Book Review of Brown's 'Religion, Law, and the Land: Native Americans and the Judicial Interpretation of Sacred Land'
9 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2007 Last revised: 8 May 2010
Professor Wildenthal reviews Professor Brian Edward Brown's book, "Religion, Law, and the Land: Native Americans and the Judicial Interpretation of Sacred Land" (Greenwood, 1999). Brown's book discusses several court cases in which American Indian tribes have challenged government actions threatening lands held sacred according to Native American religious traditions, most notably Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Association (1988), in which the Supreme Court rejected a challenge by northern California tribes to a proposed government logging road through mountainous national forest land held sacred by the tribes.
The review praises the eloquence and insights of Brown's book, but suggests that it could have placed its discussion of the cases in better context by discussing more thoroughly other scholarly analyses of the issue. The review elaborates on several aspects of the prevailing judicial treatment of Indian sacred-site claims, and generally agrees with Brown that courts have often failed to appreciate the history and context of Indian religious freedom issues.
Keywords: American Indian, Native American, religious freedom, Free Exercise Clause, Establishment Clause, First Amendment, sacred sites, Brian Edward Brown, Six Rivers National Forest
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation