Tribal Sovereignty in the U.S. & Globally

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The US Constitution recognizes that tribal nations are sovereign governments. Globally, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, was adopted on 13 September 2007.

"Indian Nations had always been considered as distinct, independent political communities, retaining their original natural rights, as the undisputed possessors of the soil… The very term “nation” so generally applied to them means ‘a people distinct from others.’

                         - Chief Justice Marshall, United States Supreme Court

The importance of Tribal Sovereignty to L.O.V.E is the recognition of the tribes capacity to act a sovereign nation, and jurisidcition.  L.O.V.E. is under the jurisdiction of the Okanogan (/kəˈnɑːɡən/ OH-kə-NAH-gən) Indian Confederacy and Light Indigenous Confederacy.  While this confederacy is based on unceded lands in the country of Canada, there are many treaties that make up the confederacy, including those based with in the U.S., which is what this article taken from the NCAI deal with.

Currently, 573 sovereign tribal nations (variously called tribesnationsbandspuebloscommunities, and Native villages) have a formal recognized and codified nation-to-nation relationship with the US government. These tribal governments are legally defined as “federally recognized tribes.” Two-hundred-and-twenty-nine of these tribal nations are located in Alaska; the remaining tribes are located in 35 other states. In total, tribal governments exercise jurisdiction over lands that would make Indian Country the fourth largest state in the nation.

The US Constitution recognizes that tribal nations are sovereign governments.  

Sovereignty is a legal word for an ordinary concept—the authority to self-govern. Hundreds of treaties, along with the Supreme Court, the President, and Congress, have repeatedly affirmed that tribal nations retain their inherent powers of self-government. These treaties, executive orders, and laws have created a fundamental contract between tribes and the United States.

Some tribal nations "ceded" millions of acres of land that made the United States what it is today and, in return, received the guarantee of ongoing self-government on their own lands. Others remain "unceded".  The treaties and laws create what is known as the federal “trust responsibility,” to protect both tribal lands and tribal self-government, and to provide for federal assistance to ensure the success of tribal communities.  Those tribes which did not cede land (remained unceded) in exchange for federal assistance, retain a greater amount of sovereignty as they did not exchange lands for assistance.  Many of these are part of the confederacy responsible for L.O.V.E.

Today, tribal governments maintain the power to determine their own governance structures, pass laws, and enforce laws through police departments and tribal courts.  If a L.O.V.E. Member/User has an issue, it is a tribal court to which they take their complaint for adjudication of justice.  

Tribal sovereignty — the inherent authority of tribes to govern themselves — allows tribes to honor and preserve their cultures and traditional ways of life. Tribal sovereignty also is a political status recognized by the federal government, protected by the U.S. Constitution and treaties made generations ago, and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the recent landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on tribal sovereignty, McGirt v. Oklahoma, the Supreme Court justices held that because the Muscogee (Creek) Reservation was never disestablished, they affirmed that their giant swath of land in eastern Oklahoma, codified through treaties in the 1800s is, in fact, an “Indian reservation” and that the state of Oklahoma lacked jurisdiction to prosecute Jimcy McGirt, an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation, for serious crimes that occurred on Muscogee Nation land.

Attorneys and policymakers across the country predict the ruling’s impact will extend well beyond Oklahoma and criminal prosecutorial matters. Another court cases are respect to tribal sovereignty is Worcester v. Georgia (1832).  This case involved the application of Georgia state law within the Cherokee Nation. The decision was made that "tribes do not lose their sovereign powers by becoming subject to the power of the United States." Even the powers to which the tribes can be "allegedly" subjected (and this should only apply to ceded tribes), is becming more limited as they are challenged in court cases. Just as one can not be partially pregnant, one cannot be partially sovereign; yet the acknowledgment of sovereignty (as stated above), is recognized by the courts, presidents (via Executive Orders), and in fact the U.S. Constitution itself from which the government gets it's "legitimate" power to govern.

Sovereignty for tribes includes the right to establish their own form of government, determine membership requirements, enact legislation, and regulate their own website (i.e. L.O.V.E.) under their own jurisdiction. 

Globally, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, was adopted (with 143 votes for and 4 against) on 13 September 2007.  This agreement acknowldged that "the Charter of the United Nations, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, affirm the fundamental importance of the right to self-determination of all peoples, by virtue of which they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development."  This is specifically upheld ad stated in article 3 of the Declaration

Articles 4 and 5 of the Declaration state:

 Article 4
Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.

Article 5
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.

Specifically in relation to L.O.V.E., which can be considered a "media platofrm", article 16 states (in part) that
"Indigenous peoples have the right to establish their own media".

Article 19 effectively upholds the right of sovereignty for indigenous people, requiring their consent before a State can exercise power over them in any manner. 

Article 19
States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them. 

Article 26 is important as it relates to soveriegn control over ones lands, going one step requiring States to provide protection (see # below).

Article 26
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.
2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.
3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.

Lastly here is articles 37, the right to "recognition" by all countries of the world per the passing of this declaration.

Article 37
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the recognition, observance and enforcement of treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements concluded with States or their successors and to have States honour and respect such treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.
2. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as diminishing or eliminating the rights of indigenous peoples contained in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.

Due to the Tribal Sovereignty of the L.O.V.E. platform creators, a new and unique virtual jurisdiction that upholds the privacy rights, economic and social rights, of people everywhere, is now born.  Use it wisely. 

carol dianne 36 w

Excellent presentation of this crucial information.

John Bush 1 y

Great job