Cover image for American Indian tribal governments
Title:
American Indian tribal governments
Author:
O'Brien, Sharon.
Personal Author:
Edition:
[First paperback edition].
Publication Information:
Norman : University of Oklahoma Press, 1993.

©1989
Physical Description:
xviii, 349 pages : illustrations, maps ; 26 cm.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780806121994

9780806125640
Format :
Book

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E98.T77 027 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

An illustrated introduction to traditional and contemporary Indian tribal government, its evolution and its current legal powers. O'Brien (government and international studies, U. of Notre Dame) examines the structure and legal rights of modern tribal governments, and their relationship to federal a


Summary

This book describes the struggle of Indian tribes and their governments to achieve freedom and self-determination despite repeated attempts by foreign governments to dominate, exterminate, or assimilate them. Drawing on the disciplines of political science, history, law, and anthropology and written in a direct, readable style, American Indian Tribal Governments is a comprehensive introduction to traditional tribal governments, to the history of Indian-white relations, to the structure and legal rights of modern tribal governments, and to the changing roles of federal and state governments in relation to modem tribal governments. Publication of this book fills a gap in American Indian studies, providing scholars with a basis from which to begin an integrated study of tribal government, providing teachers with an excellent introductory textbook, and providing general readers with an accessible and complete introduction to American Indian history and government.

The book's unique structure allows coverage of a great breadth of information while avoiding the common mistake of generalizing about all tribes and cultures. An introductory section presents the basic themes of the book and describes the traditional governments of five tribes chosen for their geographic and cultural diversity-the Senecas, the Muscogees, the Lakotas, the Isleta Pueblo, and the Yakimas. The next three chapters review the history of Indian-white relations from the time Christopher Columbus "discovered" America to the present. Then the history and modem government of each of the five tribes presented earlier is examined in detail. The final chapters analyze the evolution and current legal powers of tribal governments, the tribal-federal relationship, and the tribal-state relationship.

American Indian Tribal Governments illuminates issues of tribal sovereignty and shows how tribes are protecting and expanding their control of tribal membership, legal systems, child welfare, land and resource use, hunting and fishing, business regulation, education, and social services. Other examples show tribes negotiating with state and federal governments to alleviate sources of conflict, including issues of criminal and civil jurisdiction, taxation, hunting and fishing rights, and control of natural resources. Excerpts from historical and modem documents and speeches highlight the text, and more than one hundred photos, maps, and charts show tribal life, government, and interaction with white society as it was and is. Included as well are a glossary and a chronology of important events.


Reviews 2

Choice Review

O'Brien's book fills a gap in the literature about contemporary American Indians by providing sound information on the history and present state of Native American governments. O'Brien (University of Notre Dame) rightly emphasizes the unique legal status of Indians, which recognizes the ancient sovereignty of their societies, although in reduced form. Included are good accounts of traditional governments (prior to European contact), the overall history of Indian-white relations, perceptive analyses of tribal-federal and tribal-state relations toady, and a summary of present tribal government powers. Best, however, since there is so much diversity in Indian life, are case studies of the past and present governments of several Native nations. Extended treatments of the Mississippi Choctaws, the Muscogee Nation, the Lakota Nation and the Cheyenne River Sioux, the Pueblos and Isleta, the Yakima Nation, and the Seneca Nation are supplemented by accounts of programs or events of a number of others. Clearly written, this book is accessible to general readers but also is valuable to scholars. Many excellent photographs and off-text quotations; a good chronology; an unnecessary glossary; a good bibliography. Highly recommended to anyone seeking information on current Indian governance. -E. R. Rusco, University of Nevada, Reno


Choice Review

O'Brien's book fills a gap in the literature about contemporary American Indians by providing sound information on the history and present state of Native American governments. O'Brien (University of Notre Dame) rightly emphasizes the unique legal status of Indians, which recognizes the ancient sovereignty of their societies, although in reduced form. Included are good accounts of traditional governments (prior to European contact), the overall history of Indian-white relations, perceptive analyses of tribal-federal and tribal-state relations toady, and a summary of present tribal government powers. Best, however, since there is so much diversity in Indian life, are case studies of the past and present governments of several Native nations. Extended treatments of the Mississippi Choctaws, the Muscogee Nation, the Lakota Nation and the Cheyenne River Sioux, the Pueblos and Isleta, the Yakima Nation, and the Seneca Nation are supplemented by accounts of programs or events of a number of others. Clearly written, this book is accessible to general readers but also is valuable to scholars. Many excellent photographs and off-text quotations; a good chronology; an unnecessary glossary; a good bibliography. Highly recommended to anyone seeking information on current Indian governance. -E. R. Rusco, University of Nevada, Reno