Failed Protectors: The Indian Trust and Killers of the Flower Moon

19 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2018 Last revised: 2 May 2019

Date Written: April 5, 2018


This Review uses Killers of the Flower Moon as a jumping off point for highlighting for readers how so many Indian people in Indian country can be so easily victimized by criminals. And yet, for however horrible the Osage Reign of Terror, the reality for too many Indian people today is much much worse. The federal government is absolutely to blame for these conditions. This Review shows how policy choices made by all three branches of the federal government have failed Indian people. Part I establishes the federal-tribal trust relationship that originated with a duty of protection. Part II establishes how the United States failure to fulfill its duties to the Osage Nation and its citizens allowed and even indirectly encouraged the Osage Reign of Terror. Part III offers thoughts on the future of the trust relationship in light of the rise of tribal self-determination. Part IV concludes the Review with a warning about how modern crime rates against Indian women and children are outrageously high in large part because of the continuing failures of the United States.

Keywords: Osage Nation, David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon, Osage Reign of Terror, Book Review, Michigan Law Review, Federal Trust Responsibility, Violence Against Indian Women

Suggested Citation

Fletcher, Matthew L. M., Failed Protectors: The Indian Trust and Killers of the Flower Moon (April 5, 2018). Michigan Law Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Matthew L. M. Fletcher (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

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