Breaking the Chains: Transformative federal legislation and tribal peoples

Lisa J. Watt

Lisa J. Watt

Director of the Indigenous Leadership Program

A beach in Yakutat, Alaska. Photo credit: Bethany Goodrich.

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 non-indigenous 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

Download a transcript of commentary from our panelists. 

Recommended Resources

video

“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).

Video

With Dr. Robert J. Miller. Sandra Day O’Connor Institute for American Democracy, streamed live on April 20, 2022. (1:00:34)

video

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).

Reading

Charles F. Wilkinson (2006). W.W. Norton & Company.

Reading

Robert J. Miller (2008). Praeger Publishers 2006, paper University of Nebraska Press, 2008.

Reading

Robert J. Miller (2019). Praeger Publishers 2012, paper University of Nebraska Press 2013.

Reading

Robert J. Miller. 2018 BYU L. Rev. 1331-1405 (April 2019).

Reading

Geoffrey D. Strommer & Stephen D. Osborne. American Indian Law Review, vol. 39, no. 1, 2014, pp. 1-75.

Reading

Geoffrey D. Strommer & Kirke Kickingbird. Human Rights, vo. 40, no. 4, 2015, pp 2-6.

Making a difference

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

About the speakers

Robert-Miller_square

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_square

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).

Links

Feat-image_IL-Briefing_Negoiating

Blog

Recordings and resources from the first of four virtual briefings about Indigenous leadership with Bobbie Conner and Ron Allen presenting.

CTSI_logo

Blog

Recordings and resources for the final of four virtual briefings on Indigenous Leadership with Dave Tovey and Robert Miller presenting.

Feat-image_IL-Briefing_ANCSA

Blog

Recordings and resources from the third of four virtual briefings on Indigenous Leadership with Nicole Borromeo and Joe Nelson presenting.

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