The Challenge of 'Differentiated Citizenship': Can State Constitutions Protect Tribal Rights?
Montana Law Review, Vol. 64, p. 199, 2003
47 Pages Posted: 10 May 2009 Last revised: 29 Apr 2015
Date Written: 2003
One of the most vexing problems in contemporary states with large Native populations is whether the continuing inequities between Native and non-Native peoples are best addressed through the standard framework of Federal Indian Law, in which the federal government mediates tribal-state relations, or through newly articulated legal relationships between states and tribes. Professor Tsosie uses a particular legal provision, Article X of the Montana Constitution, which addresses rights to education and Native cultural heritage, to begin a discussion about future directions to address tribal-state conflicts and the rights of Native and non-Native citizens. The tribe's lands and resources were generally liquidated into a monetary payment, which could be distributed to tribal members. Delegate James Champoux testified that this constitutional provision was the appropriate way to protect the unique manner in which Indian people educated their children within their culture and societies. Thus, the guarantees of Article X, Section 1 of the Montana Constitution are best understood against the policy framework that has guided Native education and the preservation of Native cultural heritage. Presumably this requires the federal government to ensure the quality of education that Native people receive, rather than merely delegating its responsibility to the states.
Keywords: Native people, Indian Law, education
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