Don’t Let The Self-Determination Era Fool You

When one looks back on Indian Policy, one can divide it up into policy eras. There was the Removal Era, the Indian War Era, the Reservation Era, etc.

Allegedly, we are now living in the Self-Determination Era.

This means, in general, as a matter of policy, tribal nations are able to do what they wish. That sounds great, right? That’s what we are hoping for.

Except it’s not that simple.

Tribal nations are still not liberated from U.S. control. Think about it for a minute: Does anyone grant you the ability to do as you wish? Or does that right come from somewhere else (you can think of it as coming from your Creator, as a natural right, or what have you). It’s the same for nations. Theoretically, nations enjoy a similar kind of sovereignty as individuals do because nations are a group of people who desire to govern themselves.

What I’m saying, of course, is that decolonization has not yet occurred, despite us living in the Self-Determination Era.