Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Indigenous peoples in the northern and southwestern regions of the United States face challenges to the preservation of their cultures, economies, governments, and family relations as a result of the international borders that have bisected their traditional lands. While there is a history of treatymaking and governmental policy attempting to address these issues, the lack of an effective solution and concrete. border policy for tribe members in these regions leaves them without recourse. Some scholars suggest universal US citizenship for tribe members, others suggest tribe-specific legislation, and some even suggest that the tribes pursue litigation against the United States to resolve their woes at the borders. While each of these solutions have their merits, there are serious flaws that will likely prevent their implementation or meaningful effect. This Note will examine the history of treatymaking and border issues for these tribes and some of the primary solutions various scholars have proposed. After analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of these solutions, this Note will suggest that a new, polycentric governance system over the tribal lands be instituted to ensure that the collective tribal rights will be effectively balanced with the international government interests in play...

This Note seeks to make sense of the issues faced by some tribes on both the northern and southern borders of the United States and to analyze potential solutions to these issues. The Note will first lay out a background of the most relevant histories of a few, select tribes in those regions and the treaties and laws which were instituted in' connection to those tribes and the borders, as well as the issues these treaties and laws have created. The experiences of these tribes do not encompass the totality of border tribe experiences. Rather, they serve as a broad look at problems generally consistent with border tribes. In order to simplify and use these examples effectively, this overview will be broadly cabined into cultural, economic, and political issues, which will then be analyzed by looking at (1) various solutions proposed in previous scholarship, (2) solutions used with specific tribes, and (3) solutions used internationally. Finally, the Note will propose a polycentric governance counsel as the best solution to the issues the current geographic borders present to the northern and southern tribes and will analyze the impact of the proposed "Tribal Council" in light of the potential cultural, economic, and political implications of such a solution.