In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

273 CHAPTER 18 Federalism Native, Federal, and State Sovereignty K. TSIANINA LOMAWAIMA U.S. history cannot be taught without American Indians because the United States has been inexorably shaped by Native nations. Formatively, Native nations set the conditions for the creation of the United States as Native lands were claimed as U.S. land. Everything else flows from that irreducible violence. Native realities and their impacts on settler society have, however, largely been erased from U.S. history in textbooks, popular culture, and the understanding of many citizens. Confronting the erasure and making Native America visible is a daunting but worthwhile battle. The history of U.S. federalism presents a compelling opportunity for a fresh narrative. Federalism, a definitive relationship of U.S. governance, has evolved as a relationship among three sets of sovereigns, not two: the states, the federal government, and Native nations. U.S. history narratives have erased Native nations as co-forgers of federalism as part of a multipronged imperative to “eliminate the Native.”1 Two case studies, which have at their heart settler claims of entitlement to Native wealth and lands, build a strong evidentiary foundation for this triple sovereign interaction in U.S. state formation. The cases show how: (1) British attempts to control Indian trade and settler access to Native land through the Proclamation of 1763 provoked a revolution and initial conceptions of federalism; and (2) Indian removals in the 1800s forestalled southern states’ threats of nullification and secession in order to preserve the union. This chapter focuses on removal to analyze the Native-federal-state dynamic at a critical juncture in the construction of U.S. federalism. Grounding this discussion in the realities of teaching brings home the challenges and opportunities of casting a more accurate and truthful U.S. history.2 What Is Federalism? Many scholars agree there is no “fully fledged” political theory of federalism .3 An array of related terms, however, has been applied to govern- 274 K. TSIANINA LOMAWAIMA mental structures and processes. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote The Federalist Papers, eighty-five essays arguing for ratification of the Constitution.4 Michael Burgess uses federation to refer to a governmental structure that accommodates constituent units (such as states) in decision-making processes of the central government; he uses federalism to describe “active promotion of support for federation.”5 In U.S. history texts federalism is sometimes used synonymously with federation to refer to a government structure; and sometimes to promote federal over state authority. This latter use of federalism overlaps with the use of federalist to refer to advocates of strong federal authority. Whatever terms are used, the structure and history of U.S. federalism have been hotly contested.6 Federalism is used here to describe a particular government structure and federalist to indicate advocacy for federal over state and Native nation powers. Within the United States the Constitution orders relations between federal and state sovereigns, and federal-state relations have always been hotly contested. Federalists and states’ righters battle for authority over abortion, commerce, education, gun control, health, immigration, marriage , taxation, water rights—and American Indian affairs. Many U.S. citizens seem to take for granted the idea of structured relations between federal and state sovereigns, however hotly debated the particulars might be. The idea of Native nations as sovereigns, however, often seems anomalous , peculiar, or abnormal. The contrast came clear at a 2011 public forum on Native sovereignty held in Palm Springs, California: “One pertinent question from the audience summed up the tensions: ‘How can one sovereign exist within the territory and jurisdiction of another?’ The question was rooted in one context—the Cahuilla Indians existing as a sovereign nation within the city of Palm Springs, the State of California, and the US—which seemed to present an irreconcilability. The answer changed the context: ‘Let’s ask the Pope.’ The audience laughed.”7 Coexisting sovereigns with overlapping territories and jurisdictions seem ludicrous when Indians are involved and possible elsewhere, even where territorial and jurisdictional issues are bitterly contested. No one in the audience questioned how sovereign California could exist within the territory and jurisdiction of the sovereign United States. Three steps build toward bringing Native nations into the cognitive field of “taken for granted” sovereigns: (1) Illustrate how Native nations shaped the world in which U.S. federalism was forged; (2) Connect Na- Native, Federal, and State Sovereignty 275 tive sovereignty to federalism as an existing knowledge structure where coexisting sovereignties seem possible, not...


Additional Information

Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.