“40 Years of the Indian Civil Rights Act: Indigenous Women’s Reflections” From Gloria Valencia-Weber

Here. Published in The Indian Civil Rights Act at 40, eds. Kristen Carpenter, Matthew Fletcher, and Angela Riley.


I approach this discussion by noting that Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez raises two critical oppositional principles: the collective political right versus the individual rights norm. Individual rights are the keystone in the Constitution of the United States. However, tribal rights for collective political entities are also affirmed in the Constitution in the provisions that establish relationships with the tribal nations. This political, nation-to-nation relationship was explicitly acknowledged and reaffirmed in Morton vs. Mancari. The most important right that tribal people claim for themselves is that as sovereigns. We have to remember that tribes were first sovereigns within the United States. And, as the noted scholar Charles Wilkinson reminds us, the tribal sovereigns were pre-constitutional, post-constitutional, and, in the international law context of indigenous law, extra-constitutional.

Review of The Indian Civil Rights Act at Forty


Together, the fifteen authors have done the essential spadework; they have tracked down scores of tribal constitutions, statutes, and case law that apply to ICRA. To the extent that numbers can convey scholarship, there are about 1,600 footnotes over about 77 pages. The sources include tribal authorities from the Navajo Nation to Bill Moore’s Slough, a settlement in Alaska. So apart from its effective analyses, the book becomes valuable just as a database. This intensive research represents a great deal of time saved for the academic and the practitioner.

All the authors who analyzed available tribal authorities cited the difficulty of generalization. This diversity is a reasonable result of possibly hundreds of different tribal courts. [*288]

New Book Announcement: The Indian Civil Rights Act at Forty

The Indian Civil Rights Act at Forty (NEW!) 

Edited by Kristen A. Carpenter, Matthew L.M. Fletcher, and Angela R. Riley

Congress passed the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 (ICRA) to address civil rights in Indian country. ICRA extended select, tailored provisions of the Bill of Rights-including equal protection, due process, free speech and religious exercise, criminal procedure, and property rights-to tribal governments. But, with the exception of the writ of habeas corpus, Congress did not establish a federal enforcement mechanism for violations of the Act, nor did it abrogate tribal sovereign immunity. Thus, ICRA has been interpreted and enforced almost exclusively by Indian tribes and their courts. This collection of essays, gathered on the fortieth anniversary of ICRA, provides for the first time a summary and critical analysis of how Indian tribes interpret and apply these important civil rights provisions in our contemporary world. The authors have found that, while informed by ICRA and the dominant society’s conception of individual rights, Indian nations are ultimately adapting and interpreting ICRA in ways consistent with their own tribal traditions and beliefs. In some respects, ICRA parallels the broader experiences of tribes over the past forty years-a period of growth, revitalization, and self-determination for many Indian nations.

358 pp.
$40 paper
10-digit ISBN 0-935626-67-0
13-digit ISBN: 978-0-935626-67-4

Table of Contents (PDF)
The Indian Civil Rights Act at Forty Book Blurbs (PDF)

Individual’s Price: $40.00
Stock: In Print

UPDATE: Two chapters of this book are available on SSRN as a free preview!!!!

Incl. Electronic Paper Individual Religious Freedoms in American Indian Tribal Constitutional Law
The Indian Civil Rights Act at Forty (American Indian Studies Center Publications), 2012
Kristen A. Carpenter 
University of Colorado Law School
Date Posted: March 04, 2012
Last Revised: March 06, 2012

Incl. Electronic Paper Resisting Congress: Free Speech and Tribal Law
THE INDIAN CIVIL RIGHTS ACT AT FORTY, Kristen A. Carpenter, Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Angela R. Riley eds., UCLA American Indian Studies Center, 2012, MSU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-05
Matthew L. M. Fletcher 
Michigan State University College of Law
Date Posted: March 14, 2012