An Early Look at the First Year of the Trump Administration

The forty-fifth president of the United States hung a portrait of Andrew Jackson in the Oval Office, placed prominently behind the president’s desk. The President has named Jackson as a model executive he hopes to emulate.

The 45th President has been absolutely clear about several policy goals that, if fully implemented, will lead Indian tribes to a Jacksonian-style existential crisis for tribal interests. The President’s first relevant policy goal is to support the oil and gas, coal, and mineral extraction industries completely, and to remove any and all laws and regulations restricting those industries in any way. The President’s second relevant policy goal, certainly related to the first, is to shrink national government by drastically cutting federal budgets and federal duties, which most definitely means limiting or perhaps eliminating the federal-tribal trust relationship. The President’s third relevant policy goal is to eliminate and drastically reduce programs and policies supporting minority and low-income Americans.

The 45th President’s actions and methods in the first year of his presidency also have the potential to create existential threats to Indian tribes. While most high profile initiatives of the Administration have been failures, lower profile efforts have been more successful.

The following working list is inspired by Amy Suskind’s “Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

Substantive Policy and Legal Moves and Statements

Fee to Trust

“Off-Ramping” the Trust Responsibility

Muscogee Reservation Boundaries Litigation

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