Native American Legal Status

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Currently in the United States, Native Americans have a unique legal status that is much different than any other group, this status has originated from the history of this country and the relationship between the Natives and the government. The mistreatment and genocide of the Natives has lead the government to view them as separate from all other ethnic groups, especially through Supreme Court cases and treaties. One of the aspects of the Natives legal place in the country is their extra constitutional status. This relationship that the Native Americans have with the government, is completely different from any other racial group has as this revolves around the tribal nations and the federal or state governments interacting with one another.…show more content…
There are three parts of plenary power: exclusive, preemptive and absolute. Exclusive is where Congress has the sole authority to conduct the government’s affairs with the Natives. Preemptive is the fact that Congress can enact legislation that overrides the powers of state government. Absolute is that the government has unlimited authority over affairs, lands and the resources of the Indians. The Constitution, within the Commerce clause, gives Congress the right to regulate any commerce with foreign nations including the Native Americans (Wilkins…show more content…
Native Americans are the only minority or racial group that has to prove their native blood, in order to receive health care or any type of financial benefits from the government. If their blood quantum is at a certain level, they are able to receive benefits and services from the government (Wilkins). The fact that they have to measure out their ancestry and what fraction of what ethnicity they are, is something that no other racial group has to do anymore.
In the Supreme Court case Cherokee v. Georgia (1831) Chief Justice Marshall concluded that Indian tribes were to be considered domestic dependent nations that relied on the federal United States government. In the same case Marshall established a trust responsibility that the government had to the Natives, it’s can be compared to a parent to child relationship.
Marshall also ruled on the Johnson v. McIntosh Supreme Court case in 1823 that regarded the right to occupancy. The case referred to a land issue between two white men who bought the same land, one from the Native Americans and the other from a grant through the federal government. Marshall ruled that tribes only have the right to occupancy, but no ownership of the land, so therefore they couldn’t sell land to another (O’Brien
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