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September 11 and America's War on Terrorism: a new manifest destiny?

The tragic events of September 11 have unified most Americans against a new world of international terrorism. The psychological shock of America discovering its vulnerability began a period of intense national introspection, soul-searching, and profound change to our self-perceptions--both positive and negative. To many Americans, this period of reflection ignited a spirited revival of the nation's virtual state religion--one belief combining the sacred and secular into a Christian sense of mission with patriotism. A nineteenth-century variant of this state religion was America's divine "manifest destiny" to spread democracy and true civilization by territorial expansion and subjugation of native peoples.

President Bush reflected on America's revived divine sense of destiny in his State of the Union Address on 29 January 2002: "American will lead by defending liberty and justice because they are right, true and unchanging for all people everywhere.... In a single instant, we realized that this will be a decisive decade in the history of liberty--that we have been called to a unique role in human events" (emphasis added). On 16 July 2002, President Bush presented his plan for domestic security by mustering American patriots with his clarion call: "Terrorism is the greatest threat to the United States in this century.... We must rally our entire society to overcome a new and very complex challenge." (1)

The first purpose of this paper is to offer a historical correlation between major shifts in American foreign policies during times of international warfare and catastrophic disruption of federal Indian policies--disruption demonstrated by two hundred years of arbitrary change and appalling inconsistency in federal policies already bent towards genocide, ethnocide, and land and resource theft. Certain nineteenth-century American foreign policies and the country's expansionist domestic policies under manifest destiny show an interrelated process of coevolution.

The second purpose of this paper is to strongly suggest that the events of September 11 and open-ended War on Terrorism, have ignited a new manifest destiny--America's mission to defuse the passions fueling terrorism and stem the underlying tide of anti-Americanism abroad by recasting and selling a positive image of the United States as the democratic hope of all mankind. But as a process of coevolution with certain foreign policies, the character and impact of a new manifest destiny will not materialize overnight. In addition to ongoing anti-terrorism operations overseas in Afghanistan, the Philippines, ex-Soviet Georgia's Chechnya region, and probable war against Iraq, there must be study of American intellectual and public discourse. (2)

One impediment to American's campaign is the antiglobalization movement, begun in oppressed Third-World countries but now with an international following. The antiglobalists stigmatize the American free-market system as hypocritical, attaching a "crony capitalism" label because it exploits less developed Third-World countries. (3) Dumped into the laps of antiglobalists are the American financial scandals of Enron and WorldCom. Exposing a culture of greed, widespread accounting fraud led these corporate giants into bankruptcy with the disastrous loss of investor confidence in the stock market.

Another impediment to America's international public relations campaign is how to mitigate her genocidal legacy towards her Indigenous tribes and nations, sovereigns referred to as Fourth-World countries. America's reply here is to overlook or somehow suppress contemporary violations of Indian tribal sovereignty and basic human rights. Without muffling the roar from the genocidal legacy or gagging the cries of the currently oppressed, America's "Indian problem" may offer ample fuel for the manifestos of terrorists, antiglobalists, and anti-Americanism abroad.

Although it appears a new manifest destiny is looming upon the horizon, it is beyond the scope of this article to address the complex task of how Indian Country will strike ahead towards prompt resolution of past and present injuries. This next step is best left to examination and discussion by tribal leadership, scholars in Native American studies, and those individuals or organizations who fight the daily court, bureaucratic, and congressional battles on behalf of tribal sovereignty. (4)


The American variant of the manifest destiny doctrine presumed that the United States was the "New Israel," a promised land destined by God to occupy all territory to the Pacific Ocean with Indians as obstacles. The doctrine was a modern adaptation of a Christian biblical interpretation that was used to justify the Crusades. (5) The Spanish and Portuguese modified the doctrine in the sixteenth century to legitimize their conquest of South America by punishing "satanic" natives while extracting the region's mineral wealth. (6)

In the mid-1600s, the English Puritans in Connecticut relied on the hope of promised land to possess Pequot and Niantic tribal lands by annihilating over three thousand "heathens." (7) The Puritans relied on the Augustinian interpretation that Man "fell from grace" and was then driven from Eden into a corrupted, natural world infected by sin. America mirrored this corrupt natural world, and the vile wilderness was infested with Indian savages whose ignorance of Christ led to devil worship. (8)

In the late 1660s political thinker John Locke, a proponent of democratic principles, argued in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding that even the "ancient savage Americans ... whose natural Endowments and Provisions ... come no way short of those of the most flourishing and polite Nations," could be civilized. Reliance on Locke's contention appears as an undercurrent in the 1776 Declaration of Independence, which suggested that American's duty was to civilize these Indians. The Founding Fathers therefore planted the seeds of forced assimilation into America's democratic heritage: "[against American colonists, the King] excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and endeavored to bring the inhabitants of our frontier, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions." (9) Also in 1776, Thomas Jefferson proposed images of the "Promised Land" for the new nation's Great Seal that included a representation of the Israelites being led into the wilderness by the pillar of fire. In Jefferson's second inaugural address in 1805 he recalled upon these images of America as the Promised Land: "I shall need ... the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all necessities and comforts of life." (l0)

With the seeds of manifest destiny rooted in our political soil, it is unsurprising that the treaty and commerce clauses of the U.S. Constitution governing Indian affairs were left, in James Madison's words, "obscure and contradictory." (11) As a result, "nothing in either of these clauses or in any provision of the U.S. Constitution emphatically declares that the federal government has any obligation to protect tribes or even individual Indians from the federal government." (12) Scholars in Indian affairs have concluded that the "Constitution itself is the greatest barrier Indians face in dealing with the United States." (13)


Most scholars agree that manifest destiny ranks high among those reasons that displaced any hope of benevolent federal Indian policies in the nineteenth century and facilitated policies of land theft, genocide, and ethnocide. However, much attention has focused on other reasons for the historical inconsistency in federal Indian policy. (14) Some have argued that the doctrine of separation of powers has had a major impact because it leaves "no individual branch of either the state or federal government to actually represent the whole functioning political entity" to direct Indian policy. (15) The result is fragmented jurisdiction with competing policy agendas and converging influences that crosscut one another in "vicious and unpredictable ways." (16)

However, efforts to centralize or nationalize Indian policy remain controversial because a monolithic, cohesive policy forces the assimilation and marginalization of over five hundred tribal differences in culture, reservation demographics, resources, and locations. (17) These efforts have only elevated the new internal problem of political fragmentation or factionalism, "which appears to be eroding the collective nature of a number of tribes." (18)

Nevertheless, consensus is attainable on how the historical ebbs and tides of various federal Indian policies generally coincide with dramatic shifts in certain American foreign policies, specifically, those policies arising during (or in the aftermath of) major wars or major armed conflicts. Within these parameters a limited "warfare foreign policy model" may be coined, and some useful lessons can be drawn from such a model by offering a reasonable measure of stability and predictability to various federal Indian policies.

Scholars do acknowledge that the undulating and unpredictable nature of history has influenced federal Indian policy, however, some analyses become mired in the complex idiosyncrasies of how different individuals and administrations shaped, or attempted to shape, policy. (19) Because this analysis may be vulnerable to a narrow focus on unique players and circumstances, the proposed foreign policy model may offer a complementary adjunct. (20) To test this model a historical survey is offered of various federal Indian policies juxtaposed with American foreign policies amid times of war or military conflicts. (21)

The Revolutionary War: Nation-to-Nation

Despite a manifest destiny woven into America's political and legal fabric, the United States, during its fragile formative years, offered a nation-to-nation path for Indian policy, based upon the "principles of humanity and honorable intentions." However, adherence to humanitarian principles did at times prove disingenuous and difficult to sustain. (22)

For a brief period after the 1783 Treaty of Paris, the fragile new republic generally abandoned its desire for Indian soil and conquest. This can be attributed to America's "concern over negative world opinion of the new republic," freshly proclaiming freedom from a superior and unjust oppressor. (23) Secondly, the exhausted young republic's citizenry and treasury were incapable of protracted Indian warfare, particularly when Great Britain now sought Indian allies by proclaiming support for Indigenous peoples' land rights. (24)

Therefore, the concerns of a new republic victorious from its just war of rebellion, generally tempered its federal Indian policies, even after Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase in 1803, although there were some glaring exceptions. (25)

Nevertheless, the negotiation and ratification of Indian treaties, along with the 1793 Non-Intercourse Act forbidding sale of Indian lands without congressional consent, gave some tribes the political status of separate nations exercising inherent sovereign powers. (26) This direction in federal policy sidestepped legal handicaps with an extra-constitutional approach recognizing the tribes' existence as sovereigns predating the Constitution. (27)

Therefore, in the end it was not the professed principles of humanity and honorable intentions that shaped America's early Indian policy but pragmatic concerns. Moreover, this era cemented America's preoccupation with its positive self-image abroad as a land of liberty, true civilization, and democracy. (28)

The War of 1812, and the Mexican-American War: Removal and Reservations

The 1814 Treaty of Ghent finally disposed of Great Britain's menace to America's western expansion, while laying the foundation for legal doctrines stripping tribes of their sovereign nation status. The War of 1812 was not merely a war for survival against England but a war for the expansion of a new nation into Florida, Canada, and Indian territory. (29) Due to white territorial expansion during the War of 1812, tribal defensive wars of survival began under Tecumseh's leadership, as well as the Black Hawk and Creek Wars. (30)

Under the Treaty of Ghent, the United States refused to recognize the rights of tribes as independent nations and agreed only to a compromise recognizing the rights and possessions of tribes under treaties ratified by 1811.

