UEN Security Office
Technical Services Support Center (TSSC)
Eccles Broadcast Center
101 Wasatch Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
(801) 585-6105 (fax)
Main Curriculum Tie:
Background For Teachers:
TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS AS SOVERIGN NATIONS
“Indian tribes have held a unique position in the history of the American Government as well as in contemporary affairs. The basis for that position is the fact that Indian tribes were recognized as sovereign from the time of discovery and that recognition continues today.” – Nancy M. Tuthill
What makes American Indian tribes so unique from other ethnic minorities, besides their indigenous status, is that they are land-based and have a political relationship with the United States government. This political relationship has several legal bases: (1) the “commerce clause” of the U.S. Constitution; (2) treaties between the U.S. and the Indian nations, legislation, and subsequent federal policy; and (3) Supreme Court decisions and executive actions.
American Indian tribes, however, do not enjoy absolute sovereignty. Indian tribes do not exercise international independence (but neither do state governments). They are domestic independent nations (nations within a nation, having a nation-to-nation relationship with the Federal Government). Additionally, the Federal Government has a unique trust of fiduciary responsibility for American Indian tribes and their interests and assets, as a result of treaties which stressed “services such as education, health, etc., in exchange for land.”
Some commonly asked questions are:
Essential Question 1: What is the meaning of the term sovereignty, and how does sovereignty make American Indians unique from other ethnic minorities?
Essential Question 2: How does the structure of Utah’s state government and the U.S. federal government compare with the governments of Utah ’s five American Indian tribes?
Essential Question 3: How do Utah’s state government and Utah’s American Indian tribal governments address the concerns of American Indians in Utah ?
Essential Question 1: Assessment
Essential Question 2: Assessment
Government structure comparison chart.
Essential Question 3: Assessment
Research media sources for American Indian issues or concerns.
Lesson Plan Writers:
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