Sovereignty, Native American

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  • Native American tribes and nations are self-governing, semi-autonomous, and sovereign entities. Despite a history of colonialism, territorial incorporation within the United States, and governmental and nongovernmental efforts to assimilate their communities, Native American tribes and nations retain significant powers of self-government. Within the boundaries of their reservations, one finds political, economic, and cultural communities that exercise significant decision-making authority over tribal lands, natural resources, and the activities of the tribal members. It is this distinctive political status as sovereign nations that distinguishes Native Americans from other minority groups within the United States.

    Territorially incorporated within the United States, Native American nations have lost attributes of full sovereignty such as the ability to engage in international relations and treaty making with foreign nations. Native nations’ powers of ...

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