David Treuer, an American Indian, is writing a series of dispatches for Slate in which he visits Indian casinos. I'd never heard the story of how casinos on Indian lands came to be. It seems a state tax bill on a mobile home led to a lawsuit which led to a legal precedent that state and federal governments have no regulatory jurisdiction on Indian lands.
The Supreme Court ruling in the Bryan case was expansive. More than just a ruling on taxation, it declared that states and the feds had the right to police the reservation only in the interest of "law and order" and had no civil or regulatory jurisdiction over sovereign Indian nations. Until this time, tribes and states more or less assumed that states had civil and regulatory power on reservations. But the Supreme Court maintained that as sovereign nations, Indian tribes had always had the right to govern themselves (including civil and regulatory powers), just as all nations do, and that tribes should deal with the U.S. federal government, not with states. Kansas, for example, has no power to levy taxes in Luxembourg -- and not only because Luxembourg is far away.
Red Cloud's farewell address to his people on July 4, 1903.
I was born a Lakota and I shall die a Lakota. Before the white man came to our country, the Lakotas were a free people. They made their own laws and governed themselves as it seemed good to them. The priests and ministers tell us that we lived wickedly when we lived before the white man came among us. Whose fault was this? We lived right as we were taught it was right. Shall we be punished for this? I am not sure that what these people tell me is true.
Red Cloud was among the top Lakota leaders in the late 1800s, commanding his people against rival tribes & the US government. He also successfully made the transition from leading his people in war to guiding and lobbying for them in peace. He died six years after making the above speech.
President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Cecilia Fire Thunder, says, "I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction." (via bb)
The last surviving WWII Comanche code talker dies. "The group of Comanche Indians from the Lawton area were selected for special duty in the U.S. Army to provide the Allies with a language that the Germans could not decipher."