In 1810, with the door to manifest destiny opening, Congress enacted the Civilization Act making "provision for the civilization of the Indian Tribes adjoining the frontier settlements." (31) Distorting the twenty-five-year-old principles of humanity and honorable intentions, the basis for this change in federal Indian policy was also called an "act of humanity." (32)

In 1822, under the imperialist Monroe Doctrine, Europe was warned that the United States was now the protector of all lands in the western hemisphere. The Supreme Court quickly provided the underpinnings of this doctrine in Johnson v. McIntosh. (33) Still a cornerstone of federal Indian law, McIntosh jettisoned the sovereign nation status of tribes and their aboriginal land titles for the Eurocentric "doctrine of discovery" that reduced tribes from landowners to occupants without legal title. (34) Then in the 1830s under the Cherokee Nation cases, tribes were relegated from foreign nations to mere "domestic, dependent nations." These cases created the repressive and condescending "ward-trustee" policy with the United States as the benevolent guardian acting as an agent governing the incompetent tribes. This policy proved morally and legally untenable for both parties: it was alien and hostile to tribal traditions of communal self-sufficiency and American bedrock principles of individual liberty and equality. (35)

Shortly thereafter, removal treaties began forcing tribes west across the Mississippi River to Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. By 1834, with the tenacious support of the infamous Indian fighter, President Andrew Jackson, America cleared most of the eastern states of Indian tribes. Christian evangelicals under the Second Great Awakening now had territorial license to preach themes such as "America, The New Israel." (36) However, amid the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation on its "Trail of Tears," faint public rumblings suggested America's unbridled destiny for expansion might be its undoing:
   It is full time that we should lay on ourselves serious, resolute
   restraint. Possessed of a domain, vast enough for the growth of
   ages, it is time for us to stop in the career of acquisitions and
   conquest. Already endangered by our greatness, we cannot advance
   without imminent peril to our institutions, union, prosperity,
   virtue, and peace.... The Indians have melted away before the
   White man, and the mixed race of Mexico must melt before the
   Anglo-Saxon.... We boast of the progress of society [but this]
   consists in the substitution of reason and moral principle
   for the sway of brute force.... We talk of accomplishing our
   destiny. (37)

Scholars refer to the period from the War of 1812 to the 1840s as the Jacksonian Tradition. (38) The Jacksonian era is instructive because it reinvigorated the nascent doctrine of manifest destiny. Recently the foreign affairs scholar Walter Mead argued that America's key to continued success in international affairs is returning to our national traditions under a "Jacksonian code of honor." (39) Mead defined this tradition as "less an intellectual or political movement than it is an expression of the social, cultural, and religious values of a large portion of the American public.... Jacksonian America is a folk community with a strong sense of common values, and common destiny." (40)

One commentator on Mead's theory asked whether President George W. Bush is a Jacksonian--now that he is pursuing his War on Terrorism. (41) Mead's argument is not isolated, but follows a recent theory from acclaimed Jacksonian historian Robert Remini in Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars. (42) Remini contends that Jackson's Indian removal policy was prompted by the expediencies of national security to protect the southern border amid English and Spanish machinations and southern tribes' shifting loyalties. Remini argues that Jackson firmly believed separating Indians and whites was the only way to ensure the survival of tribal cultures, otherwise "they certainly would have been wholly exterminated had they remained in place." (43)

Lastly, the Mexican-American War brought into fruition the doctrine of manifest destiny. The United States acquired Texas in 1846 and believed it had acquired ownership from Mexico over the southwest under the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Yet Mexico for years had been fighting with the Apache and Navajo for control over their tribal homelands guaranteed from prior Spanish treaties. (44) However, the expansionist juggernaut of manifest destiny cared little for the rule of law.

On the eve of the Mexican-American War in 1845 in the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, John Louis Sullivan, a journalist and diplomat, penned the infamous passage that even today finds an echo in President Bush's 2002 State of the Union Address: "Our manifest destiny is to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted to us." (45)

Later picking up on Sullivan's bravado was the expansionist champion, Senator Benton of Missouri, who claimed that war was the "religious execution of our country's glorious mission, under the direction of Divine Providence, to civilize and christianize, and raise up from anarchy and degradation, a most ignorant, indolent, and wicked unhappy people." (46)

This new expanse of territory and free-roaming Indigenous tribes gave the federal government an opportunity for social experimentation by using the reservations as laboratories for civilizing Indians. By the mid-1850s the removal policy had ended and was removed from the War Department to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the new Department of the Interior (DOI). (47)

American Civil War: Coercive Assimilation

The Civil War does not technically fit within the rubric of foreign affairs, although the parallels are sufficient for purposes here, considering that the Confederacy had both formally seceded from the United States and sought foreign alliances.

The Civil War impacted federal Indian policies in several ways. The arduous Reconstruction Period, with its forced assimilation of former Confederate States, had hardened the country's attitude against further notions of "separateness" by Indian Nations with their shifting loyalties. Domestication of Indigenous peoples began in 1871 when Congress provided that no further tribes will be recognized as independent nations with whom the United States could make treaties.

Secondly, amid the high human and material costs of the Civil War, the United States could ill afford the constant wars with Indian tribes that had characterized the earlier part of the century. In 1869 President Grant initiated his peace policy using missionaries and churches to direct Indian education and to quell interracial violence on the frontier. America then rushed into treaties with various tribes, such as the 1863 Tabeguache Treaty with the Ute tribes. Others include Grant's Arizona peace commission with the powerful Chiricahua Apache Chief Cochise after American defeats during 1861-63, the 1867 Medicine Lodge Treaty after the Cheyenne-Arapaho War, and the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty with the Sioux Nation after the 1866-68 Powder River War. (48) Even recently in 1980 the Supreme Court recognized the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty as "the only instance in the history of the United States where the Government has gone to war and afterwards negotiated a peace conceding everything demanded by the enemy and exacting nothing in return." (49)

Some scholars argue that such treaties and early Indian military triumphs during the Civil War may have lulled some tribes into believing that warfare with white armies would be a viable option to repeated treaty violations. (50) Additionally in 1861 the United States, in a poorly conceived decision, stopped payment of certain tribal annuities by citing security concerns over transferring money to Indian Territory. In response, some tribes believed no other choice existed but to fight knowing they had little chance of winning. Also during this time the United States abandoned many western forts, refused to commit substantial manpower to quell Indian attacks, while the new Confederate states promised money and sovereignty to tribes. These conditions, no doubt, offered tribes oppressed by the United States an opportune moment to defend their homelands and sovereignty. (51)

Finally, with the tribes' loss of nation status in 1871, and their subsequent military defeats hastened by the military's "starve or sign" campaign, the federal policy of assimilation turned coercive. Most observers agree that the single most devastating federal policy adopted during this period was the enactment of the 1887 General Allotment Act, as amended through 1910. The purpose of allotment was to make Indians conform to the social and economic structure of white America by replacing their traditional communal economic base with private property. Sales and lease profits were then federally managed as trust funds in Individual Indian Money accounts (IIM). (52) The next phase was an intensified indoctrination with boarding schools and regulation of every aspect of tribal social life. (53)

The allotment policies were the final solution to "kill the Indian but save the man" by eliminating his culture and political allegiance as part of the great American melting pot. (54) In the words of manifest destiny's darling, President Theodore Roosevelt, allotment was "a mighty pulverizing engine to break up the tribal mass." (55)

Spanish-American War: Reform Eludes the Vanishing Indian

After imposing manifest destiny on America's Indigenous peoples, the nation's imperialist zeal was unleashed after the sinking of the battleship USS Maine by alleged Spanish terrorists in Cuba. America's conquests quickly extended to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Philippines, Hawaii, Wake Island, and Guam.

