Enduring Legacies Native Case Studies

Theme

Federal and State Relations and Policy


New!Should Tribes Legalize Marijuana?

Author:Amber Seachord and Barbara Leigh Smith

Marijuana legalization has been gaining momentum in the United States in recent years, yet heated controversies continue to surround the issue. The central focus of this case is on the question of whether tribes should legalize marijuana.  The case begins by briefly describing the history of marijuana, what is known about its impact, and the changing policies at the state and federal level. It then discusses the various ways tribes are exploring the “opportunity,” the ways they might become involved in the marijuana business, and the pros and cons of various forms of tribal involvement.  

New!The Yakama Nation and the Cleanup of Hanford: Contested Meanings of Environmental Remediation

Author:Daniel A. Bush

In 1988 the former Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeastern Washington was designated a Superfund site, and the federal government assumed the responsibility to clean the area of contaminants and toxic waste and make it safe for human use. This case investigates the complex relationship of Native Americans to that cleanup effort. More specifically it looks at the role of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation in the cleanup process, and while doing so raises questions about environmental security, justice and ethics, contested concepts of the cleanup and its aftermath, and severe challenges regarding treaty rights and obligations.

New!What should be displayed? Native arts in museums and on the runways

Author:Melanie King

This case study considers questions of how, what, and where Indigenous arts should be displayed and the responsibility museums and other public institutions have in representing other cultures. This case will also address cultural appropriation seen in popular culture as an extension of the issues created in part by collectors of Native arts in the public and private spheres and the result of divorcing Native objects from their original context. Additionally this case will explore how objections have been met and what this indicates about changing attitudes and values.

New!Alaska Native and American Indian Policy: A Comparative Case

Author:Linda Moon Stumpff

Federal policy directed to settle Alaska Native land claims was shaped in a later time period and in a much different demographic, ecological, and economic context than earlier federal Indian Policy. This study begs the question why, despite these major differences, the two policy streams resulted in similar outcomes when analyzed at the macro level with national statistics. At the same time, significant cases of successful outcomes for Alaska Natives and for American Indian Tribes of the Lower Forty-Eight challenge the hypothesis of similar outcomes. Alaska Natives and American Indian Tribes created unique and innovative programs in response to these policies. By changing the scope of policy analysis from broad aggregated statistical outcomes to a kaleidoscope of detailed cases we shift the analysis to ask questions about what kinds of indigenous responses to the general federal policy streams might be most effective. Many new questions arise. Would similar responses work for both Alaska Natives and the Tribes of the Lower 48? Do distinctive differences in effective policy responses exist depend on specific factors? What kinds of indigenous policy initiatives break the mold and open the way to success and sustainability?

A Place to Live, A Place to Heal

Author:Ane Berrett

This case examines out of home placement for Native American Children. It tells the story of a Native American girl and her extended family who are caught in family dynamics resulting from intergenerational trauma. In their attempts to resolve this situation they access the “systems of care” approach and the Indian Child Welfare Act to provide stable after care placement. “Systems of care,” sometimes referred to as “wrap around services,” is a philosophy promoted by the US Department of Health to provide individualized, community based and integrative service. The Indian Child Welfare Act is a federal law that Congress passed in response to the alarmingly high number of Indian children being removed from their homes by both public and private agencies. This case explores how these mental health systems and the Indian Child Welfare Act are challenged and applied in the best interest of a young Native American girl.

Is Anybody Listening?

Author:Charles Luckmann

By relocating 15,000 Navajos, did the Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act, Public Law 93-531, violate the civil rights of Navajos living on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona? This case examines the law’s purpose, legal and historical antecedents, and alleged connections to mineral interests coveting the resources on Black Mesa. The case examines the lived experiences and cultures of the Navajos and Hopis affected by P.L. 93-531. It also examines the role the federal government, lawyers, and mineral interests played in precipitating the crisis. The case highlights those Navajos resisting the law. It examines their appeals to the U.S. judiciary for protection of their civil and religious freedoms, and why these appeals failed. The case is an example of how Western-based property law has undermined traditional Native American practices of collaboration and consensus.

