Apology Means You Won’t Do It Again



Congress is considering an apology to Indians and other native people for the wrongs done by this country — forced relocations, takings of lands, violating treaties, destruction of sacred sites and outlawing native religions and languages, to name a few. But a real apology means you won’t do it again, and there is the problem. Congress needs to stop doing the things for which it is apologizing.

Congress insists it may freely violate treaties made with Indian nations, and, sad to say, it does this regularly without making amends. Indeed, Congress maintains a range of laws and practices that are so discriminatory and racist that they should have been discarded generations ago.

The federal government still takes Indian land without paying for it. The Constitution says Congress may not take anyone’s property for a public purpose, except with due process of law and with fair market compensation. But these rules are not applied to most land and resources owned by Indian tribes, and the government takes the land and resources at will.

The Interior Department still does not account for billions in Indian funds that it holds. The United States still insists that Indian tribes are in a state of permanent, involuntary trusteeship, with the federal government as trustee. No one else in the United States is subject to such unaccountable “trusteeship.”

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KU Tribal Law and Governance Conference Agenda

Kansas’s Tribal Law and Government Center is hosting the 2008 conference on Feb. 1, 2008. Speakers include Lance Morgan, Howard Valantra, Phil Frickey, Stacy Leeds, Angelique EagleWoman, Taylor Keen, Russ Brien, and others. Looks like a great field! H/T Legal Scholarship Blog:

The agenda is here.