The Doctrine of Discovery and the Elusive Definition of Indian Title
Blake A. Watson
University of Dayton School of Law
February 14, 2012
Lewis & Clark Law Review, Vol. 15, No. 4, 2011
This article contends that, pursuant to the discovery doctrine developed and adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court, Indian tribes retained possession of their lands after European encounter, but no longer owned their land and no longer held unlimited disposition rights. This "limited possessor" definition of Indian title is particularly difficult to justify in view of contemporary norms of international indigenous rights, and should be rejected along with the doctrine of discovery.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: Indian, aboriginal title, Indian title, discovery doctrineAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 10, 2011 ; Last revised: February 28, 2012
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