New!Back to the Future: Dam Removal and Native Salmon Restoration on the Elwha River

Author:Brian Footen and Jovana Brown

Dams on the Elwha River in Washington State have blocked salmon migration for one hundred years. These dams are now being removed. The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe is looking forward to having its treaty rights to fish from the Elwha River restored. This case examines two approaches for restoring harvestable, viable, and self-sustaining salmon runs to the River.

Dam Removal on the Elwha River

Author:Peter Dorman

The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, whose ancestral home is on the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula, has made a remarkable recovery from dissolution and poverty, reclaiming tribal status and acquiring land and fishing rights. Critical to this process will be the restoration of salmon runs on the Elwha River, which had been terminated by the building of two dams early in the twentieth century. Among the steps leading to dam removal was a cost-benefit analysis (CBA). This study, which was filed in 1995, forms the centerpiece of this case. Due in part to the CBA’s conclusion that the economic benefits of dam removal would exceed the economic costs, resistance to this precedent-setting decision was overcome. The case centers on an examination of the CBA and the ways it both does and does not incorporate matters of concern to the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.

When Our Water Returns: The Gila River Indian Community and Diabetes

Author:Jovana J. Brown

The Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) of Arizona has the highest rate of diabetes in the world. Before white settlement of their homeland in central Arizona, their ancestors had an abundant water supply and a flourishing agricultural lifestyle. In the late 19th and early 20th century, non-Indian water use completely cut off their water supply. This depletion led to many years of starvation and then to a diet of highly processed foods that some say is responsible for the obesity and diabetes in the GRIC. After many years of negotiation, a water-rights settlement has been reached to return water to the ownership of the Gila River Indian Community. Research has shown that a diet that resembles the one that their ancestors ate when they were an agricultural people combined with increased physical activity can reduce the rate of obesity and diabetes. Will the return of their water enable the GRIC to return to their past agricultural practices? Can the members of this southern Arizona tribe again raise the kinds of crops as they did in the past? Can their previous healthy lifestyle of generations ago be restored?

Should the Navajo Nation Build a Coal-Fired Power Plant?

Author:Jovana Brown and Nora Trahant

This two part case examines the proposal of the Navajo Nation to build a coal-fired power plant to generate electricity on its land. Part A explores the reasons why the Navajo Nation wishes to build the plant.  Part B describes the opposition which questions whether it should be built. The Navajo Nation says that this plant will have the lowest emissions of any coal-fired plant in the United States and will bring important economic benefits to the Navajo Nation by providing jobs and a steady source of revenue.  President Joe Shirley of the Navajo Nation states that the Nation chose to pursue this project as an exercise of its sovereignty. Opponents of the plant, many of whom are Navajo tribal members, say that this plant should not be built.  They say it will add considerably to air pollution already in the area and constitute a serious health hazard.  In addition to Navajo tribal members, the Governor of New Mexico, the Ute Mountain Tribe, and local environmental groups oppose the project. 

Native Gaming in the US

Author:Hai-Jew, Shalin

Native gaming has been a part of the US landscape for decades. This case examines this phenomena through an economic, social-cultural and political lens.

Case 1: "All In? Economic Factors to Consider in Native Gaming"
The economics frame focuses on the context of the need for economic development on Indian reservations. This offers a range of considerations for Native economic development. It also looks at the pros and cons of Indian gaming as an economic choice within a full economic development strategy. This asks learners to consider issues of economic development and empowerment.

Case 2: "Smallpox or the New Buffalo: What's the Right Analogy for Indian Gaming?"
The social and cultural frame surfaces issues of traditional beliefs and Native identity, the projection of authentic tribal culture, and the importance of tribal unity historically. This case asks learners to consider how to maintain these values in an environment of economic globalization, which may force the issue of economic development and Native American self-sufficiency.

Case 3: "Setting the Rules for Native Gaming"
The political frame uses a legal, policy and procedure focus to approach the regulation of Indian gaming. With relevant external laws and internal tribal ones, this political frame asks readers to consider important tribal leadership structures and policies to support effective Indian gaming.