1. What should law enforcement agents do when the state law is in conflict with a federal law that has been based on treaties with Native Americans signed by federal government

Drafters of American constitution noted that laws that govern the states may one day contradict the constitution. For the constitution to be supreme, they drafted Article IV, which is also called the Supremacy Clause. Case law also elaborates that whenever state laws contradict the federal law, federal law always prevail. To add on, the Supreme Court is the only court that binds state laws and guides them when it comes to interpreting federal law and federal constitution. Minor cases where state laws can prevail occur when it comes to matters concerning labor laws. Moreover, individual states drafts laws that apply to their own employees and whenever both the state and federal law address the same matter, an employee is at liberty to choose which law benefits him the most (Jackson, 659). Since all states are sovereign, with own government and constitution, they have the authority to make laws. But those laws must not supersede federal constitution, statutes and international treaties authorized by the federal senate.

            In America, tribal governments play an important role in politics. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a case involving Cherokee Nation v Georgia (1831) that tribal governments are neither states nor foreign state. However, they are nations with authority to exercise sovereign power. Since tribal governments have powers to draft their own laws, some of them may preempt the state or the federal law. In such a situation, the congress posses plenary power over the natives affairs Lone Wolf v Hitchcock, 187 U.S.553 (1903) which are directed towards regulating tribal powers. Whenever conflict arises, authorities make use of federal interpretations to solve the case. For example, after the 1968 Civil Rights movement, the federal government passed a statute which required the tribal governments to adopt several bills of rights as well as adhere to other regulations. Limitations provided for in the Indian Civil Rights Act are statutory and not constitutional. People whose Indian rights have been violated can not challenge the matter through a federal civil suit (Anderson, 127). Therefore, he or she can only challenge the case in a tribal court. To add on, the development of tribal economic activities has been a major discussion in federal Indian policy. Several Acts provide for the development of Indian economic projects, for example, mining, mortgage and establishment of companies. 

2. How can officers who are on the front lines win respect and cooperation on native Americans when they asked to enforce something that goes against the treaty rights of the Indians

           According to the U.S. law, all indigenous people living in America during the European colonization are referred to as Indians. Law enforcers are empowered by the constitution to ensure that all individuals adhere to the rule of the law. However, certain regulations may conflict or oppress certain groups of people in the society. Thus for people in authority to win the trust of Indians, the state can recognize the practice of a given group of Indians, even when the federal government fails to recognize it. In September 1993, a National Agenda aimed at solving disputes and improving working relations between the tribal, state and federal judicial system was held in New Mexico (Isaac, 29).  Reasons that can influence the state to recognize a particular group are varying.  First, the state court and legislature can investigate the level of Indian governmental influence over peoples way of life. Second, the state can examine the political control of a particular group across a given territory. Lastly, the extent to which a groups history extends can be considered by the state.

              Indian sovereign authority is also recognized by the federal law and thus given special authority to rule themselves. However, this authority must not conflict with federal law. Moreover, the federal law recognizes Indian tribes as domestic and dependent nations. Furthermore, this sovereign authority was meant to protect the Indian groups and was enacted by the congress. Tribal courts of the Indians which preside over matters concerning the Indians get their mandate from the federal law (William, 31). In essence, Native Americans can respect the authorities when they are given the authority to run their own institutions and exercise their own rights

              When treaty rights of the Indians are violated, tribal governments can enter into agreements with state governments and iron out the differences. Examples of agreements which have been documented include law enforcement agreement, tax agreement, gaming compacts, human service agreements etc. The legal status of Native Americans has a unique perception. First, they are American citizens who enjoy the same rights and privileges as other Americans. Second, natives are considered as a special group of people with individual governing tribes. Despite the fact that natives have equal rights as all Americans, they have special rights in hunting and fishing, gaming activities and water usage (Edling, 43). Several arguments have been brought forth to subject Native Americans to the fishing and hunting rights as those of other Americans. However, the state lacks authority to control the activities of individuals in Indian reservations.


Post a Comment