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They were here first: American Indian tribes, race, and the constitutional minimum.

C. Equal Protection, Colorblind Constitutionalism, and American Indian Law

Classifications are everywhere in the law, which is why courts sweep away most equal protection challenges by consigning them to rational basis review. (193) The equal protection claims that warrant higher levels of judicial scrutiny are those that include allegations of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, or gender, as well as those that allege discriminatory allocation of other fundamental rights. (194) In the era of constitutional colorblindness and opposition to affirmative action, courts have extended their heightened scrutiny to classifications that aim to increase minority representation in work and educational settings. (195) As Reva Siegel has described, the equal protection framework has shifted from considering whether a classification subordinates a minority group unable to overcome majoritarian politics to whether the classification includes race, gender, or ethnicity, in which case heightened scrutiny is automatic. (196) This has opened the door to searching judicial scrutiny of any and all programs using race or ethnicity, even those designed to overcome discrimination against disadvantaged groups. (197)

There are some signs that the Court's approach to equal protection doctrine is shifting subtly, reviving a more nuanced and contextualized understanding of barriers to equality. First, the Court struck down bans on same-sex marriage, in part based on equal protection concerns. (198) Second, the Court's recent decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, while preserving strict scrutiny of affirmative action programs, nonetheless upheld the university's admissions policies, which used race as "a 'factor of a factor of a factor' in the holistic-review" of applicants' files. (199) It is possible that these cases reflect a rejection of the highly formalist approach that colorblind constitutionalism entails in favor of at least some recognition of the importance of context for rooting out inequality.

If so, the Court can continue to do the least harm in the American Indian law and equal protection contexts simply by following, rather than overturning, precedent or legislative enactments. In the Native nation context, the Court need only exercise restraint. If laws or policies further the federal government's unique obligations to Indian tribes, then the Court should hew to Mancari and stay its hand. (200)

Laws that perpetuate tribal survival (like ICWA) and safeguard tribal economic powers (like IGRA and complementary state laws) fall squarely within the government's unique relationship with tribes. Yet these laws, which assist tribal efforts to emerge from their racialized and subordinated status, are the target of today's equal protection challenges. (201) If courts do not adhere to the Mancari approach, equal protection as anticlassification will become a tool to resurrect the very forms of racial discrimination that subjugated Native peoples and brought them nearly to the brink of elimination. (202) One such form of discrimination is the assignment of inferior characteristics, such as "savageness," to tribes collectively to justify taking their land and destroying their familial and tribal structures. (203) Another is the imposition of biological (as opposed to territorial or affiliation-based) membership requirements and forced-assimilation policies designed to make Indians eventually disappear. (204) The pernicious stereotypes that accompanied these policies--what Renee Ann Cramer has described as the "common sense" of anti-Indian racism (205)--lurk not far beneath the surface of the ICWA and gaming cases described above. In the ICWA context, tribes and tribal members are deemed unfit to judge what is best for their individual children, and tribal affiliation is described disparagingly as nothing more than a remote blood tie rather than as a political and cultural connection to a Native nation. (206) In the gaming and economic contexts, tribes--described as "quasi-racial" collections of individuals rather than as governments--are viewed as standing in the way of non-Indian economic progress. (207) These are the same tropes that drove America's worst and most racialized treatment of tribes, and they should not be resurrected in the name of a supposedly race-neutral equal protection agenda. Moreover, as discussed in Part II below, the trigger for this ill-advised foray into second-guessing laws that benefit tribes--tribes' supposed "racial" status--is in fact the basis for tribes' distinct constitutional standing. Ancestry and lineage tie tribes to their precontact existence and justify their unique place in our constitutional order.

II. Tribes and the Constitutional Minimum

The parties bringing equal protection challenges against federal programs and legislation benefitting American Indians do not accept the Mancari approach of deferring to classifications that further the government-to-government relationship with Native nations. To the contrary, they question the very basis for tribes' distinct treatment under the Constitution by conflating lineal descent from an ancestral group with the invidious sociopolitical category of "race." In Adoptive Couple, for example, the non-Indian parties urged the Court to view the child whose custody was in dispute as someone with a fractional racial identity rather than as a potential citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. (208) And in KG Urban, the non-Indian development company argued that tribal governments should be viewed no differently from collections of racially connected people because they have membership criteria that rely on ancestry. (209) These challenges equate tribal status and membership with race and use that as the basis for urging courts to overthrow statutory protections for tribes and their members.

