Tribal Disobedience

38 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2005

Date Written: September 20, 2005


American Indian nations have engaged in a variety of advocacy strategies to secure their lands and sovereignty from Euro-American colonists. One of the most important of these strategies has been "tribal disobedience," which is the process by which Indigenous peoples deliberately violate the laws of the colonizing nation to protect and defend their inherent and treaty-recognized rights. Following the events of 9/11, the United States has embarked upon a "War on Terror" and in doing so has restricted civil liberties through such measures as the USAPATRIOT Act. In light of such developments, this paper argues that the ability of American Indians to engage in tribal disobedience has been seriously undermined. The paper highlights the historic importance of tribal disobedience to the survival of Indigenous peoples and explains how recent actions by the United States to defend itself threaten the ability of American Indians to sustain themselves as distinct societies.

Keywords: American Indians, Native Americans, Indigenous peoples, disobedience, advocacy, resistance, national security

JEL Classification: N40, Z00

Suggested Citation

Porter, Robert Odawi, Tribal Disobedience (September 20, 2005). Syracuse Univ. Public Law Research Paper No. 05-01, Available at SSRN: or

Robert Odawi Porter (Contact Author)

Syracuse University College of Law ( email )

Syracuse, NY 13244-1030
United States

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