Manifest destiny then received a boost under the 1904 Roosevelt Corollary. Whereas the 1823 Monroe Doctrine warned Europeans to stay out of the western hemisphere, the corollary added that the United States had the right to intervene on behalf of American republics threatened with seizure or intervention by European powers. Under the altruistic guise of protecting these weaker American republics from unfair international trade deals, the United States gave itself free reign to extend market capitalism to these Third-World nations. (56)

The Spanish-American War represented the pinnacle of manifest destiny and the birth of the American cultural myth of "the vanishing Indian." Illustrative were the many professional photographers and anthropologists hastily scurrying about the reservations compiling images and studying the last of the noble savages dressed in full regalia at rehearsed mock rituals. These included the photographer Edward Curtis, painter Frederic Remington, and employees of the new Bureau of American Ethnology. With the help of these "insidious agents of imperialism" who reveled in America's "rough-hewn racist Darwinism," public perceptions became cemented to fabled images of vanishing Indians. (57) Over time this produced a "social avoidance mechanism" allowing whites to rationalize away their legacy of Indian conquest--a myth spawning a political climate that even today prevents whites from directly confronting their colonialist attitudes and redressing modern Indian problems. (58)

It was also at the end of the nineteenth century that many American sports teams began to adopt Indian mascots. Scholars find that world history is replete with conquering societies forging new cultures with similar rituals by symbolically absorbing the heroes of their vanquished foes. Of course invoking fierce, once-great Indian warriors as sports team mascots does on some unconscious level "honor" the Indian, but this
   allows white America to simultaneously enact its grief for and
   consecrate the memory of the Indian. It is a celebration of the
   Indian sacrifice in the name of imperial progress according to
   the divine plan of Manifest Destiny ... a celebration of imperial
   power, that ritually incorporates the tragic figure ... into the
   imagined community of the United States [allowing white America in
   the process] to psychologically and sympathetically join with the
   Indian in the formation of a shared American consciousness
   .... [however] it is not a liberating ritual, [but an] oblique
   relation of power. (emphasis added) (59)

The third impact from America's reckless manifest destiny after the Spanish-American War was its domestic backlash--the anti-imperialist movement, and its corollary of progressive social programs at home, called the "Age of Reform." American conservatives who heralded expanding capitalist markets at any cost, such as President Roosevelt, eventually conceded that a progressive agenda was necessary. Whereas some Roosevelt scholars believe he developed a "Darwinian philosophy that was harsh, yet wholly altruistic," most historians believe his popular progressive conservatism was simply a pragmatic response to fend off the foreign influence of socialist, anarchist, and radical trade movements in America. (60)

The reform movement did generate some Indian activism against allotment policies. This included fierce resistance by the Creek, Choctaw, and Cherokee nations. Despite swift retaliation by the United States Army, the seeds for reform had been planted. The first inter-tribal collective political action before Congress was initiated and called the Four Mothers Society, as were pan-Indian organizations, such as the Society of American Indians in 1911 the and Alaskan Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood in 1912. Allying these efforts was the publicity of the multi-gifted Indian athlete Jim Thorpe, a 1912 Stockholm Olympian and professional baseball and football player. Nevertheless, these fledgling organizations were largely ineffective against the prevailing public mood to pursue assimilation policies. (61)

Fourthly, "yellow journalism" became an influential tool to sell government expansionist polices to the public. To gain readership, American newspapers sent correspondents to exaggerate and sensationalize the reports of Spanish atrocities against the native Cubans. The government exploited the zealous media to coax public support for a war against Spain after a dubious, and now debunked, theory of a terrorist bombing of the USS Maine. (63) The government also used the media to quell domestic dissent towards it war campaign against Spain.

The "Age of Reform" failed to trickle down to benefit the plight of Indigenous peoples because America remained under the potent spell of manifest destiny--now with its dogma of the vanishing Indians, except as mascots, nearly absorbed into the American mainstream.

World War I: Limited Reform under the Indian Reorganization Act

World War I brought the rise of Russian communism and President Woodrow Wilson's foreign policy variation on the theme of manifest destiny. Wilsonian advocates believed they had discredited the simplistic Jacksonian tradition by emphasizing a "global village" concept of a multicultural world with the universal interdependence of nations. (63)

Walter Mead credits Wilsonianism, dubbed "liberal internationalism," with having prompted both Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan to push for human rights in the Soviet Union. (64) A logical extension of an idealistic Wilsonian tradition of multiculturalism appears receptive to increased tribal sovereignty-racial and ethnic differences are seen "as identities that are unmeltable ... and morally preferable to the [dominant] national identity." (65) Although the fundamental vision of the progressive Wilsonian legacy is accepted, its precise scope and historical impact remain controversial. (66) Aside from arcane foreign policy hair-splitting, federal Indian policies of "self-determination and self-governance" did make some gains during Carter's presidency and President Reagan's first term. (67)

Shortly after World War I the Wilsonian tradition converged with the ominous rise of Soviet communism to reinvigorate the reformist progressive movement. In the 1920s several pan-Indian groups, along with the All Pueblo Council in 1922, began to see some limited political successes. (68) Also several BIA socioeconomic studies, such as the notable Meriam Report, were initiated. These studies began to reveal the miserable failure of the allotment policies by showing deplorable living conditions on reservations. Evidence from these reports led to some positive changes in federal Indian policy, such as limited tribal self-rule under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. For those tribes adopting tribal self-rule, the act ended the allotment policy.

World War II and the Cold War: Tribal Termination

From 1945 to 1966, called the "barren years," the most profound influences on federal Indian policy were the perceptions and conditions created by the experiences of World War II. (69) The world witnessed a massive assault on European colonialism that liberated much of Africa, Indochina, and India. (70)

Upon reaching its new status as world super power after World War II, it is understandable that America wished to avoid provoking the ire of anticolonialist world opinion abroad, and, consequently, it offered some redress to adverse colonial impacts on its Indigenous peoples. Congress enacted the Indian Claims Commission Act of 1946, which allowed tribal suits if they could prove government swindling in land transactions over the past century. Passage of this act is reminiscent of America's historical preoccupation with its positive self-image abroad, a trend beginning with its victory over British tyranny after the Revolutionary War. (71)

The act appeared as a major concession by the United States since it waived sovereign immunity from suits, the statute of limitations, and the precedent doctrine of res adjudicata. (72) Since America is a private property-based nation founded on capitalist pursuits, it was hoped the tribes would certainly understand that America meant well with a sacrificial offering of money to resolve past land thefts.

However, unlike many liberated colonies abroad now recognized as independent sovereigns after the war, the Indian Claims Act insulted tribal sovereignty and culture. First, the act failed to extend the equitable doctrine of ejectment that allows an aggrieved landowner to remove the unlawful occupier as a trespasser. Rather, the act left intact sovereign immunity exempting government trespassers from private citizen ejectment suits, leaving citizens only monetary damages. With the act limited to monetary damages, the law reduced tribal nation status to that of mere private citizens, such as after a public eminent domain "taking" of their backyards to build a highway.

The Indian Claims Act also adversely impacted tribal sovereignty by obliterating any preferred legal status various tribes held based upon the date of their treaty ratification. The act made no distinction in remedies for aggrieved tribes suing under nation-to-nation treaties ratified prior to the discovery doctrine, such as the Oneida, tribes under domestic-dependent nation treaties ratified prior 1871, such as the Sioux, or thereafter as tribes confined to "executive order" reservations, such as the Hopi. With apparently honorable intentions, Congress offered tribes renewal of their land theft claims through peaceful legal means. Yet because of Congress's condescending attitude toward the tribes' fundamental, unresolved sovereign status, the act really disrupted federal policy by relegating all tribes to the same political status--albeit a status where tribes could never sue on a nation-to-nation basis. (73)

What is instructive here is that when America witnessed post-World War II decolonialism abroad and the advent of competing communist ideals, America had to sell its moral image by compensating its colonized Indigenous peoples. But the vestiges of manifest destiny, when joined with America's emergence as the global power that defeated immoral totalitarianism, left America uninterested in extending any sovereign powers to its own tribal nations.

Several years after the 1946 Indian Claims Act, when the Red Scare threat of communism and the Cold War loomed, the mood in Washington Dc turned to the idea that "communal" reservations and trusteeship were un-American. The genuine but misguided focus of government studies now shifted to reducing federal involvement to "free" Indian people from government control by eliminating those laws setting them apart from other citizens. As America sought ways to sell a morally superior image against the spread of communism abroad, politicians became swept up with the 1948 integration of African Americans into the armed services and Truman's 1950s civil rights proposals. Congress even lauded its termination legislation as a "great liberating force," comparable to the slaves' 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. (74)

Public Law 280 was the legislation that implemented the termination program outlined in a 1953 House Concurrent Resolution. From 1948 to 1957, sixty-one tribes were terminated, tribal members faced wholesale urban relocation, and tribes lost about 3.3 million acres. (75) America engaged in a new round of social engineering, ignoring tribal sovereignty and lumping Indians into another easily manageable category of domestic racial minorities.

