Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
‘There ain't no Indians in Texas' – a red alert
Posted: October 26, 2001 -- 11:49am EST
What could be the ultimate in states' rights injustice is beginning to unfold. It emanates out of Texas and it portends the highest possible danger for American Indian nations.
The Fifth Circuit District Court of Appeals in New Orleans decided that the Tigua Indian Tribe of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, neighbor to El Paso, Texas, and a federally recognized American Indian government, basically does not have the rights of virtually every other federally recognized tribe in the country.
Cavalierly, the court decided to deny the status rights of the Tigua, agreeing with the state attorney general's position that "in Texas," Indian tribes are simple "associations" and have no more rights than "a sorority or a fraternity."
The Tigua are federally recognized and covered under the 1987 Pueblo Restoration Act. The act is but one of several legal bases that open the way for tribes to conduct economic enterprises, including gaming, in Texas and in any other state where federally recognized tribes reside. But, according to this troublesome ruling, Texas has the right to define the status of American Indians, and is in complete non-compliance with the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The lead objective of that congressional legislation was to promote self-sufficiency for the tribes.
The notion that Indian tribes are simple "associations" and have no more rights than "a sorority or a fraternity" is what got this entry posted in the contest. Give the Fifth Circuit District Court of Appeals in New Orleans a big demerit for its anti-Indian ruling.
Where did it get this bizarre "reasoning," anyway? Sure, you could say a tribe is an association—just like the United States, Congress, and the Supreme Court are. But like these other "associations," a tribe is more than that. You'd have to ignore the complex web of history and culture that holds a tribe together to rule it's only an association.
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