Yet Mancari makes an unassailable descriptive point about tribes: they are governments, and membership in a tribe is therefore a political status. (210) Native nations are political entities, and each of these nations therefore has powers that nonstate entities lack. (211) Mancari's approach appropriately accounts for this legal-political landscape, noting that empowering courts to strike down laws affecting tribes could put myriad statutes and regulations in jeopardy. (212)

This legal-political landscape nonetheless raises an important question at the heart of the equal protection challenges: What distinguishes "tribes" from other groups that have no constitutional basis for this distinctive political recognition? Since the Founding, the United States has recognized the indigenous peoples of North America as entities with powers of self-governance and property rights. (213) While the precise source and scope of the federal government's power in Indian affairs has been the subject of significant debate, (214) the very fact of a government-to-government relationship is beyond question. (215) It is also clear that what justifies this relationship is that American Indians were on the continent first. (216) As William Quinn has described, this fact was so obvious to the Founders that formal definitions for the term "tribe" were lacking in the early years of the republic. (217) Nonetheless, "[t]he inescapable conclusion ... is that all the colonial powers recognized at least those tribes with which they treated as separate, autonomous political entities.... The new Republic was legatee of a heritage that recognized, albeit sometimes grudgingly, the sovereignty of Indian tribes native to the continent." (218) Tribes--as political sovereigns recognized by the federal government and denominated as such--therefore have ties to precontact peoples and indeed must have such ties to be acknowledged as governments outside of the state-based federalism framework. (219) Without those connections, a group of people getting together to form a government within the United States would be an entirely different matter. In the more benign version, it could be an attempt to form a new state; otherwise, it is something closer to secession. (220) Indigenous peoples' claims to self-government are exceptional in this sense, but in the U.S. context, they are an exception enshrined in the Constitution. (221)

To be a tribe, and therefore subject to Mancaris approach to equal protection analysis, requires connection to an ancestral group. (222) This aspect of federally recognized Indian tribes is reflected in the history and structure of the Constitution, the common law definitions of "tribe" that evolved after the Founding, federal regulations governing tribal recognition today, and definitions of indigenous peoples under international law. Each of these sources is discussed in turn below.

A. Constitutional Text and Context

Tribes' political status is woven into the text and structure of our Constitution, and yet that document provides no guidance regarding how to define "tribe.'' In terms of constitutional text, the Indian Commerce Clause recognizes tribes as distinct entities. (223) The other textual source for the federal government's relationship with tribes is the Treaty Clause, (224) which indisputably includes the power to enter into treaties with tribes even though it does not mention them specifically. (225) The Constitution includes these powers because addressing the presence and territorial claims of indigenous peoples was central to the country's formation. (226) As many scholars and jurists have noted, all of federal Indian law, and by extension much of American law itself, is grounded in this initial point of origin: indigenous peoples occupied the continent, and their presence and claims had to be addressed. (227) But what was the definition of indigenous peoples--labeled American "Indian tribes" in the Constitution--for the purpose of this unique treatment and recognition?

Textual guidance is lacking, but the historical context points to some clear answers. The origins of the federal relationship with tribes lie in early encounters by indigenous peoples with Spain, England, and other colonizing nations. (228) When Spanish explorers first arrived on the islands and shores of North America, they encountered populated and settled places. They drew their justifications for occupying and eventually assuming control over lands occupied by others from early international law doctrines. (229) Those doctrines were often blatantly self-serving, and if they were not, they were abandoned as often as they were followed. (230) But the felt necessity to articulate any legal principles at all reflected the stark reality that the Spanish--and later the British, French, and eventually Americans--did not confront a so-called terra nullius, or "blank land." (231) Nor did they find stray individuals roaming the continent. Rather, as William Canby describes, "the British Crown and several of its colonies dealt with the Indian tribes as wholly independent foreign nations." (232) The precontact presence of tribes, in other words, created the basis for early international law governing the efforts to colonize and then settle North America. (233)

In the postrevolutionary period, the presence and claims of Native peoples animated many of the discussions about the extent and scope of federal power. Gregory Ablavsky has argued that concerns about Native nations and the threat they posed to the young United States propelled arguments supporting a stronger federal government and were thus foundational to the Constitution's structure and adoption. (234) Federal assertions of the right to obtain Indian property likewise accounted for indigenous peoples' prior presence on the land. (235) The so-called discovery doctrine, deployed first by European nations and adopted by Chief Justice Marshall in Johnson v. M'Intosh, (236) was a rationale for acquiring territory from peoples who were here first, not merely from individuals with competing claims to territory. (237) Similarly, early federal statutes prohibiting the sale of Indian land to individuals or states (known as the Trade and Intercourse Acts) acknowledged the distinct nature of Indian collective rights to property. (238) The Trade and Intercourse Acts consolidated the power to obtain property from tribes in the federal government in order to ensure that those transactions would occur between peoples. (239) In short, laws centralizing power over Indian tribes in the federal government and justifying the taking of Indian property assumed and depended on tribes' pre-contact existence.