The lesson here is that the policies to integrate the military with African Americans and the termination of many tribes were primarily motivated by America's preoccupation to advertise its image abroad as the land of equality and liberty--a land on an inexorable march towards the true democratic civilization. But this dangerous trend in federal Indian policy harkened back one hundred years to the premier days of manifest destiny. (76)

Vietnam: Tribal Self-Determination and Self-Governance

Vine Deloria Jr., in God is Red: A Native View of Religion, eloquently juxtaposed American claims of moral superiority during the post-World War II Nuremberg trials and during the Cold War, with the American public's disenchantment over the Vietnam conflict. It was thus inevitable that America's hubris of Christian equality and moral idealism abroad would prove untenable at home with its unequal treatment of African Americans and dispossessed Indians. This paradox awakened the Civil Rights movement and a spirited renaissance in American Indian culture and sovereignty. (77)

Deloria credited Martin Luther King Jr. with linking Vietnam to American Domestic problems and starting America on a painful intellectual journey. By questioning America's suspect application of Christian values at home, King found that America was not ready to be the guardian against evil movements abroad. American Indians distinguished their own issues from the African American community, rediscovering their own culture and preserving their tribal identities.

Under growing Indian activism, Congress passed the Indian Civil Rights Act in 1968. Two years later President Nixon called upon Congress to repudiate the termination policy, then declared that tribal self-determination would be the goal of his administration. Congress responded by enacting a series of laws to improve tribal culture, education, and sovereignty, including restoring federal recognition to various "terminated" tribes. (78)

However, by the early 1980s Indian political successes and judicial victories met with a backlash from those disaffected white organizations and western state politicians who preferred the fat times under the "vanishing Indian" status quo. The 1988 Indian Gaming Regulation Act further rallied states to argue tribal infringement upon states' sovereign rights to regulate their internal affairs. Despite legislation to repatriate Indian cultural artifacts, protect sacred sites, provide housing assistance, and aid tribal economic development, public backlash led to Supreme Court decisions unfavorable to Indian sovereignty.

These unfavorable judicial decisions can be traced to the vague and unresolved legal status of the tribes in the U.S. Constitution and its progeny of legal doctrines favoring state sovereignty over tribal sovereignty. This judicial trend has prompted scholars to conclude that the court is "threatening to unravel the political and economic improvements tribal governments have made" since the termination era. (79)

Not surprisingly during this time, complacency in federal Indian policy permitted the trust fund accounting mess to boil over into both judicial and congressional outrage. (80)In October 2001, in a sudden face-saving move, the poi proposed a trust fund agency separate from the Bureau of Indian Affairs called the Bureau of Indian Trust Asset Management. This rash move ignored presidential mandates that policies impacting tribes must rely on agency-tribal consultations. Secretary Norton reflected the patronizing manifest destiny approach to federal Indian policy in that she "could not understand" Indians' objections since the tribes should be applauding a dedicated trust fund agency separated from red tape and mismanagement. The DOI chose to ignore past concerns that the BIA still offered tribes a modicum of centralization amid the increasingly complex world of decentralized and fragmented multi-agency approaches that often breed conflicting agendas and stalemate. (81)

Thirdly, the federal government's trust fund complacency has spread, causing it to overlook a growing health care crisis prompting the Plains Tribal leaders at Billings, Montana, to call for a "Marshall Plan" to avert disaster in January 2002. (82)

September 11: A New Manifest Destiny

The national conversation after September 11, including intellectual discourse, TV, and print media, has generally indicated conservative rhetoric pining for a nostalgic return to the traditions and attitudes of manifest destiny. To adequately cover these trends within the limitations of this article, a survey approach is used without providing extensive individualized analyses.

Immediately after September 11, self-righteous conservatives, such as popular tele-evangelist Reverend Jerry Falwell and radio talk shows, preached this as a divine punishment for America's decadent and pagan lifestyle due to its secular decline from Christianity. Reverend Falwell later announced that President Bush supported mobilization of Falwell's "Christian Call to Action," a political action campaign to press aggressively for a conservative, family-oriented social agenda before Congress and the states. (83) Interestingly, a 2002 study found that there was an acceleration in funding by philanthropic foundations supporting evangelical scholarship over the last decade. (84)

Some congressmen have taken the lead to proclaim that "America is no longer great" because religion went to sleep forty years ago, so we must seek forgiveness and "return to a Christian nation." (85) One widely-circulated chain e-mail on the Internet after September n called this a "Christian wake-up call" warning nonbelievers and pagan Native Americans that "this is a Christian nation." (86) In mid-November eight thousand religious scholars, including the Academy of Religion and Society and the Society of Biblical Literature, gathered in Denver and announced that part of their agenda was to "clarify and help understand" the September 11 tragedy. (87) Lastly, conservative political commentators became furious with some liberal leaders blaming September 11 on secular "sins of slavery, and dispossession and killing of Native Americans." (88)

On the cultural front, the 26 October 2001 PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer segment, "Poetry as Prophecy," had San Francisco's poet laureate Lawrence Ferlinghetti recite his September n tribute. Ferlinghetti ends his poem asking Americans, "can we not still see our manifest destiny?"

Pop culture is also witnessing a "retro-chic" or nostalgia trend in fashion, furniture, automobiles, '60's hair styles and eyeglasses--even fad sales in antique replicas throwing back to the 1930s and '40s with old wooden phonographs, clocks, phones, radios, and toasters! The nostalgic trend indicates a yearning for safety and security in the wake of the uncertainty and anxiety after September 11. (89) It remains undecided whether pop nostalgia is a symptom of a broader conservative drift in society--a society unreceptive to a critical look backwards at American oppression of Indigenous peoples.

More disturbing is the post-September 11 essay "The West's Anti-Westernism," appearing in the "The Survival of Culture" series in The New Criterion, the scholarly publication of the Foundation for Cultural Review. Author Mark Steyn condemned the congressional resolution in November 2001 inaugurating "Native American Month" as relying on a bogus revisionist theory of American history. Steyn found the resolution appalling in its claim that the Founding Fathers used the Iroquois Confederation's principles of freedom of speech and separation of powers as a blueprint for the U.S. Constitution. Using this example, among others, he argues that America is inventing an illusion of multiculturalism to make amends for its cultural imperialism over its Indian tribes. By contending that "no civilized society legislates retrospectively," Steyn argues that the only real issue is whether the American Indian victims will accept a "post-dated check" for cultural genocide. The article ends by finding a cultural paradox that America must toss aside: the United States "is the most successful culture in history, [but] no other culture works so hard to deny its achievements and heritage." (90)

Consistent with this new conservative rhetoric, more political and foreign affairs experts now argue a nostalgic return to America's glory days by invoking the Andrew Jackson and Lincoln, and even the "total war" doctrine of the Civil War's Union hero General Sherman. (91) But to America's Southerners and Native Americans, Sherman, and his "war is hell" tactics, was the scourge of the Old South. Sherman, who in 1869 became commander of the army, fought western tribes with a coercive "starve or sell" campaign, first effectively used against the Sioux Nation to coercively negotiate for control of the Black Hills. (92) Sherman is famous for the racist aphorism, "the only good Indian is a dead Indian," a phrase later repeated in World War II by General McArthur regarding dead Japanese soldiers. (93)

Even history books on the New York Times bestseller's list show a yearning for the country's romantic idealism of bygone heroes, such as David McCullough's John Adams, and Edmund Morris's Theodore Rex. A 7 July 2002 New York Times Book Review article entitled "Their Country 'Tis of Them: Three Patriotic Sages Examine The Elephant And Give Their Very Different Accounts Of It," is very informative. (94) Of the three books reviewed, most evocative of manifest destiny is conservative William Bennet's Why We Fight: Moral Clarity and the War on Terrorism. Lind urges that Bennet "should not go unchallenged" when claiming an ethno-religious American nationalism based upon a pseudo-legal status as a "chosen people." (95)

As part of the populist trend, Michael Barone, a conservative writer for U.S. News & World Report, published a post-September 11 book, The New Americans: How the Melting Pot Can Work Again, in which he forcefully argues that today's celebration of diversity will end because multiculturalism in America will be defeated. (96) Finally, there is the alarming and extremist social commentary of Patrick Buchanan, who laments America's lost white Christian destiny in The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasion Imperil Our Country. (97) The public mainstream might easily dismiss Buchanan's racist, xenophobic proposition that America must close its borders because its special destiny is threatened by hordes of inferior, nonwhite immigrants. But informed intellectuals cannot dismiss the unusual national attention Buchanan's book captured among the top ten national bestsellers and his repeated TV appearances on network and cable talk-show circuits.

