Culture Talk or Culture War in Federal Indian Law?
Tulsa Law Review, Forthcoming
21 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2010
In this article, I ask whether in the area of Native American cultural and religious rights federal law is more inclined towards “culture talk” meaning accommodations and compromises, or whether the attitude is more one of “culture war,” meaning geared towards confrontation and intolerance. I answer the question by focusing on how the law has treated Native American rights in four areas: use of peyote and controlled substances, possession of eagle feathers, implementation of the Native American Graves Protection Act, and protection of sacred sites. Not surprisingly, I conclude that there are both culture talks and culture wars going on. On the other hand, perhaps surprisingly, I find that among the three branches of the federal government, the courts have been the least willing to accommodate Native cultural and religious interests.
Keywords: Native Americans, Native American culture, Native American Religion, Sacred sites
JEL Classification: Q15, Q24, Q28
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