As noted above, despite the centrality of indigenous peoples' legal status to the formation of the United States, culminating in the distinct treatment of Indian tribes in the Constitution, there was virtually no Founding-era discussion about how to define those tribes. (240) William Hagan describes this gap in an article addressing the related problem how to define individual American Indian identity. (241) Hagan quotes an 1892 annual report by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Thomas Jefferson Morgan, who was addressing the question "What is an Indian?":

"One would have supposed," observed Morgan, "that this question would have been considered a hundred years ago and had been adjudicated long before this." "Singularly enough, however, ... it has remained in abeyance, and the Government has gone on legislating and administering law without carefully discriminating as to those over whom it has a right to exercise such control." (242)

As Hagan and Commissioner Morgan observed, not only did the "founding fathers provide[] little guidance," but the federal agencies first charged with addressing Indian affairs---the War Department and then the Interior Department--did very little to "fill the gap" in the first decades of the new republic. (243)

The absence of such definitions in the early years likely reflected nothing more than the stunning obviousness of the situation: Indian tribes were peoples already on the continent, whose claims to self-governance and property were therefore, literally, facts on the ground. As Native nations became folded into the domestic legal order, the impetus to define tribes grew. Case law, statutes, and eventually administrative criteria filled this gap but also reflected the changing priorities of the federal government concerning Indian policy. Those post-Founding-era definitions are discussed below, as are emerging definitions in international law.

B. Definitions of Indigenous Peoples in Federal Common Law, Federal Regulations, and Contemporary International Law

As described above, early international law, widely recognized as the source for American Indian law, (244) spoke to the rules for interaction with Native peoples. Like the Constitution, however, early international law did not take on the task of defining tribes or indigenous peoples. (245) As U.S. law for engaging with Native nations evolved from a species of international law to a body of domestic law, common law definitions emerged that served the U.S. purposes of categorization, bureaucratization, control, and elimination. (246) These definitions included the racialization of Native peoples and accompanying derogatory characterizations. (247) To be legally "Indian" depended, first and foremost, on the stakes for non-Indians in any particular case. (248)

In recent years, however, definitions have emerged that retain the common law elements of precolonial presence, attachment to land, and longstanding cultural and political institutions but that finally shed the discriminatory and racialized descriptions. Crucially, a continuous thread--even throughout the period when tribes were defined in part by their supposed inferiority--is tribes' ties to peoples here before the settlers arrived. The more recent definitions can be found in U.S. federal regulations governing tribal recognition and in contemporary international law on the rights of indigenous peoples.

1. Federal common law definitions

Early case law on questions of congressional power in Indian affairs included occasional discussion of how to define the objects of that power--the Indian tribes themselves. In United States v. Sandoval, the Court addressed whether Congress had the authority to define the New Mexico Pueblos as tribes under a federal statute banning the introduction of liquor into tribal territory. (249) The Court held, as a general matter, that Congress has wide leeway to enter into relationships with tribes and pass legislation in furtherance of that relationship. (250) Yet Congress, notwithstanding its broad authority, cannot "bring a community or body of people within the range of this power by arbitrarily calling them an Indian tribe." (251) Much of the Sandoval opinion describes the Pueblos in the most demeaning terms, justifying federal power on the basis of the Pueblos' inferiority and dependency. (252) But Sandoval also includes the following factors inclining in favor of treating a group as a tribe: treatment by the government as a distinct community, a history of separate existence, and "Indian lineage." (253) Sandoval thus articulates an early form of rationality review in the context of tribal definition: Congress rationally exercises its broad power to recognize tribes so long as they meet the Sandoval criteria. (254)

Similarly, United States v. Montoya, decided twelve years earlier, defined a tribe as "a body of Indians of the same or a similar race, united in a community under one leadership or government, and inhabiting a particular though sometimes ill-defined territory." (255) Shorn of their discriminatory language, these cases affirm that Congress's power to recognize tribes and pass legislation concerning them hinges on tribes' status as distinct political communities with ties to precontact aboriginal peoples, whether those ties are described as "lineage" (in Sandoval) or "race" (in Montoya). (256) In the absence of such ties, Congress exceeds even its broad authority in Indian affairs to recognize a people as a "tribe." (257)

