Culture, Religion, and Indigenous People

19 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2010  

David Skillen Bogen

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Leslie Goldstein

University of Delaware

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

The Constitution treats culture, religion, and government as separate concepts. Different clauses of the First Amendment protect culture and religion from government. For several decades, the Supreme Court of the United States interpreted the First Amendment as offering religion greater protection against interference than was offered to culture, but the Supreme Court largely dissolved these constitutional differences when confronted with issues posed by the religious practices of Native Americans. With some indigenous Americans, the lines between culture, religion, and even government blur – challenging the Supreme Court’s assumptions about the Constitution. The uniqueness of the claims of Native Americans pushed the Supreme Court toward recognition of a common constitutional standard for religion and cultural protection, but also justified political exemptions targeted at tribal behavior that do not extend to other religions or cultures.

Keywords: Native Americans, First Amendment, Supreme Court, Constitution

Suggested Citation

Bogen, David Skillen and Goldstein, Leslie, Culture, Religion, and Indigenous People (2009). Maryland Law Review, Vol. 69, pp. 48-65, 2009; U of Maryland Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-9. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1562005

David Skillen Bogen (Contact Author)

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law ( email )

500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786
United States
410-706-7221 (Phone)

Leslie Goldstein

University of Delaware ( email )

Newark, DE 19711
United States

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