Less cynical after September 11 are a few social commentaries that rummage through America's past glories to repackage "manifest destiny" into a kinder, gentler doctrine to continue political and cultural expansion abroad. One commentator repels charges of America the "hyper-power" and antiglobalization manifestos with a "soft-power" approach--an imperialism "of the heart" relying on the United States as the hope of humanity and moral power that is "the deepest source of America's strength from the very beginning." 9s As an emblem to the world, the manifest destiny of the twenty-first century will involve "a great battle between the [American] forces of creative destruction and [the forces] of destructive preservation." (99)

Another example of social commentary offering a "soft power" version of manifest destiny is Jacob Needleman's The American Soul, Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders. (100) Needleman, a bestselling author and Stanford professor of philosophy and religion, urges Americans to rediscover the timeless truths hidden in the Founders' vision of the American nation. However, Needleman offers another patronizing Christian stereotype of American Indians when characterizing the slaughter of these "Angels of Eden" as a betrayal of American ideals. According to Needleman, who marginalizes Indian ideals by assimilating them into the Founders' vision, only believes that America's "recompense for this crime [is for us] to continue their work and essence of their culture." (101)

A few post-September n social commentaries appear supportive of the multicultural world under Wilsonian traditions rather than returning to the America-centered unilateralism of Jacksonian traditions. (102) An insightful editorial in The Nation by Edward Hoagland, writer of seventeen books on Third-World conditions, entitled "1776 and All That," argues that the
   country is riven and ailing, with a guns-plus-butter nuttiness in
   some of its government echelons ... [yet with al premonition that
   our righteous confidence might have served us just a bit too well.
   We never agonized a lot about killing off the Indians, or our
   slaving history, once that was over.... [Without an honest review
   of America's failings] national self-absorption ... may give
   capitalism a bad name. (emphasis added) (103)

However, many foreign affairs experts post-September 11, urge rejection of a Wilsonian multicultural status quo, arguing a return to the era of "a sober mindset that is unabashedly patriotic and America-centered." (104) The federal government's confirmation of a return to a conservative unilateralism abroad appeared in President Bush's 2002 State of the Union Address with America's solitary pronouncement of its campaign against the "axis of evil." This was followed by Vice President Cheney's speech to the Council on Foreign Relations declaring that America would not be dissuaded by international criticism from pursuing its War on Terrorism against the axis of evil. (105)

History teaches that many federal Indian policies remain vulnerable to both the expedience of national security interests and America's preoccupation with selling a positive national image abroad--whether by brute force, multilateralism, or soft power. History shows that these influences often marginalize the disparate claims of tribal governments over the singular American majority. These trends strongly suggest that America's War on Terrorism will evolve to rely on these remnants of manifest destiny by returning to an age of "retrospective unilateralism" under a Jacksonian "code of honor" forged with a strong sense of patriotism, common values, and common destiny. No longer geographically limited by territory under the manifest destiny of old, the aftermath of September 11 shows the immortality of this doctrine--revised to seek political and cultural conquests overseas by expanding democratic values and free markets.

Appropriate here is Ralph Waldo Emerson's famous 1836 essay of social criticism, Nature. Emerson's revolutionary attitude that "our age is retrospective," chided American cultural leaders of his day for institutionalizing the ideas of earlier generations and for failing to live with their freshness of spirit and openness to new ideas. (106)

The vigorous national debate over America's new sacred-secular destiny should not blunt the struggles, nor reverse the gains made, toward tribal sovereignty. As noted earlier, the exhaustive scope of this article cannot realistically address the complex next step of how Indian Country will respond. The direction of future debate however, may be stimulated by offering several preliminary observations.

First, United Nations' forums and pan-Indian organizations might force upon the current public debate a more critical look at the United States government's oppression of Third-World countries, with emphasis on gross injustices still inflicted upon Fourth-World Indigenous peoples. An analogy from the economic context is the antiglobalization movement, with its World Social Forum, that has injected into the international debate a compelling case that can no longer be ignored by the elitist World Economic Forum. The antiglobalists persuasively argue that powerful Western democracies still rely on archaic colonialist practices to protect corrupt monopolies and corporations at the expense of the global poor. (107)

Critical attention might also be focused on international comparisons among Indigenous laws to highlight the colonialist foundations of American legal doctrines still contaminating modern federal Indian law, for example, the 1982 Canadian Constitutional amendments that affirmed both aboriginal and treaty rights. In 1997 these amendments were given judicial teeth in Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, where the Canadian Supreme Court held that aboriginal title is inherent and its existence constitutionally entrenched as the "supreme law of the land." (108)

In addition to Native American scholarship, other forums exist to inject into mainstream American debate a more critical and honest look at the country's repression of its Indigenous peoples. These include Indigenous and intertribal organizations, such as the National Congress of American Indians, Native American Rights Fund, National Indian Education Association, regional tribal affiliations, and coalitions or educational alliances. Other resources are the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Peoples, or the impending National Museum of the American Indian built next to the U.S. Capitol offering a powerful public information tool.

Other opportunities exist to rally public support. First, the seventh annual Conversation on Race, Ethnicity, and Culture, sponsored by the National Conference for Community and Justice, was held on 15 January 2002, with a post-September 11 agenda. One panelist was Jacqueline Johnson, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, who reiterated comments made earlier at the 8 September 2001, United Nations Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, that "we need to listen to Indigenous peoples." (109) Secondly, as early-twentieth-century Indian activists drew upon Jim Thorpe's publicity, Native Americans today have presidential medals awarded (albeit belatedly) to the Navajo Code Talkers for heroism during World War II. While dozens of other tribal code talkers, serving during both World War I and World War II, remain ignored, these medals are an important Symbol. (110)

Americans interested in Indigenous issues and Indigenous peoples are still wading through the intense public debate, propaganda, and patriotic fervor arising from September 11 and the War on Terrorism. Emerging from the flurry of public and intellectual discourse appears a united, patriotic America marching against terrorism under its evolving "virtual state religion." Yet, a new manifest destiny should not dissolve into this new melting pot the unresolved rights to tribal sovereignty, nor the unanswered injustices upon Indigenous peoples at home. The primary intent of this article is to focus attention on warning signs from those post-September 11 American attitudes with untoward impacts on federal Indian policy. Nevertheless, beyond a mere watchful eye of this disturbing trend, it is suggested that the current public discourse embrace a critical and honest look at the United States government's oppression of its own Indigenous peoples.


The idea for this article derives from a paper entitled "September 11th and the New Manifest Destiny: Protecting American Indian Sovereignty," presented by the author at the annual 2002 National Conference of the National Association of Native American Studies and affiliates.

(1.) Elizabeth Becker, "Bush Security Proposal Calls for Major Overhaul," The Denver Post, 16 July 2002, sec. A, p. 14.

(2.) A list of overseas operations appear in a 27 February 2002, Associated Press wire dispatch, "Hundreds of United States Special Forces go to Ex-Soviet Georgia's Chechnya region." See Richard Cohen, "A Perilous Path to Iraq," The Denver Post, 28 July 2002, sec. v., p. 5. Reports that Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, predicted on a recent VBS show, "Wide Angle," that President Bush will go to war with Iraq early next year.

(3.) Alan Cowell, "Crony Capitalism Gets Hurled Back at U.S.," The Denver Post, 3 February 2002, sec. A, p. n. Cowell cites articles from The Straits Times of Singapore and Argentina's daily La Nacion. Also see Tony Smith, "Bush Anti-Terror Policies Targeted at Brazil Forum," The Denver Post, 4 February 2002, sec. A, p. n. Smith reports that antiglobalization activists convened the World Social Forum to counter business elite's World Economic Forum in New York, contending that President Bush is striving to stamp out dissent against U.S. policies in general, not just concerning terrorism, and that "we must all fight together against monopolies, against corporations, against the militarization of globalization." See also Tony Smith, "Impact of Patents on Poor Criticized," The Denver Post, 3 February 2002, sec A, p. 12. Smith states that the manifesto of the World Social Forum argues that the whole international system of patent, copyright, and trademark protection favors rich, industrialized nations and their corporations over the globe's poor.

(4.) See for example, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, Anti-Indianism in Modern America (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000, 153-54,178. Cook-Lynn argues that instead of a "Eurocentric ethnic studies" agenda, Native studies must refocus to "create a mechanism in defense of the Indigenous principles of tribal sovereignty and nationhood in democracies like the United States, with whom tribal nations signed solemn treaties."

