Forced Federalism: Contemporary Challenges to Indigenous Nationhood

May 15th, 2009 | By | Category: 20-4: Tribal College Leadership and Vision, Media Reviews

by Jeff Corntassel and Richard C. Witmer III
University of Oklahoma Press (2008)

Review by Michael W. Simpson

This book explores the new “rich Indian” stereotype and how it impacts Indian policy and relations with other governments. The passing of the Indian Gaming and Regulatory Act of 1988 is seen as ushering in a new era of federal Indian policy called the Forced Federalism Era.

The book examines how Indigenous governments respond to the new challenges to their nationhood as they are forced to deal with state governments more and more. The danger, pitfalls, and possibilities from increasing involvement in the dominant political system are explored. Are Indigenous nations becoming nothing more than another interest or ethnic group? Is community governance and self-determination being lost?

This book is the result of a longitudinal Indigenous Government Survey and analysis of compacts, rhetoric, and political participation. It is a significant work that every college should offer to the people.

Michael W. Simpson, J.D., M.Ed., is a teacher, lawyer, and social justice advocate currently studying American Indian issues at the University of Arizona.

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