Enduring Legacies Native Case Studies

Theme

Self Determination and Self Governance


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!Wet, Dry, or Damp

Author:Mary T. Weiss

Since before statehood Alaskan communities have been plagued with widespread alcohol related crime, violence, health issues, and death. The “local option” approach to addressing access to alcohol in Alaska became law through Title 4 of the Alaska Statues in 1981. “Local option” communities may exercise a local option to modify the State laws regarding alcohol importation, sales, and possession for their own community. Becoming a “local option” community is voluntary but an overwhelming majority of “local option” communities are rural and have a predominately Native population. In 2009, one of the “local option” communities voted to end its “local option” status. This case study provides a framework to examine the cultural, political, commercial, social, and health issues related to alcohol use in rural Alaska.

Co-Management of Puget Sound Salmon: How well does the Use and Collection of Shared Fishery Science between Tribes and the State Guide Resource Protection?

Author:Brian Footen

The history of salmon management in the Pacific Northwest is complex. Indigenous management of fisheries was partially incorporated into treaties but it took nearly 100 years for a legal framework for implementing the fisheries components of the treaties to be put into place. The restoration of Northwest Treaty Tribes fishing rights brought Native people the difficult task of working directly with the institution that had prosecuted treaty violations and discriminated against tribal fishers. The ability of the State and Tribes to work together to “co-manage” salmon stocks has improved over the years and has been spelled out in additional court decisions. However, difficulties still arise from institutional holdover views about tribal fishing rights and the belief that the State still has the overriding authority in resource management decisions. In addition, management objectives do not always mesh with the historic or contemporary cultural needs of tribal fishers.

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.

Dilemmas and Solutions in Tribal Child Welfare: A Case for Customary Adoption

Author:Terry Cross, Sarah Kastelic, and Kathleen Fox

: This two part case study opens with a fictional example of what life is like for grandparents who are struggling to balance the love of their daughter and the long term safety and wellbeing of their grandchild. Part one examines the challenges that family members might face when they step forward to help and the very real and emotional decisions that have to be made regarding permanency for the long term well being of the child. Part two examines the cultural underpinnings of legal and cultural concepts that underlie permanency. Tribal culture has traditionally placed children whose parents are unable to care for them with relatives and extended family members without severing the bonds of kinship and love between parent and child. However, in modern times, in order for adoptive homes to be recognized by state and federal funding and child welfare authorities, termination of parental rights (TPR) has been required. Most tribes reject termination of parental rights culturally, and many have had solely negative histories with foster care and adoption such that they shun the concept. Some have taken the initiative to create their own versions of adoption based in their traditions.

The Return of a River: A Nisqually Tribal Challenge

Author:Steve Robinson and Michael Alesko

For thousands of years, the Nisqually River watershed has been home to the Nisqually Indian people. It has provided food in the form of salmon and other fish that filled the waters and shellfish when the tide went out. Deer and other game in the river’s surrounding forests further nurtured the people, enriched by a diet of berries, roots, and herbaceous plants. As described by Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Chairman Billy Frank, Jr’s late father, Willy Frank, Sr. in the movie, As Long As the Rivers Run, it was a “paradise.” The settlers moving in from the 1850s on decided to mold the area into their own version of what they thought a watershed should look like. They diked the estuary area for agricultural purposes, channelized the river in other areas, and greatly altered the natural habitat and the earlier natural balance. But over the past several years, a collective effort involving jurisdictions and neighbors from all vocations and ethnic backgrounds have worked together with the Nisqually Tribe at the helm in a successful effort to return the Nisqually estuary to its natural condition. This case study examines the Tribe’s role as partner and leader in this multi-entity effort. It is a role forged through a combination of cooperative partnerships and litigation reestablishing Northwest tribes’ legitimate place as resource managers.

Pacific Northwest Salmon Habitat: The Culvert Case and the Power of Treaties

Author:Jovana J. Brown, PhD and Brian Footen

American Indian tribes in the Pacific Northwest signed treaties with the federal government in the 1850’s that preserved their right to fish in their “usual and accustomed” fishing grounds. The tribes have had to continually fight to have this right recognized. U.S. v. Washington, 1974, the Boldt decision, upheld this fishing right and ruled that the tribes were entitled to 50% of the harvestable portion of salmon returning to their usual and accustomed grounds. Though this historic court decision enabled the Indians to legally fish, the decline of the salmon has meant that the importance of this decision has been eroded. For the last three decades the tribes have worked to preserve salmon runs by protecting and restoring fish habitat. The tribes are in a unique position to advance habitat restoration on a landscape scale. Restoring fish passage in streams throughout the state is an example of how the power of the treaties can facilitate salmon recovery significantly. In 2001, they went into federal district court with a specific habitat lawsuit: the culvert case. The decision in this case has been called the most significant victory for tribal treaty fishing rights since the Boldt decision.

The Indian health paradox: Honoring a treaty right or raising real dollars?