(5.) See for example, Roy H. May, "Promised Land and Land Theft," and "Manifest Destiny: America the New Israel," in Joshua and the Promised Land (Cincinnati OH: General Board of Global Ministries, 1995). May discusses manifest destiny in historical context from the Crusades ending with contemporary issues.

(6.) Elsa To'mez, "Biblia y 500 anos" in Revista de interpretacion bibialatinoamerica 16 (1993): 12.

(7.) Sara Hunt, ed., The Illustrated Atlas of Native American History (Trenton NJ: Chartwell Books, 1999), 63-66. See also Joseph Gaer and Ben Siegal, The Puritan Heritage: American Roots in the Bible (New York: A Mentor Book/The New American Library, 1964). See The Holy Bible, King James Version (Nashville TN: National Publishing Co., 1978), 608. The biblical passage most relied upon by Christians to subjugate Indian nations was Psalm 2:8, "I shall give thee the heathen for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." Also see Robert Allen Warrior, "A Native American Perspective: Canaanites, Cowboys and Indians," in Voices From the Margin: Interpreting the Bible in the Third World, ed. R. S. Sugitharajah (Maryknoll VA: Orbis Books, 1991), 289, 291-92. Warrior discusses the biblical messages used as excuses for conquest and genocide. Also see Merrill Unger, Bible Dictionary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1985), 462, 525-26, 642. The word "heathen" is denoted generally in other Bible translations as the "nations" of unbelievers, while "your inheritance" is denoted generally as "promised land."

(8.) Clyde Holler, ed., The Black Elk Reader (Syracuse NY: University of Syracuse Press, 2000), 48. See also Vine Deloria Ir., "The Problem of Creation," in God Is Red (Golden co: Fulrcrum Publishing, 1992), 78-95. Deloria argues that the world's current ecological crisis stemmed from this problematic Christian creation story, as man's escape from a fallen nature provides a divine purpose to tame and dominate a savage wilderness.

(9.) The Declaration of Independence, paragraph 24 (U.S. 1776). See John R. Wunder, "`Merciless Indian Savages' and the Declaration of Independence," American Indian Law Review 25, no. 1 (2001): 65; and Vere Chappell, ed., Cambridge Companion to Locke (London: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 259. Chappell quotes from Locke's egalitarian principles in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1671).

(10.) See for example, Conrad Cherry, ed., God's New Israel: Religious Interpretation of American's Destiny (Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice Hall, 1971).

(11.) David E. Wilkins, American Indian Politics and the American Political System, (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), 65, quoting from Madison's Indian affairs argument in his Federalist Papers, no. 42, was to correct the Constitution's treaty and commerce clauses.

(12.) Ibid.

(13.) Ibid., citing Vine Deloria Jr., "The Application of the Constitution to American Indians," in Exiled in the Land of the Free, ed. Oren Lyons and John Mohawk (Santa Fe: Clear Light, 1992), 284.

(14.) David E. Wilkins, and Tsianina Lomanwaima, Uneven Ground: American Indian Sovereignty and Federal Law, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001), 10.

(15.) Wilkins, American Indian Politics, 65.

(16.) Ibid., 70; Nell J. Newton, "Making Indian Policy," Arkansas Law Review 46 (1993): 24, 64-65.

(17.) See for example, Newton, "Making Indian Policy," 64-74. Newton argues against the 1993 Congressional bills creating a Tribal Judicial Conference and National Indian Policy Center because they would elevate consistency and coherence as the highest goals at the expense of "sensitivity to contextualism" that returns power to tribal self-management.

(18.) Wilkins, American Indian Politics, 253.

(19.) Ibid., 104, 247. Wilkins states that the application of federal Indian policy and law oftentimes depends on the images and perceptions that the public, presidential administrations, Congress, and Supreme Court maintain. Indians are, therefore, "wholly at the mercy of forces and personalities beyond their control," quoting from Vine Deloria Jr., "American Indians," in Multiculturalism in the United States: A Comparative Guide to Acculturation and Ethnicity, ed. John D. Buenker and Lorman A. Ratner (New York: Greenwood, 1992), 34.

(20.) See for example, Wilkins and Lomawaima, Uneven Ground, 17; and Wilkins, American Indian Politics, 79-80, 187. These sources discuss the favorable influence of Senators McCain, Inouye and Nighthorse Campbell, as well as the collective tribal action defeating Senator Slade Gorton's 2000 reelection bid (labeled "the leader of the anti-Indian forces" in American politics). Also see Vine Deloria Jr., Custer Died For Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto, (1969; reprint, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988), 59-62. Deloria exposed the unrestrained and unchecked 1950s crusade of a few congressmen and senators who hastened the "termination policy."

(21.) Within the confines of this article, only a historical overview of various federal Indian polices can be reasonably attempted. It is beyond the scope of this article to test a warfare foreign policy model historically vis-a-vis an in-depth analysis of federal Indian policies within a certain era, such as a comprehensive analysis of present-day policies.

(22.) Wilkins and Lomawaima, Uneven Ground, 36-40. During the fledgling American early years, the central government applied a "restrictive discovery doctrine," since it keenly wished to maintain peace with tribal nations and to assure that their territorial rights and boundaries would be respected, lest the tribes align with Spain or Great Britain.

(23.) Wilkins and Lomawaima, Uneven Ground, 40. "Concerns over negative world opinion of the new republic," among others reasons, reinforced the United States' opinion that Indian policy "should operate from principles of humanity and honorable intentions--not conquest."

(24.) Ibid., 39-40.

(25.) In 1783 George Washington made an empty promise to the Oneida that their heroic contributions to the Continental Army would be forever remembered, with assurances of sovereignty and land rights respected. Despite the land theft "feeding frenzy," nothing was done to compensate the Haudenosaunee until the 1795 Treaty of Canadaignua (which New York State promptly ignored). See http://www.dickshovel .com/FirstNation/html (Iroquois tribal history). See Wilkins, American Indian Politics, 84 (quoting a speech by Seneca Indian leaders to George Washington in December 1790 on behalf of the Six Nations expressing respect but concern over the United States' lack of treaty enforcement). And see generally Laurence Hauptman, Conspiracy of Interest: Iroquois Dispossession and the Rise of New York State (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001).

(26.) See for example, County of Oneida v. Oneida Indian Nation, 470 U.S. 226 (1985). Damages were awarded to the Oneida Nation after finding the sale of over five million acres of tribal land in 1795 to New York State violated the Non-Intercourse Act of 1793.

(27.) Wilkins and Lomawaima, Uneven Ground, 37-41, discusses U.S. recognition of Indian title and confirmation of Indigenous land rights on American Indian treaties. See Robert Clinton, "Nations within a Nation: The Evolution of Tribal Immunity," American Indian Law Review 24, no. 1 (2000): 99, 103-5.

(28.) See for example, Robert Clinton, "Redressing the Legacy of Conquest: A Vision Quest for a De-colonialized Federal Indian Law," Arkansas Law Review 46 (1993): 77, 80-81.

(29.) Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States, 1492-Present, 12th ed. (New York: HarperCollins 1999), 127.

(30.) Carl Waldman, Atlas of the North American Indian, (New York: Facts On File, 1985), 115-21.

(31.) Deloria Jr., Custer Died for Your Sins, 45.

(32.) Ibid., 43. Also see Wilkins, American Indian Politics, 107.

(33.) Johnson v. McIntosh, 21 U.S. 543 (1823).

(34.) Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, 30 U.S. 1 (1831); Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U.S. 515 (1832). The discovery doctrine is basically an after-the-fact Christian imperialist legal fiction, or post hoc rationalization, to legitimize the taking of tribal lands. The doctrine created a new but inferior category of federal property rights, so that the tribes' bundle of aboriginal rights never included land ownership. Therefore, the only true discovery is that the United States, through military conquest, forced these domestic-dependent nations "to discover" that they were excluded from the superior European property rights.

(35.) See Wilkins and Lomawaima, "With the Greatest Respect and Fidelity: The Trust Doctrine," in Uneven Ground, 64-97.

(36.) See Mark Holloway, Heavens On Earth: Utopian Communities from 1680-1880 (New York: Dover Publishing, 1966). Picking up on this promised land theme many "utopian communities" capitalizing on the now abundant land were spawned, such as the Rappites and Separatists, Robert Owen and the New Harmony Society, Mormons, Shakers, and the Oneida Community.

(37.) Schlesinger Blum Jr., et al. The National Experience: A History of The United States, 6th ed. (New York: Harcourt Brace Hovanovich, 1985), 276. This is an excerpt from an 1837 letter written by the famous Unitarian clergyman and writer William E. Channing to U.S. Senator Henry Clay.

(38.) Zinn, A Peopleg History, 130. Zinn cites the leading books on Jacksonian foreign affairs as The Age of Jackson, by Arthur Schlesinger, and The Jacksonian Persuasion, by Marvin Meyers.

