Navajo Nation Responds To U.S. Supreme Court Decisions Affecting Its Sovereignty<br> <br>

Over the past two decades U.S. Supreme Court decisions have steadily eroded the inherent sovereignty of Indian Nations. In fact, all that remains of Indian Nation sovereignty is authority over members within respective reservations.

The Court only recently declared that State Police Officers may lawfully invade the territorial jurisdiction of Indian Nations. Indian Nations are not merely social clubs or associations vulnerable to political intrusions. Rather, Indian Nations are a recognized government with inherent sovereignty.

The Navajo Nation encourages all Indian Nations to unite as one, to speak with one voice, to advocate for true recognition of our inherent sovereignty by the United States Congress.

Indian Nations must demonstrate a united front against further encroachment against our sovereign rights not only in this present crisis but also to protect our future and the future of our children. Indian Nation leaders of today have the combined strength to decide a course of action. The spirit of Indian Nations is so powerful that no one can diminish it if we stand together.

The Navajo Nation goal is to work with the U.S. Congress, state governments, and other Indian nations to secure our inherent sovereign rights. Certain principles are paramount in working to achieve these goals. First, Indian Nations must come to a consensus of what sovereignty means. Second, Congress must recognize that sovereignty as absolute and not a delegation.

Congressional amendment to 18 USC § 1151 to make it clear that it defines Indian Nation jurisdiction over events inside and outside of tribal territory, i.e. Indian Child

Welfare Act.

Response to Strate v. A-1 Contractors (1997) and Bighorn Electric, (9th Cir 2001).

Indian Country is defined as (a) all land within the limits of any Indian reservation under the jurisdiction of the United States Government, notwithstanding the issuance of any patent, and, including rights-of-way running through the reservation, (b) all dependent Indian communities within the borders of the United States whether within the original or subsequently acquired territory thereof, and whether within or without the limits of a state, and (c) all Indian allotments, the Indian titles to which have not been extinguished, including rights-of-way running through the same.

The definition of dependent Indian community, § 1151(b), must be clarified in legislation to mean any area which is Indian in character by reason of population patterns and the existence of distinct Indian communities, including all areas outside a given Indian Nation’s reservation and in areas where federal services are provided to Indians, regardless of tribal membership or land status.

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