On the Drafting of Tribal Constitutions (American Indian Law by Felix S. Cohen

By Felix S. Cohen

Felix Cohen (1907-1953) used to be a number one architect of the Indian New Deal and steadfast champion of yank Indian rights. Appointed to the dept of the internal in 1933, he helped draft the Indian Reorganization Act (1934) and chaired a committee charged with helping tribes in organizing their governments. His "Basic Memorandum on Drafting of Tribal Constitutions," submitted in November 1934, supplied functional directions for that attempt. mostly forgotten until eventually Cohen's papers have been published greater than part a century later, the memorandum now gets the eye it has lengthy deserved. David E. Wilkins offers the total paintings, edited and brought with an essay that describes its origins and locations it in historic context. Cohen instructed that every tribe give some thought to protecting historical traditions that provided knowledge to these drafting constitutions. Strongly against "sending out canned constitutions from Washington," he provided rules for incorporating Indigenous political, social, and cultural wisdom and constitution into new tribal constitutions.

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Some of those provisions follow. The following brief preamble is taken from a constitution proposed by Indians of the Pima Reservation: We, the people of the PIMA COMMUNITY OF ARIZONA, in order to establish justice, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of our heritage to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Pima Community of Arizona. Another very brief statement of purposes is found in the preamble of a constitution now being considered by the Sioux Indians of the Standing Rock Reservation: We, the Sioux of Standing Rock Reservation in the states of South Dakota and North Dakota, in order to re-establish our Tribal organization, to conserve our Tribal property; to develop our common resources, and to promote the welfare of ourselves and our descendants, do adopt and establish this Constitution.

To cooperate earnestly in all endeavors for the education of our children, for the advancement of the community, and for the suppression of all forms of vice. Section 3. All minor children of present or former members of the Annette Islands Reserve shall be considered members of the reserve until they reach their majority, at which time, in order to continue their membership, they must sign the declaration, as provided in Paragraph 3 of Section 4 of this article. Section 4. A native of Alaska of indigenous race, over 21 years of age, residing outside of the Annette Islands Reserve, hereafter desiring to become a member of the Annette Islands Reserve, shall proceed as follows: 1.

Donald A. , “A Symposium on Native Pragmatism: Rethinking the Roots of American Philosophy,” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society xxxix, no. 4 (Fall 2003), 559. 36. Rusco, Fateful Time, 193. 37. Felix S. Cohen, Felix S. Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian Law (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, reprint, 1972), 129. See note 59 of the Handbook for a list of the constitutions on file as of December 1934. 38 . Felix S. ” Indians at Work no. 10 (June 1939), 40. 39. Haycox, “Felix S.

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