Lecture: Future of Indian Law Under a Trump Administration

Suzan Harjo
Suzan Harjo (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee), a poet, writer, and leading Native American rights advocate, will be speaking tonight on the future of Indian law under a Trump administration at Mitchell Hamline Law School, 875 Summit Ave, St Paul. The talk will be held in Room 323 starting at 6:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Here is the announcement.

According to an online bio of Harjo posted by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, she is the former executive director of the National Congress of American Indians and has advocated for decades for laws to promote Native nations’ sovereignty, languages and religious freedom, as well as pass the National Museum of the American Indian Act. Harjo is one of seven Native people “who filed the 1992 landmark case Harjo et al v. Pro Football, Inc., against the disparaging name of the Washington football team.”

Indian Country Today ran a story July 28 headlined: Donald Trump and Federal Indian Policy: ‘They Don’t Look Like Indians to Me’. It outlines reasons to be worried about the President-elect’s views on Indian law. It relates Trump’s 1993 congressional testimony around Indian gaming and his concerns that it had an “unfair advantage” over his casino.

The article also had a partial transcript from a 1993 Trump interview with Don Imus:

TRUMP: Well, I think I might have more Indian blood than a lot of the so-called Indians that are trying to open up the reservations.

I looked at one of them – well, I won’t go into the whole story, but I can tell you, I said to him, “I think I have more Indian blood in me than you have in you.” And he laughed at me and he sort of acknowledged that I was right. But it’s a joke. It’s really a joke.

The article concluded with the following:

Donald Trump’s most notable comments about Indian tribes – made before the Committee on Natural Resources – reveal that he does not draw the distinction between the racial and political identities of Indian people. His view of the legitimacy of Indian tribes depends on the physical appearance of their members. As he told Don Imus, “it’s just one of those things that we have to straighten out.” [emphasis in original]

Specifically regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline, Trump has invested somewhere between  $500,000 to $1 million in the project and a similar amount invested in Phillips 66, which will have a 25 percent stake in DAPL.
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