Prof. Frank Pommersheim at Snoqualmie

Prof. Frank Pommersheim

Among the highlights of Professor Pommersheim’s sage talk was the advice to Tribes to broaden business licenses to include consent to tribal jurisdiction over tort claims related to the business and consent by the business’ employees. He also suggests that Tribes consider amending their civil procedure codes to eliminate interlocutory appeals over jurisdictional questions.

Lewis & Clark Expedition and PPL Montana v. Montana in the SCT

Here is the news coverage (h/t How Appealing) of this interesting historical case involving the notes from the Lewis & Clark expedition. An excerpt:

Both the state and the company say Lewis and Clark’s experiences make their case.

Clement points out that the expedition never even attempted to navigate one of the rivers at issue, and that the record shows Lewis and Clark bypassed the 17-mile Great Falls Reach of the Missouri “not out of convenience, but out of necessity — the stretch was impassable.”

Historians who agree with PPL said the state’s evidence of the commercial history of the rivers is in part based on notoriously unreliable frontier-era newspapers with boosterish and fabricated tales of “28-pound radishes and steamboat traffic between Denver and the Gulf of Mexico.”

Montana replies with Lewis’s observation that he did not believe “that the world can furnish an example” of how rivers can run through such mountainous country as Montana and yet be “so navigable as they are.”

It is beyond dispute that the rivers played an important part of the new nation’s economic development, Montana argues.The state’s supportive historian is Stephenie Ambrose Tubbs, who has written extensively about Montana and is the daughter of Lewis and Clark scholar Stephen Ambrose.

“For those of us who have spent our lives on these Rivers, retracing Lewis and Clark’s historic footsteps,” she told the court in a brief, a piecemeal approach to ownership is threatening.

And, for those who look to original meaning, she proposed that the court affirm the Montana Supreme Court, which she said recognized “that these rivers were navigable, as that term was understood by President Jefferson and the Founders before him.”

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NYTs on American Indian Baseball

From the NYTs:

HOWES CAVE, N.Y. (AP) — Long before Jackie Robinson endured torrents of racial taunts in breaking baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, Louis Sockalexis had a bull’s-eye on his back.

From the day in 1897 when he first put on a uniform for the Cleveland Spiders, Sockalexis took more than his share of racial slurs.

“If the small and big boys of Brooklyn find it a pleasure to shout at me, I have no objections,” Sockalexis told The Brooklyn Eagle during his rookie season. “No matter where we play, I go through the same ordeal, and at the present time, I am so used to it that at times I forget to smile at my tormentors.”

Sockalexis figured the tormenting was just part of the game. A Penobscot Indian from Maine, Sockalexis is considered the first player of American Indian descent to make it to the major leagues. (James Madison Toy played with Cleveland a decade earlier and was said to be of Sioux ancestry, but he never publicly acknowledged his Indian heritage and his 1919 death certificate lists his race as white.)

Sockalexis’s story is one of many chronicled in “Baseball’s League of Nations: A Tribute to Native Americans in Baseball,” an exhibit on display through the end of the year at the Iroquois Indian Museum here. The exhibit features photographs and artifacts, many on loan from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in nearby Cooperstown.

“There’s never been an exhibit like this before,” said Mike Tarbell, 61, an Akwesasne Mohawk who serves as an educator at the museum. “For myself, it’s like a breath of fresh air. We’re always doing something that involves pottery or basket making or painting or sculpturing of some kind. We’ve forgotten that baseball was a part of our history as well.”

Counting the current players Joba Chamberlain (Winnebago Nation) of the Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury (Navajo) of the Boston Red Sox and Kyle Lohse (Nomlaki Nation) of the St. Louis Cardinals, more than 50 American Indians have played professional baseball.

“We came up with a lot of cool stuff that we didn’t think we were going to find,” said the museum’s curator, Stephanie Shultes, who assembled the exhibit. “It was kind of amazing, once we started, how much there really was out there, how many of these guys that you did find out about you may have never realized before were native.”

American Indians were introduced to baseball in several ways. Lewis and Clark are said to have taught an early version of baseball to members of the Nez Perce during the explorers’ trek across North America from 1804 to 1806. And in the late 1800s, American Indian prisoners of war at Fort Sill, Okla., including the Apache warrior Geronimo, played baseball.

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