Author:Mark N. Trahant

The United States has a legal and moral obligation to provide health care for American Indian and Alaska Natives. This is a responsibility that has been expressed through treaties, executive orders and federal law. The Indian health system began when the government sent doctors to reservations to inoculate against small pox. Over nearly two centuries, however, the system has evolved into a complex example of government-run health care. Make that two alternative systems: There are direct services delivered by the Indian Health Service. Many tribes say that even though that system is underfunded, it represents the United States fulfillment of treaty obligations. A second system is tribally or tribally-sponsored community health clinics that receive money from a variety of sources, including the Indian Health Service. Is the second system the wave of the future?

Back to the Bison: The Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes and the National Bison Range

Author:Linda Moon Stumpff

Thirty years after taking over the reins of forestry, recreation, wildlife and other natural resource operations on their reservation lands, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) established a reputation for environmental leadership in wildlife, wilderness, recreation and co-management. As students work through “Back to the Bison,” they participate in strategic decision-making from the perspective of how CKST made decisions about their relationship to the bison and to the surrounding lands, including the National Bison Range (NBRC). These relationships bring the Tribes into the process of evaluating the science of genetics and their own traditional ecological knowledge. Modern wildlife management practices based on western science are at issue and create opportunities for lively debate. This case provides opportunities for students to build research skills by reading and evaluating articles on genetics and the role of science and traditional ecological knowledge in wildlife management.

Ancestral Roots and Changing Landscapes: The Impact of Seattle's Development on the Salish People of Central Puget Sound

Author:Brian Footen

“No great city on the American continent has overcome so many natural obstacles encountered in its growth.” Clarence Bagley

Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, industrial societies throughout the world have marginalized and eventually overtaken aboriginal cultures that had lived for centuries, in many cases thousands of years. Still today in the name of industrial progress landscape alterations like logging and the damming of rivers encroach on the few aboriginal societies left in the world. Over a century and a half ago indigenous cultures of the Puget Sound region of the Pacific Northwest were overwhelmed by the forces of urbanization and industrialization. This case describes the landscape changes made to build the City of Seattle, the impact those changes had on the original inhabitants, and what might now be done for the original inhabitants to live within this radically altered landscape.

The Last Stand: the Quinault Indian Nation's Path to Sovereignty and the Case of Tribal Forestry

Author:Stumpff, Linda Moon

This case tells a story of forestry management policies on the Quinault Reservation. In the early years, the Office of Indian Affairs (OIA) and later the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) acted like a landlord, allocating large timber sales to non-Indian timber companies. The Dawes Act fragmented the Quinault Reservation into many small individually owned allotments: the Tribe retained little for the general purpose. Years of mismanagement of Reservation forest lands by the BIA left devastated lands and waters. Legislation and actions by leaders like Joe De La Cruz pushed the envelope to reform the U.S. tribal trust relationship, eventually returning land use decision-making to the Quinault Indian Nation. The Tribe took over planning, timber sales, and decision-making for forestry as they came to work in partnership with the BIA and neighboring agencies. The challenge was great---large areas of the landbase were cut-over. New decisions about forestry management were made to acquire allotted lands and to transfer them into the tribal ownership so they could be restored.

It's in Our Treaty: the Right to Whale

Author:Brown, Jovana J.

The Makah people have lived on the northwest part of the Olympic Peninsula for thousands of years and utilized the bounty of the seas. Their historical tradition of whaling can be traced back at least 1,500 years. When they signed the Treaty of Neah Bay in 1855 the Makah reserved the right to hunt whales. The Makah Nation resumed this whaling tradition in 1999 by harvesting a gray whale. Since this successful hunt the Tribe has had to continue to confront and overcome many involved legal and political obstacles to continue hunting whales. This case details the Makah's continuing efforts to resume whaling.

The Will of the People: Citizenship in the Osage Nation

Author:Dennison, Jean, University of Florida

This teaching case tells the story of Tony, one of nine Osage government reform commissioners placed in charge of determining the "will of the people" in reforming the government of the Osage Nation. Because of Congressional law the Osage Nation had been forced into an alien form of government for a hundred years. Recent legislation has reversed this and has recognized the Osage Nation's sovereign right to determine its own citizenship and form of government. As part of this case, students will analyze the highly charged debates over citizenship that took place during Osage community meetings. From these perspectives students will be asked to write referendum questions covering the central issues at stake with Osage citizenship. This case provides an opportunity for students to explore a range of issues including American Indian citizenship and sovereignty, the power and danger inherent in racial identity, and the process of community-based reform.

Sovereign Still From the Forest to the Plains

Author:Stumpff, Linda Moon

This case chronicles the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes' success in implementing a policy to maintain administrative authority over their lands and natural resources. Set in the early period of the self-determination era, the Tribes confront federal policy to establish their own forestry and wildlife management plan. Their actions honor their culture while developing sustainable plans for their natural resources. The decision of the Tribal government in this case opens the way for broader land and natural resource management strategies for the future.