Enduring Legacies Native Case Studies

Theme

Treaty Rights and Sovereignty


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!Darkness to Dawn: Columbia River Native Tribes’ Science and Salmon Restoration Success

Author:Brian Footen

From the start of its 1243 mile journey in the Canadian Rockies all the way to the Pacific Ocean, the Columbia River drains the heart, soul and bounty of the Pacific Northwest. In this water is a history of a river and people that goes back 15,000 years. The bountiful water has supplied the world with food and energy. The development of the river for hydro-power and irrigation has played a critical role in modern history. This development, however, has come at great cost to the original inhabitants of the area and the primary resource that they thrived on: the salmon. The Nez Perce, NiMiiPuu, lived in the Columbia River basin for thousands of years. This existence was altered by the arrival of European settlers, and in 1855, the Nez Perce signed a treaty that defined an area over which they had jurisdiction and rights to the resources, including salmon, vital to their culture and survival. Since then salmon populations have declined. Dams and the resulting habitat degradation have had negative impacts on salmon survival. Some populations have been listed as endangered, and policies regarding how these fish are treated have complicated the recovery process. Recent efforts by the Nez Perce tribe, however, have shown that in spite of a mechanized river and political resistance, the river still has enough bounty to bring back a salmon run that was nearly extinct.

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!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?

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.

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.

Distributive Justice in Indian Country: Should Indian Tribes Share Casino Revenues?

Author:Sarah S. Works, J.D.

This case examines the philosophical concept of distributive justice and its role in debates about whether or not revenue from Native American casino operations should be shared, with whom, and why. This case illustrates the complexities associated with questions of distributive justice within Indian Country. Specifically, this case presents issues raised in tribal-state negotiations regarding whether tribal gaming revenues can or should be shared with either State governments or other Indian tribes.

Environmentalism Across Cultural Borders

Author:Sarah S Works, J.D.

This case examines competing views about environmental protection strategy among predominantly white, mainstream environmental advocacy groups and two major Indian tribes in the American Southwest. This case illustrates the complexities associated with nation building that relies on funds generated by natural resources development, and the dangers that exist when strategies for environmental protection collide between cultures. Specifically, this case presents the controversial decision of the Hopi Tribe to ban the Sierra Club and other mainstream environmental groups from its Reservation in 2009 and describes economic factors related to a coal economy that contributed to that decision.

Exercising Tribal Sovereignty Through Sports: Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse

Author:Sarah S Works, J.D.

This case examines the concept of citizenship for individual members of sovereign Native Nations located within the exterior boundaries of the Unites States of America. This case illustrates the complexities associated with the exercise of sovereign powers regarding tribal citizenship, especially in the context of international travel. Specifically, this case presents the controversial decision of the British government in the summer of 2010 to deny travel visas to members of the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team who were trying to travel to from the United States to Manchester, England for the world championship lacrosse tournament.

skwadi’lic, Board Feet, and the Cedar Tree

Author:Kurt W. Russo, PhD

This case examines the way in which cultural frames of reference influence our perspective on what constitutes real and true knowledge of nature. The case provides a description of the aboriginal landscape of the Lummi Indians of Washington State that gave rise to and sustained their unique social imaginary and lifeway. The case then examines how the Lummi Indians have worked to protect the remaining old-forests that are integral to their cultural traditions. The case brings to light two main points: 1) how values and perceptions influence the interpretation of this information by land management agencies and 2) how values and perceptions are shaped—or marginalized—by culturally determined frames of references.

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.

Boundless Water and Bounded People: The Cultural and Social Implications of Shellfish Closures in Boundary Bay

Author:Emma S. Norman, Ph.D.

This case explores the closure of shellfish harvesting in Boundary Bay, a small body of water in the Salish Sea of the northwestern continental United States and southwestern Canada. At one time, this bay was one of the most productive shellfish harvesting locations on the Pacific coast. Coast Salish communities relied successfully on these waters for centuries as primary sources of food. However, degraded upland environment and bacterial contamination prompted governmental officials to close the area for harvesting in 1962. In Washington, the bay only recently opened for restricted use; it remains closed in British Columbia.

The Boundary Bay case presents several important themes regarding Native science, particularly within a transboundary context. First, the Boundary Bay case underscores the difficulty in maintaining a traditional food source in a contemporary environment. Second, the case reveals how jurisdictional fragmentation complicates the management of flow resources, such as water. Third, this case explores the practical considerations of ‘governing resources’ for First Nations communities who are often required to operate in a system, which requires expertise and training in a vocabulary and discourse foreign, and perhaps, counter-ethical to their belief system. Fourth, by way of looking forward, the case highlights the work of the

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.

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.