Negotiated Sovereignty: Working to Improve Tribal-State RelationsNov 15th, 2004 | By pboyer | Category: 16-2: Tribal College Research, Media Reviews
by Jeffrey S. Ashley and Secody J. Hubbard
Praeger Publishers (2004), Oxford, UK. 136 Pages
Review by Paul Boyer
Tribes often argue they are outside state jurisdiction. As sovereign nations they have, as the Supreme Court stated, a status “higher than states.” Any intrusion by a state into tribal government is therefore viewed as a challenge to sovereignty — and need not be tolerated.
That’s an understandable view, say the authors of this timely new book on tribal-state relations. While tribes have an “inherent right of self-government,” this does not mean tribes and states can ignore each other.
The authors take a pragmatic approach. Using six tribes as case studies, they argue that tribal interests are better served when tribes work cooperatively with states on key issues such as law enforcement, water rights, and taxation.
Negotiated Sovereignty doesn’t resolve age-old debates. It doesn’t try. In fact, the authors imply that tribal, state (and federal) relations will always be raw and contested terrain. In this environment, the authors argue, the cause of sovereignty may hinge more on small things — tribal and state cops sharing stories over a cup of coffee — than the next Supreme Court ruling.
Paul Boyer, Ed.D, served as founding editor of the Tribal College Journal and is a frequent contributor.