Dinosaur’s like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia might not know it, but it’s a new day in relations between indigenous nations and modern states. Diplomacy is the name of the game.
As evidence of a fresh departure from the days when the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs could patronize American Indian tribes as domestic dependent nations, National Congress of American Indians president Cladoosby recently pressed U.S. Secretary of State Kerry to respond to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples regarding regulations that restrict religious freedoms of Native American prisoners.
As Oglala Sioux president Brewer wrote at Indian Country Today, Supreme Court discrimination against Native America cannot be tolerated. Says Brewer, “The world is moving forward on Indigenous Rights, yet the Supreme Court of the United States is moving backward.” If diplomacy is to be given a chance, it will be in the form of what Brewer calls an Indian Nations–U.S. Treaty Commission, with delegates from tribal governments and traditional leaders, the departments of Interior, State, and Justice, that can resolve disputes through mutual consent.
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