Cases in the modern era likewise include this element of connection to a distinct community with presettler ties to the land. (258) In Joint Tribal Council of the Passamaquoddy Tribe v. Morton, the Passamaquoddy Tribe sued the United States to request representation in the Tribe's Nonintercourse Act claims against Maine and Massachusetts for the unlawful taking of the Tribe's property. (259) The Department of the Interior refused the Tribe's request, arguing that the Tribe lacked a government-to-government relationship with the United States and therefore was not a "tribe" under the Nonintercourse Act. (260) The First Circuit quoted Montoyas definition of a tribe, including its requirements of "a body of Indians of the same or similar race," and held that the Passamaquoddy's long history of treatment as a tribe by Maine, the federal government's early acknowledgment that the Tribe was entitled to federal protection, and the Tribe's clear political organization "plainly fit[]" Montoya's definition. (261)

The judicial definition of "tribe," as it has emerged in the modern era, therefore includes the key elements of ties to ancestral territory, a distinct community, and, in the words of the Court in Sandoval and Montoya, Indian "lineage" or "race." Cohen's Handbook distills these criteria as "the broad requirements that: (a) the group have some ancestors who lived in what is now the United States before discovery by Europeans, and (b) the group be a 'people distinct from others.'" (262)

2. Administrative definitions: federal acknowledgment criteria

Today, groups in the United States with indigenous identity can seek federal recognition as tribes through three channels: the courts, Congress, and the BIA's administrative acknowledgment process. The Passamaquoddy and other tribes litigated their tribal status in the courts, but most tribes seeking federal recognition today do so through the BIA's acknowledgment process. (263) Regulations governing this process were first overhauled in the 1970s, culminating in the 1978 criteria, which have since been amended twice, once in 1994 and again in 2015. (264) Before 1978, the BIA used an ad hoc approach to recognition based on factors developed by Felix Cohen in the 1930s. The Cohen factors largely focused on how the federal government and other tribes viewed or treated the petitioning tribe. (265) The 1978 revisions were a response to the flood of acknowledgment petitions filed by tribes that had been omitted from the government's list of federally recognized tribes, formalized for the first time in 1934. (266)

The current federal acknowledgment regulations have roots in Cohen's de facto approach but also include factors reflecting that tribes, to be recognized as such under the Constitution, must have ties to peoples who preceded European arrival. First, the regulations define the term "indigenous" to mean "native to the continental United States in that at least part of the petitioner's territory at the time of first sustained contact extended into what is now the continental United States." (267) Second, several of the seven criteria for federal acknowledgment include ties to peoples who are "native" in the same sense. These include the criteria of "Indian entity identification," (268) "[c]ommunity," (269) and, perhaps most obviously, "[d]escent." (270) Each is discussed in turn below.

The "Indian identity" requirement states that the petitioning group must have been "identified as an American Indian entity on a substantially continuous basis since 1900." (271) Likewise, the "[community" criterion requires the petitioning tribe to show that it "comprises a distinct community and demonstrate!] that it existed as a community from 1900 until the present." (272) When the BIA published proposed changes to the criteria in 2014, it suggested moving the date for Indian identity forward to 1934, the year the Indian Reorganization Act first created the list of recognized tribes. (273) There was also discussion of whether the start date should be moved back to "historical times," which is what it had been for the "[c]ommunity" criterion prior to the proposed changes. (274) In the end, the BIA retained the 1900 start date for "Indian identity" and adopted it for purposes of "[c]ommunity" as well.

The BIA provided many reasons for this seeming compromise between "historical times" and 1934. First, the years surrounding 1900 were a time of great pressure on tribes to assimilate and disband. (275) Groups petitioning for recognition today therefore might find it difficult to provide any documentation dating from before that period. (276) Further, for many tribes (presumably in the American West), their first sustained contact with non-Indians was not long before 1900. (277) Westward expansion did not begin in earnest until the late 1800s, and tribes in the Southwest in particular had no reason to document their status as governing entities for outsiders. (278) In addition, the BIA explained that "based on its experience in nearly 40 years of implementing the regulations, every group that has proven its existence from 1900 forward has successfully proven its existence prior to that time as well, making 1900 to the present a reliable proxy for all of history but at less expense." (279) The criteria themselves, like the justifications for using 1900 as the starting point, therefore reflect an understanding that tribes, to be recognized as such, must have Indian identity and comprise a distinct community that extends back to the time before European and American contact.