(39.) Walter R. Mead, Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How it Changed the World, (New York: Knopf, 2001). Mead follows in the footsteps of Pulitzer Prizewinning historian Walter McDougall in A Promised Land, Crusader State: The American Encounter with the World Since 1776, (Philadelphia EX: Houghton Mifflin, 1998).

(40.) Jacob Heilbrunn, "Grand Strategy" Commentary 112, no. 5 (December 2001):76, 76-79. Heilbrunn reviews Mead's book Special Providence.

(41.) Ibid., 79.

(42.) Robert V Remini, Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars (New York: Viking, 2001). The New York Times Book Review hailed Remini as "our foremost Jacksonian scholar." Also see Francis Paul Prucha, The Great Father: The United States and the American Indian, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1984).

(43.) Remini's book appears as a response to alleged Jacksonian revisionists. See for example, Anthony F. C. Wallace, The Long Bitter Trail: Andrew Jackson and the Indians, (New York: Hill & Wang, 1993). Remini downplays the basis for the tribes' shifting loyalties as distrust of American whites after unbridled expansion and Indian wars. Wallace shows how the effects of removal continue to the present day. Wallace's argument compares favorably with Ronald N. Satz's critical study, "American Indian Policy" in The Jacksonian Era (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1975).

(44.) Wilkins and Lomawaima, Uneven Ground, 28-29. From the 1700s through the early 1800s the Apache and Navajo signed boundary treaties with Spain that did not cede their lands but merely permitted Spanish "dominion." Dominion did not assert Spanish land title but mere political jurisdiction. This poses a conflict between America's "discovery doctrine" and prior Spanish recognition of Indian title.

(45.) Alan Brinkley, American History, A Survey, vol. 1, 9th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1995), 352. See also Herman J. Viola, Exploring the West (Washington Dc: Smithsonian Books, 1987), 88.

(46.) Geoffrey C. Ward, The West, An Illustrated History, (Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1996), 210.

(47.) Wilkins, American Indian Politics, 108.

(48.) Waldman, Atlas of the North American Indian, 139-58.

(49.) United States v. Sioux Nations, 448 U.S. 377, n. 4 (1980).

(50.) Vine Deloria Jr., and Clifford Lylte, The Nations Within: The Past and Future of American Indian Sovereignty, (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998), 22-23. Also see Clarissa Confer, "Caught in the Middle: Indian Nations Go to War," Journal of Intercultural Disciplines 2 (spring 2002): 32, 44-47. By leaving Indians unaware that they could not, in the end, prevail in a war against the whites, it is arguable that the United States bears some responsibility for its own military and policy calamities during this period. For example, the 1864-66 Navaho conflict led to the tribe's disastrous forced relocation three hundred miles to New Mexico. Within two years, however, the government reversed this misguided policy by returning the Navahos to their Arizona homeland. In addition, the Sioux's 1868 victory and the Fort Laramie treaty provoked army defeats in 1876 at the battles of the Rosebud and Little Big Horn, as did the dishonorable revenge of Custer's 7th cavalry at the 1890 Wounded Knee Sioux massacre. The U.S.-brokered Apache peace commission in 1872 was followed by nearly fifteen years (until 1886) of continued guerilla warfare and marauding by bands who believed they had no other choice except to fight, such as the Mescaleros, Mimbreno, and Yavapai under leaders such as Victorio and Geronimo.

(51.) Confer, "Caught in the Middle: Indian Nations Go to War," 44.

(52.) Wilkins, American Indian Politics, 4. Indian trust funds have two major components: tribal trust funds (TTF) and individual Indian money accounts (IIM). In 2002 there were about two thousand TTF accounts owned by about two hundred tribes, worth about $2.3 billion. There are over five hundred thousand IIM accounts with an aggregate annual balance of nearly $500 million. For more information, see the Native American Rights Foundation Web site at

(53.) Deloria Jr., Custer Died for Your Sins, 46. See Wilkins, American Indian Politics, no.

(54.) Clinton, "Redressing the Legacy of Conquest," 101.

(55.) Wilkins, American Indian Politics, all.

(56.) Edmund Morris, Theodore Rex (New York: Random House, 2001), 317-18, 325-27. See Zinn, People's History of the United States, 304-20. See Roosevelt's Annual Message to Congress, 6 December 1904, at Handouts/POTUS/Troos.html.

(57.) William H. Goetzmann, ed., The First Americans: Photographs From the Library of Congress (Washington DC: Starwood Publishing, 1991), 20, 25. Not surprisingly, after Edward Curtis impressed President Theodore Roosevelt while serving as his official inaugural photographer in 1904, the president arranged the financing for Curtis's Indian projects.

(58.) Clinton, "Redressing the Legacy of Conquest," 77-80.

(59.) Richard King, Charles Springwood, and Susan Harjo, eds., Team Spirits: The Native American Mascots Controversy (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001), 8-9. On C-SPAN'S Book Review, aired 12 November 2001, Charles Springwood argued that this current public debate does not reflect being "politically correct," but rather was "America's hangover of colonization."

(60.) Zinn, "The Socialist Challenge," in People's History of the United States, 349-54. Similarly, Roosevelt's claim as the first "conservationist" president was based upon his philosophy of a divinely inspired market-capitalism; "conservation favored business at the expense of nature, and property rather than beauty." Roosevelt elevated the wise use of natural resources as a moral national duty since they were a "gift of God." Morris, Theodore Rex, 231, 516-17.

(61.) Waldman, Atlas of the Northern American Indian, 203. Even African American political lobbies formed at this time, the Urban League and NAACP, faced difficulties urging anti-lynching laws, and rescinding discrimination laws.

(62.) See for example, Smithsonian Magazine On-line. A 1976 U.S. navy investigation under Admiral Rickover determined that the battleship Maine's destruction was self-inflicted with a coal bunker fire. feb98/maine/.html.

(63.) Joseph S. Nye Jr., The Paradox of American Power, Why the World's Only Superpower Can't Go it Alone (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002) 147-48.

(64.) Heilbrunn, "Grand Strategy," 77.

(65.) See for example, George Will, "Left, Right Both Shaken by Hamiltonian Post-Sept. 11," Washington Post, 15 December 2001, sec. A, p. 13. Will criticizes "multiculturalism liberalism." But see Joshua Muravchik, "Blinded By Ideology: A History of Wilsonianism," Washington Times, 9 May 1999, Sec. A, p. 15. Muravchik defends the fundamental vision of Wilsonianism against charges that it is a "naive principle of self-determination," and a doctrine of "toothless internationalism." Also see Vine Deloria Jr., "American Indians," in Multiculturalism in the United States, 45. Deloria discusses the activist political strategy effectively used from 1969 to 1978.

(66.) See for example, Amos Perlmutter, Making the Worm Safe for Democracy: A Century of Wilsonianism and its Totalitarian Challenge (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997), chapter 2; and Steven Bucklin, Realism in American Foreign Policy: Wilsonians and the Kennan-Morgenthau Thesis (Westport CT: Praeger Publishing, 2002).

(67.) Wilkins, American Indian Politics, 85, 221. In the late 1970s Congress passed the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistant Act and the Indian Religious Freedom Act. The U.S. Supreme Court awarded the Lakota Nation $122.5 million in compensation for the U.S. government's illegal taking of the Black Hills in South Dakota. The American Indian Policy Review Commission issued 206 recommendations. Despite severe economic cutbacks by President Reagan, "tribal political status was somewhat emboldened" with the government-to-government tribal-federal relationship and Congress's and tribes' mutual call for a return to negotiated agreements.

(68.) Waldman, Atlas of the Northern American Indian, 20. The Society of American Indians lobbied for the Indian Citizen Act of 1924, and the All Pueblo Council successfully opposed the Bursum Bill to extend squatters rights on tribal lands near the Rio Grande River.

(69.) Deloria Jr., The Nations Within, 190.

(70.) Clinton, "Redressing the Legacy of Conquest," 105.

(71.) Wilkins and Lomawaima, Uneven Ground, 40, concludes that after the Revolutionary War, American concerns over negative world opinion of a new republic free from colonialism (among other concerns) led to respect for tribal sovereignty. See generally Clinton, "Redressing the Legacy of Conquest."

(72.) Deloria Jr., Custer Died For Your Sins, 52. See for example, in United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, 448 U.S. at 387 (1980), the Sioux Nation sued under the 1946 Claims Act for the wrongful taking of the Black Hills, which violated the 1968 Fort Laramie Treaty. The court's remedy was limited to the same compensation remedy normally accorded to private citizens for a federal "taking," even after finding that the United States acquired the Black Hills "through a course of unfair and dishonorable dealings.... a more ripe and rank case of dishonorable dealings will, in all probability, be found in our history." Contrast this remedy with the United States' demand in 1996-97 that, despite Serbia's claim of traditional or aboriginal title to Kosovo, the purged ethnic Albanians be restored to their Kosovo homeland, rather than given monetary compensation.

