tribal Constitutions,” submitted in November 1934, provided practical guidelines for that effort.

Largely forgotten until Cohen’s papers were released more than half a century later, the memorandum now receives the attention it has long deserved. David E. Wilkins presents the entire work, edited and introduced with an essay that describes its origins and places it in historical context. Cohen recommended that each tribe consider preserving ancient traditions that offered wisdom to those drafting constitutions. Strongly opposed to “sending out canned constitutions from Washington,” he offered ideas for incorporating Indigenous political, social, and cultural knowledge and structure into new tribal constitutions.

On the Drafting of Tribal Constitutions shows that concepts of Indigenous autonomy and self-governance have been vital to Native nations throughout history. As today’s tribal governments undertake reform, Cohen’s memorandum again offers a wealth of insight on how best to amend previous constitutions. It also helps scholars better understand the historic policy shift brought about by the Indian Reorganization Act.

David E. Wilkins is Professor of American Indian Studies and Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Law, and American Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and coauthor of Uneven Ground: American Indian Sovereignty and Federal Law. Lindsay G. Robertson, Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma, is the author of Conquest by Law: How the Discovery of America Dispossessed Indigenous People of Their Lands.

University of Oklahoma Press