The "descent" criterion requires that "petitioner's membership consists of individuals who descend from a historical Indian tribe (or from historical Indian tribes that combined and functioned as a single autonomous political entity)." (280) "Historical tribe," it is clear, means a political entity composed of peoples who predate nonindigenous contact. (281) The 2015 final rule did not adopt a proposed change that would have required instead that "at least 80 percent" of petitioner's membership descended from a historical tribe. (282) The BIA explained that there were objections on both sides of the debate, with some urging a 100% descent requirement and others urging a lower requirement to account for lack of records. (283) The BIA therefore decided to omit any quantitative measure but clarified that the 80% language merely reflected past decisions and that the policies would remain consistent with those practices. (284) Whether fixed at 80% or 100%, the import of this criterion is unmistakable: to be a federally recognized tribe today, there must be a strong showing of "descent" from (meaning ancestral ties to) a historical tribe.

The federal criteria as a whole reflect both of the key aspects of Native nationhood: first, that the entity petitioning to be a tribe is a political community with a history of governance, (285) and second, that the entity has ties to the people who were here first. (286) To achieve status as a federally recognized tribe today through the acknowledgment process, it is therefore necessary for a tribe to make its case in part through the language of descent.

While the regulations do not discuss the constitutional necessity of such a criterion, the BIA did address comments suggesting that the descent criterion should be eliminated "because it is race-based, while tribal membership is a political classification." (287) The BIA responded:

   The Department recognizes descent from a political entity (tribe or
   tribes) as a basis from which evaluations of identification,
   community, and political influence/authority under criteria (a),
   (b), and (c) may reveal continuation of that political entity.
   Evidence sufficient to satisfy (e) is utilized as an approximation
   of tribal membership before 1900. (288)

To translate from bureaucratese, the BIA is saying that descent is another proxy for connections to a political entity, specifically a tribe, which existed historically. It is not a proxy for "race."

But this again begs the question: What is a tribe? Tribes, recognized in the Constitution as such, were the people here first. The BIA's otherwise circular explanation makes sense if we add this reminder about the context and circumstances of our nation's history. The notion of descent in this context is neither "race-based" nor a "proxy for race," in Justice Kennedy's formulation. (289) Instead, descent is a proxy for a people's historical connection to place--a connection that, perhaps amazingly, has been recognized in American law since the Founding--despite American law's frequent contradictory role of attempting to sever that very connection.

3. International law definitions

American Indian law was, at its inception, a creature of the law of nations. (290) As discussed above, early legal doctrine largely ratified the assertion of colonial and settler-nation authority over indigenous peoples, justifying the taking of Indian property and the unilateral assertion of political authority. (291) As Phillip Frickey has argued, international law also underwrote core foundational principles in American Indian law, including exclusive congressional power in Indian affairs. (292) Since the rise of human rights in international law, however, indigenous peoples have pushed for international recognition of their rights to land, culture, and self-determination. According to Kristen Carpenter and Angela Riley, "[i]nternational human rights law now serves as a basis for indigenous peoples' claims against states and even influences indigenous groups' internal processes of revitalization." (293) Indigenous peoples have, in other words, pushed international law to become a means to recognize their rights rather than to undermine them. (294) It is therefore instructive to look to definitions in international law of "indigenous peoples" to aid in the interpretation of "tribes" in U.S. law. Frickey made a similar argument concerning contemporary international law's relevance to constitutional limitations on federal power: "emerging international law concerning the rights of indigenous peoples ... provide[s] a domestic interpretive backdrop" for the interpretation of domestic law. (295) The international definitions are not binding, but they connect Indian law's origins with its present, providing the opportunity to redeem the racializing effects of the settler/colonial project. (296)

At the outset, it is important to note that there is no universally accepted definition of indigenous peoples or indigenous identity under international law. According to Robert Williams, Jr., "[generally, indigenous peoples have insisted on the right to define themselves." (297) Working definitions have nonetheless emerged from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations. These definitions identify factors similar to those in U.S. law, including ties to people who preceded colonization. Similar to the definitions in the federal acknowledgment regulations, the international law definitions emphasize connections to history and place--as opposed to blood and race--appropriately rejecting the racializing and subordinating language of the colonial past.