(73.) See Ray Getches, Charles Wilkinson, and Tom Williams, Federal Indian Law, Cases & Materials (St. Paul Mx: West Publishing Co., 1993), which concludes that Congress and the courts possess authority to abrogate the provisions of any Indian treaty, though ratified prior to 1871.

(74.) Charles Wilkinson, and Eric Briggs, "Evolution of the Termination Policy," American Indian Law Review 5 (1977): 139,145,154-56.

(75.) Robert Clinton, "Nations within a Nation: The Evolution of Tribal Immunity," American Indian Law Review 24, no. 1 (2000):99, n. 78.

(76.) Ironically, shortly after September al, the Pentagon announced the creation of a new agency, an Office of Strategic Influence, with the intent to influence public opinion and policymakers overseas on a grander scale than past covert cm psychological operations against military targets. See for example, Thomas Ricks, "Defense Department Divided over Propaganda Plan," Washington Post, 20 February 2002, sec. A, p. 10.

(77.) Deloria Jr., God is Red, 46-56.

(78.) Wilkins, American Indian Politics, 115-16. Laws included the Indian Education Act of 1972, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975, the establishment of the American Indian Policy Review Commission in 1975, the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978.

(79.) Wilkins, American Indian Politics, 118.

(80.) The trust fund problem has its genesis in the 1887 General Allotment Act. The act divided tribal lands into individual parcels with the federal government acting as trustee agent, leasing the allotments and managing the profits from oil, gas, timber, grazing, and mining interests. Lease-generated income was processed by the BIA, deposited in the U.S. Treasury, and supposed to be sent to the Indians and tribal nations as beneficiaries. However, because the Indians never received all monies and because of constant complaints and numerous investigations, in 1996 the Native American Rights Fund sued the Department of the Interior on behalf of the over five hundred thousand trust beneficiaries for "more than 100 years of mismanagement, diversion, and losing money that belongs to Indians." Wilkins, American Indian Politics, 3.

(81.) Chairman Gregg J. Borland, Cheyenne River Sioux, "Postpone Action on Trust Reform," Indian Country Today, 23 January 2002, sec. A, p. 5.

(82.) "Tribes Want `Marshall Plan'", The Denver Post, 24 January 2002, sec. B, p. 5.

(83.) Richard L. Berke, "Falwell to Use Bush Momentum to Further Agenda," The Denver Post, 19 December 2001, sec. A, p. 32.

(84.) Michael Hamilton, "Patrons of the Evangelical Mind," Christianity Today 46, no.8 (8 July 2002): 42-47. Mr. Hamilton is a historian of American religion at Seattle Pacific University, and former coordinator of the Pew Evangelical Scholars Program at the University of Notre Dame.

(85.) Representative Roscoe Bartlett, (Md.R.), House Floor Statement, "What Made America Great," Congressional Record 107th Cong., 1st sess., 2001, pt. H7120: 1500-45. Also see Representative Michael, Oxley (Oh.R.), House Floor Statement supporting tele-evangelists' attacks on the liberal left by Revs. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Congressional Record, 107th Cong., 1st sess., 2001, pt. E1815-16.

(86.) Also see for example, Charles Colson, "Wake-up Call: If September n Was Divine Warning, It's God's People Who Are Being Warned," Christianity Today 45, no. 14 (12 November 2001): 112.

(87.) Virginia Culver, "Topic of Terrorism to `bubble up' at Religion Conference," The Denver Post, 9 November 2001, sec. u, p. 5. Also see Society of Biblical Literature on-line at:

(88.) Jennifer Harper, "Clinton Comments Sound Sour Note with Commentators," Washington Times, 9 November 2001, sec. A, p. n

(89.) For example, this trend was the subject of a segment on NBC's The Today Show, 29 July 2002. ("retro-chic and nostalgia").

(90.) Mark Steyn, "The Slyer Virus: The West's Anti-Westernism," The New Criterion 20, no. 6 (February 2002): 4, 14. Steyn accuses the historical abuse recently uncovered in Canada's boarding or "residential school system" of being a liberal fantasy created to atone for a national assimilation policy.

(91.) See for example, George Will, "When Fighting Terrorists, Remember General Sherman," Denver Rocky Mountain News, 26 December 2001, sec. A, p. 45.

(92.) Sioux Nation of Indians, 448 U.S. at 388, n. 33. The United States' treaty negotiation violated its trustee fiduciary duties through "a pattern of duress, that disarmed the Sioux and denied them their traditional hunting grounds." This forced the sale of the Black Hills, "having reduced the Indians to starvation."

(93.) Waldman, Atlas of the North American Indian, 157.

(94.) Michael Lind, "Their Country 'Tis of Them: Three Patriotic Sages Examine the Elephant and Give Their Very Different Accounts of It," New York Times Book Review, 7 July 2002, p. n.

(95.) Ibid., and see also William Bennet's Why We Fight: Moral Clarity and the War on Terrorism (New York: Doubleday, 2002). Lind concludes that Bennet argues that both the United States and the Jewish State comprise "two chosen peoples."

(96.) Michael Barone, The New Americans: How the Melting Pot Can Work Again, (Chicago: Regery, 2001).

(97. Patrick Buchanan, The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasion Imperil Our Country (New York: St. Martins Press, 2002).

(98.) Clark S. Judge, "Hegemony of the Heart, American Cultural Power and its Enemies," Policy Review no. no (December 2001-January 2002): 3.

(99.) Ibid., 12.

100. Jacob Needleman, The American Soul, Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders (New York: Putnam, 2002).

(101.) Ibid., 38.

(102.) Nye Jr., The Paradox of American Power, 147-48. Also see Joseph S. Nye Jr., "Seven Test: Between Concert and Unilateralism," The National Interest 37, no. 65-S (November 2001): 34-42. Nye, dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and former assistant secretary of defense, agrees with Judge's "soft power" redefinition of the national interest, arguing for constructive relations with weaker nations towards a global community and rejection of extending traditional power. See also Francis Cardinal Arinze, Religions for Peace, A Call for Solidarity to the Religions of the World, (New York: Doubleday, 2002). Cardinal Arinze calls for a new era of inter-faith cooperation and respect for God and humanity.

(103.) Edward Hoagland, "1776 and All That," The Nation 275, no. 4 (22-29 July 2002): 6, 24.

(104.) Owen Harrios, "An End to Nonsense," The National Interest, 37, no. 65-S (November 2001): 34-42. The article appears in a special issue entitled "The Terror."

(105.) Michael Gordon, "Cheney Rejects Criticism by Allies Over Stand on Iraq," The New York Times, 16 February 2002, sec. A, p. 6.

(106.) Holler, Black Elk Reader, 50.

(107.) See for example, Cowell, "Crony Capitalism Gets Hurled Back at U.S."; and Smith, "Impact of Patents on Poor Criticized."

(108.) In 1982 Canada's aboriginal peoples, categorized as the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit, were involved in negotiating sections 25 and 35 that amended the Canadian Constitution. By affirming both "inherent" or aboriginal rights and treaty rights in 1982, they became "beyond the legislation of ever-changing governments." Matthew Coon Come, "The Talking Stick: AXN Chief's Speech to Canadian Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs," Kahtou News, March 2002, p. 17 (Matthew Come is the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations). Subsequently, in Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, [1997] 3 S.C.R. 1010, the Canadian Supreme Court interpreted sections 25 and 35, finding that aboriginal title is inherent and its existence constitutionally entrenched as the "supreme law of the land."

(109.) Also see Steyn, "The West's Anti-Westernism," 5. Also attending the us conference in Durban was Matthew Coon Come, Chief of Canada's First Nations, who told UN delegates that he and his fellow natives were victims of a "racist and colonial syndrome of dispossession and discrimination." Illustrative of American indifference is its withdrawal from the UN conference to distance itself from the Arab nations' anti-Israeli position equating Zionism with racism. But American preoccupation with its grandstanding withdrawal then neglected the unanswered oppression of world Indigenous peoples.

(110.) Valerie Taliman, "Windtalkers Promotes Respect for Navajo," Indian Country Today, 19 June 2002, Sec. A, p. 2.

John A. Wickham is a civil rights attorney and periodic guest columnist for Indian Country Today.
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Title Annotation:offers historical link between major shifts in US foreign policies during times of international war and disruption of domestic policies regarding native peoples; focuses on War on Terrorism
Author:Wickham, John A.
Publication:The American Indian Quarterly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2002
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