Mixing Bodies and Beliefs: The Predicament of Tribes

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2010-03-14 23:39Z by Steven

Mixing Bodies and Beliefs: The Predicament of Tribes

Columbia Law Review
Volume 101, Number 4 (May 2001)

L. Scott Gould

This Article considers a dilemma faced by tribes in a post-inherent sovereignty world. Tribes have increasingly come to be defined through the use of blood quanta as racial entities. This practice raises the legal question whether and to what extent Congress can confer benefits on tribes pursuant to the Indian Commerce Clause without violating the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause. Professor Gould explores the current dilemma from legal, historical, and demographic perspectives. He concludes that a recent Supreme Court decision involving Native Hawaiians portends growing judicial hostility to groups that base their memberships on common ancestry. Based on recent demographic trends, the Article observes that tribes are already multi-racially diverse. In conclusion, Professor Gould urges tribes to redefine their membership criteria, risking change in order to regain sovereignty and ultimately preserve tribal cultures.

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