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Breaking the Chains:
Transformative federal legislation and Tribal peoples

In addition to the briefing recording below, you will find a range of supplemental resources to deepen your understanding of transformative federal legislation that recognized the sovereignty of tribal nations and engaged with tribal governments in new ways.

Breaking the Chains: Transformative federal legislation and tribal peoples

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Federal legislation passed in the 1970s and 1980s transformed the relationship between Native American tribes and the U.S. Government, shifting from a colonialist, paternalistic approach to one that recognized the sovereignty of tribal nations. Law professor Robert Miller (Eastern Shawnee) will provide the history and context of some of the groundbreaking laws that finally protected many of the sovereign rights of tribes and established new ways to work with the federal government. Next, Dave Tovey (Cayuse/Joseph Band Nez Perce) will examine one piece of legislation passed during this era that brought profound economic and social change to some tribes, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

“Great presentations, extremely knowledgeable guests and generous in their sharing. As a nonindigenous attendee I have found it so helpful to learn about contemporary Indigenous history in particular, especially the laws and hard won successes.” – Breaking the Chains Briefing attendee

Transcript | Download

Resources

Videos

“It’s been a pleasure to watch Indian Country evolve.” An interview with Richard (Dick) Trudell (Santee Sioux) who reflects on his 40-year career working closely with tribal leaders to make change for Native communities.Mark Trahant (Shoshone- Bannock) for Indian Country Today (December 2021).
vimeo.com/702702242

“How Tribal Governments and Indigenous Political Theories Impacted the Founding Fathers and the United States Constitution” with Dr. Robert J. Miller. Sandra Day O’Connor Institute for American Democracy, streamed live on April 20, 2022. (1:00:34)
youtube.com/watch?v=8McugLvWNhM

“Visioning” with Dr. Robert J. Miller, a 2/18/22 webinar that was part of the Vibrant Tribal Economies webinar series organized by the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Economic Development Corporation (1:34:45). atniedc.files.wordpress.com/2022/02/vte_session1_02.2022-1.mp4

Maps

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Homelands (CTUIR GIS Dept.) |  gis.ctuir.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/aboriginal_title_2017.jpg

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR GIS Dept.) |  gis.ctuir.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/StandardMaps_UIR.pdf

Suggested readings

Wiyaxayxt / Wiyaakaa’awn / As Days Go By: Our History, Our Land, Our People – The Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla
Edited by Jennifer Carson (2006). University of Washington Press.

Cáw Pawá Láakni / They Are Not Forgotten: Sahaptian Place Names Atlas of the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla
Eugene S. Hunn (2015). Tamastslikt Cultural Institute.

Blood Struggle: The Rise of Modern Indian Nations
Charles F. Wilkinson (2006). W.W. Norton & Company.

Native America, Discovered and Conquered: Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, and Manifest Destiny
Robert J. Miller (2008). Praeger Publishers 2006, paper University of Nebraska Press, 2008.

Reservation “Capitalism”: Economic Development in Indian Country
Robert J. Miller (2019). Praeger Publishers 2012, paper University of Nebraska Press 2013.

Sovereign Resilience: Reviving Private-sector Economic Institutions in Indian Country
Robert J. Miller. 2018 BYU L. Rev. 1331-1405 (April 2019).

The History, Status, and Future of Tribal Self-Governance Under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act.
Geoffrey D. Strommer & Stephen D. Osborne. American Indian Law Review, vol. 39, no. 1, 2014, pp. 1-75.

Indian Self-Determination: Four Decades of Extraordinary Success.
Geoffrey D. Strommer & Kirke Kickingbird. Human Rights, vo. 40, no. 4, 2015, pp 2-6.

Websites

Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians
Portland, OR | atnitribes.org

ATNI Economic Development Corporation
Portland, OR | atniedc.com

Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission
Portland, OR | critfc.org

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Pendleton, OR | ctuir.org

National Congress of American Indians
Washington, DC | ncai.org

Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission
Olympia, WA | nwifc.org

Making a difference: Native-led nonprofits

We encourage you to learn more about and consider contributing to these nonprofits Bob and Dave support.

Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Economic Development Corporation
Portland, OR | atniedc.com

American Indian Graduate Center
Albuquerque, NM | aigcs.org

Indian Land Tenure Foundation
Little Canada, MNiltf.org

National Indian Child Welfare Association
Portland, OR | nicwa.org

Nixyaawii Community Financial Services
Pendleton, OR | nixyaawii-cdfi.org

Tamastslikt Cultural Institute
Pendleton, OR | tamastslikt.org

About our speakers

Robert J. Miller is a professor of law at the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State University in Tempe. His areas of expertise include Federal Indian Law, American Indians and international law, American Indian economic development, Native American natural resources, and Civil Procedure. He is a noted author of numerous books that deepen the understanding of American Indian relations, history, and law from colonial times to the present.

Dave Tovey has a wealth of experience in tribal economic development. He is currently the executive director of the Nixyáawii Community Financial Services, a Native CDFI on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation that provides loans, homeownership guidance, and financial management assistance. In addition, Dave has served in top executive roles with the Siletz Tribal Business Corporation, Cayuse Technologies, and the Coquille Indian Tribe. He currently serves as the board president of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Economic Development Corporation (ATNI-EDC).

Top image: A beach in Yakutat, Alaska, by Bethany Goodrich. Images of the briefings speakers, courtesy of the speakers.