Presentation to the NCAI Federal Task Force
November 5, 2021
De-Colonizing The Mindset
All Indigenous Peoples have inherent rights—rights that exist regardless of state
or federal definitions. Unfortunately, America has consistently ignored some
tribes while recognizing others. For centuries, the United States legal system has
treated Native Americans as inferior beings to those of European descent, and
therefore deserving of lesser rights. This degradation does not eliminate the
inherent rights of Indigenous peoples; it merely means they have been ignored.
A problem exists in the commonly used modern definition of a “tribe” within the
United States. The federal government commonly defines “tribes” exclusively as
those with federal recognition—completely ignoring non-federally recognized
tribes. This definition, promulgated over the years, creates a false correlation
that tribal sovereignty equates federal acknowledgement. This federal definition
contradicts the modern federal Indian policy of self-determination, and infringes
upon the inherent sovereignty of all tribal nations.