Culture Talk or Culture War in Federal Indian Law?
Alexander Tallchief Skibine
University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law
Tulsa Law Review, Forthcoming
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Keywords: Native Americans, Native American culture, Native American Religion, Sacred sites
JEL Classification: Q15, Q24, Q28
Date posted: February 3, 2010