The arrival of European and Euro-American colonizers in the Americas brought not only physical attacks against Native American tribes, but also further attacks against the sovereignty of these Indian nations. Though the violent tales of the Trail of Tears, Black Hawk's War, and the Battle of Little Big Horn are taught far and wide, the political structure and development of Native American tribes, and the effect of American domination on Native American sovereignty, have been greatly neglected.
This book contains a variety of primary source and other documents--traditional accounts, tribal constitutions, legal codes, business councils, rules and regulations, BIA agents reports, congressional discourse, intertribal compacts--written both by Natives from many different nations and some non-Natives, that reflect how indigenous peoples continued to exercise a significant measure of self-determination long after it was presumed to have been lost, surrendered, or vanquished. The documents are arranged chronologically, and Wilkins provides brief, introductory essays to each document, placing them within the proper context. Each introduction is followed by a brief list of suggestions for further reading.
Covering a fascinating and relatively unknown period in Native American history, from the earliest examples of indigenous political writings to the formal constitutions crafted just before the American intervention of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, this anthology will be an invaluable resource for scholars and students of the political development of indigenous peoples the world over.
David Wilkins is McKnight Presidential Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota. He is the author and editor of more than ten books on indigenous politics and governance, including American Indian Politics and the American Political System (2007). Wilkins is a citizen of the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina.