The Unfortunate Reality Of Appealing To Colonial Courts

I’m not an expert in American Indian Law. But when you study Native history, you come to learn a few things. I want to talk about the injustice of the current situation for Native individuals and nations: appealing to colonial courts.

When I first discovered that, in order to fight for their rights, Native Americans must appeal to the United States’ courts, I thought this was ridiculous.

Just imagine if occupied Poland was colonized for a while by Germany and had to, when Poland had a claim, appeal to Germany’s courts in order to resolve it. It’s absolutely absurd. Small wonder Native Americans rarely get justice.

Most tribal nations have their own courts, but I don’t know we should use those, either.

No, what we need is an independent body to sort out the claims Native Nations have. Perhaps the United States needs a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It just depends on the powers such a commission would have. Or, perhaps, we just need an independent court to adjudicate claims Native people have.

The unfairness that stems from having to appeal to colonial courts was one reason indigenous people were happy about the adoption of The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Now, they have not only an international voice, but we know and claim internationally now that certain ways Native Americans were/are treated is unjust and, possibly, now illegal.

But the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples only has so much force. The UN, when it comes to enforcing things, is rather weak. The Declaration stands, however, as a testament to the fact that we all now believe certain things to be unjust.

I still think we need an independent body to adjudicate claims Native people have. Appealing to colonial courts just doesn’t cut it.

 

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