© 2020 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana
The United States is prepared to accommodate Indian interests, and to provide a substantial degree of self-determination. But there is a point beyond which it cannot go—our federal framework will not be compromised, nor will the rights of non-Indians be ignored. Where tribal aspirations collide with constitutional values, the tribe’s interests must yield. Nor can the rights of the non-Indian majority be compromised to support tribal aspirations. Doing justice by Indians does not require doing injustices to non-Indians. ~ Lloyd Meeds, 1977
On January 2, 1975, Congress created the American Indian Policy Review Commission, which was mandated to :Conduct a comprehensive review of the historical and legal developments underlying the Indian’s unique relationship with the Federal Government in order to determine the nature and scope of necessary revisions in the formulation of policies and programs for the benefit of Indians.
Lloyd Meeds served as a member of the US House of Representatives from 1965 to 1979. He represented the second district of Washington as a Democrat. He sponsored the creation of the commission and was its co-chair.
The commission’s final report was issued on May 17, 1977. Interestingly enough Meeds felt compelled to submit a dissenting opinion report based upon the commission’s inappropriate and political findings. His dissent also explains that the commission was flawed from its inception largely due to the congrssionally mandated racial makeup of those serving on it.
In light of the tribal sovereignty fraud that our federal and state governments insist are a necessary component to the negotiations of the CSKT Compact, it is all a big fat lie that is perpetuated by, you got it, the deep state officials in the federal government and the corrupt leadership of the state of Montana.
It is important for people to understand the fraudulent notion that tribal sovereignty has the same legitimacy as state and federal sovereign governments. It does not.
Below is an excerpt from Mr. Meed’s dissent. A link to the full dissent document, which begins with an opening summary of the report written by the commission, can be found at the bottom of this article
The Introduction to the final report is difficult to get through, but we provided it to give you a glimpse into the content of the report itself, which is not included here. We also wanted you to see some of what Representative Meeds was dissenting to.
A copy of the complete dissent can be found at the bottom of this post. The Meed’s Dissent itself begins on page 12 of 55 of the document linked below.
We hope this article helps you better understand that tribal government sovereignty does not exist, except to the extent that we are willing to cede it to them. So why do our local, state and federal governments insist on “government to government” agreements, negotiations and other such nonsense? That is a good question to ask them. We should also hold them accountable to an informed and truthful response, rather than their typical political doublespeak response.
We believe that in addition to the Constitution they swear an oath to uphold and protect, the Lloyd Meeds dissent should be mandatory reading material for every elected official who comes in contact with Indian tribes during the course of their duties.
SOVEREIGNTY-TRIBAL SELF-GOVERNMENT OR TERRITORIAL GOVERNMENT’
The fundamental error of this report is that it perceives the American Indian tribe as a body politic in the nature of a sovereign as that word is used to describe the United States and the States, rather than as a body politic which the United States, through its sovereign power, permits to govern itself and order its internal affairs, but not the affairs of others. The report seeks to convert a political notion into a legal doctrine. In order to demythologize the notion of American Indian tribal sovereignty, it is essential to briefly describe American federalism.
In our Federal system, as ordained and established by the United States Constitution, there are but two sovereign entities: the United States and the States. This is obvious not only from an examination of the Constitution, its structure, and its amendments, but also from the express language of the 10th amendment which provides:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
And, under the 14th amendment, all citizens of the United States who are residents of a particular State are also citizens of that State.
The Commission report (especially chapters 3 and 5), would have us believe that there is a third source of sovereign and governmental power in the United States. It argues that American Indian tribes have the characteristics of sovereignty over the lands they occupy analogous to the kind of sovereignty possessed by the United States and the States. The report describes Indian tribes as governmental units in the territorial sense. This fundamental error infects the balance of the report in a way which is contrary to American federalism and unacceptable to the United States, the States, and non-Indian citizens.
The blunt fact of the matter is that American Indian tribes are not a third set of governments in the American federal system. They are not sovereigns. The Congress of the United States has permitted them to be self-governing entities but not entities which would govern others. American Indian tribal self-government has meant that the Congress permits Indian tribes to make their own laws and be ruled by them. The erroneous view adopted by the Commission’s report is that American Indian tribal self-government is territorial in nature. On the contrary, American Indian tribal self-government is purposive. The Congress has permitted Indian tribes to govern themselves for the purpose of maintaining tribal integrity and identity. But this does not mean that the Congress has permitted them to exercise general governmental powers over the lands they occupy. This is the crucial distinction which the Commission report fails to make. The Commission has failed to deal with the ultimate legal issue, which is the very subject of its charter.
In addition, the Commission has failed to make the distinction between the power of American Indian tribes to govern themselves on the lands they occupy, and their proprietary interest in those lands. Mere ownership of lands in these United States does not give rise to governmental powers. Governmental powers have as their source the State and Federal constitutions. Hence, as landowners, American Indian tribes have the same power over their lands as do other private landowners. This would include the power to exclude or to sue for trespass damages. But landowners do not have governmental powers over the land they own. Land ownership, alone, is insufficient to give rise to governmental powers. Having failed to make this distinction, the Commission seeks to bootstrap its “tribe as a government” theory by relying on ownership principles.
Indian reservations exist within the boundaries of the States and within the United States. Reservation Indians are citizens of the States in which they live and of the United States. They are subject to the laws of the United States and, but for the exercise of congressional power, reservation Indians are subject to the governmental power of the States in which they live. American Indian tribal self-government comes into play because the Congress, in exercising its powers under article I, § 8(3), of the United States Constitution, has, in general, insulated reservation Indians from State governmental power. In order to promote the preservation of their distinctive cultures and values, the Congress has decided that some American Indians should be allowed to make their own laws and be ruled by them. This does not mean that the Congress allows American Indian tribes to govern their reservations in the same way in which a State governs within its boundaries. A tribe’s power is limited to governing the internal affairs of its members. The United States Supreme Court has over and again upheld the power of the State to impose its law on non-Indians within the reservation. If American Indian tribes had the kind of sovereignty which this Commission urges, and if Indian tribal self-government were territorial rather than purposive, the States could not have jurisdiction over non-Indians within the reservation. These principles are easily demonstrated……..
…..Hence, to the extent American Indian tribes are permitted to exist as political units at all, it is by virtue of the laws of the United States and not any inherent right to government, either of themselves or of others.