September 17, 2021

Founding Failures: Indian Country’s Sovereignty and Subordination


Since its founding, the United States government has created and then abrogated treaties with tribal nations, taken tribal land, and pushed policies aimed at stripping indigenous communities of their language and culture. On a day that we celebrate the ratification of our founding document, it is important to remember and better understand the extent to which the U.S. Constitution specifically addresses tribal sovereignty and the ways in which the U.S. government, often enabled by the federal judiciary, has too often blithely violated that sovereignty and harmed the citizens of tribal nations.

Join ACS as we explore the unique impact our constitutional “founding failures” had for Native Americans, the ways in which that legacy differs from other marginalized populations excluded from the original constitutional bargain, and the lessons we can learn to move forward in redressing the harms the United States has committed against tribal nations and their people.

Welcome Remarks:
Russ Feingold, President, ACS

Featured Speakers:
Ambassador Keith Harper, Partner, Jenner & Block, Moderator
Chase Iron Eyes, Lead Counsel, Lakota People’s Law Project
Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Foundation Professor of Law, Michigan State University College of Law
Elizabeth Reese, Assistant Professor of Law, Stanford University Law School
Addie Rolnick, San Manuel Professor of Law, UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law