In 1989, the ILO adopted the Convention Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (ILO Convention 169). (298) This document, which has been ratified by twenty-two countries (not including the United States), is aimed at protecting and fostering indigenous culture, land, and resource rights as well as addressing discrimination. (299) ILO Convention 169 was a significant step in the development of international legal recognition of distinctive indigenous rights. (300) Before its passage, indigenous peoples had to articulate their claims largely through the prism of individual human rights. (301) ILO Convention 169's broader set of claims encompassed indigenous peoples' group rights and therefore necessitated a description of the people to whom it applied. Thus, while ILO Convention 169 does not define "indigenous peoples," it does include the following description:

1. This Convention applies to:

(a) tribal peoples in independent countries whose social, cultural and economic conditions distinguish them from other sections of the national community ... ;

(b) peoples in independent countries who are regarded as indigenous on account of their descent from the populations which inhabited the country, or a geographical region to which the country belongs, at the time of conquest or colonisation....

2. Self-identification as indigenous or tribal shall be regarded as a fundamental criterion for determining the groups to which the provisions of this Convention apply. (302)

The ILO's description emphasizes ties to populations that inhabited the country precolonization, the presence of political and cultural institutions, and self-identification. And the ILO description, like the federal acknowledgment criteria, includes a criterion of descent from earlier indigenous populations. (303)

In the United Nations context, the most important development has been the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007. (304) The Declaration establishes and acknowledges the rights and freedoms of indigenous peoples around the world. (305) UNDRIP was the culmination of many years of organizing by indigenous peoples and built on previous efforts (including the ILO's) to write indigenous peoples into international legal instruments. (306) While UNDRIP itself, like ILO Convention 169, has no formal definition of indigenous peoples, the United Nations lists several factors that have their roots in earlier documents. (307) The most significant of these documents is a report by Jose Martinez Cobo, who was appointed by the U.N. Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities to conduct a study on the problem of discrimination against indigenous populations. (308) In the report, Cobo provided the following working definition of "indigenous peoples":

   Indigenous communities, peoples and nations are those which, having
   a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial
   societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves
   distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing in
   those territories, or parts of them. They form at present
   non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve,
   develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral
   territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their
   continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own
   cultural patterns, social institutions and legal systems. (309)

The Cobo study also mentions several ways that a community could be seen to have "historical continuity" with a precolonial society, including but not limited to whether the community occupies ancestral lands and whether the community shares a common culture or language with the precolonial society. (310) Cobos working definition therefore shares essential elements with the U.S. common law and administrative definitions described above: ties to precontact peoples (descent) and status as a distinct people today (including evidence of political, legal, and cultural institutions).

In short, the definitions that have emerged in the international indigenous rights era include elements of descent and ancestry, just as they do under U.S. law. This makes sense given that the process of becoming "indigenous" is essentially a historical one. Before the arrival of others, indigenous peoples were simply the peoples of a given territory. To be indigenous is to have preceded colonization and settlement, necessitating historical continuity to peoples before that time. Descent, in this context, is a historical and normative description and not merely a substitute for "race."

Early definitions of tribes in U.S. law were tainted by paternalism and assumptions of inferiority, yet they also contained a kernel of understanding that congressional power to recognize tribes could not exist in the absence of ties to peoples who preceded non-Indian colonization and settlement. (311) The U.N. working definition shares key elements with the definitions of "tribe" that have evolved in U.S. law more recently--connections to precontact peoples, ties and attachment to ancestral lands, and distinct cultural and political structures--but the language is devoid of the racialized and demeaning aspects that pervaded early U.S. doctrine and have yet to be completely expunged. (312)

The U.N. approach therefore points a way forward, providing terminology that connects "indigenous peoples" to history and place without resorting to the language of "race" and "blood." This difference is not just a matter of vocabulary; the racialized language of U.S. law inscribes a social and political hierarchy that, today, perpetuates a "common sense" of anti-Indian racism. (313) If ties to ancestral peoples, the very criteria necessary to establish separate political existence as a tribe, are digested (by Supreme Court Justices, politicians, and the public alike) as "racial" ties as opposed to indicators of indigenous peoplehood, then the deck is instantly stacked against nonbiased ways of interpreting the meaning of any classification or distinctive treatment. The U.N. and ILO working definitions are more nuanced and also less succinct, but necessarily so; they describe not only historical and factual criteria but also factors rooted in intentions for the future--intentions to continue to exist as peoples who are connected to the past but not destined to remain there. For tribes to be recognized as such under our Constitution, the minimum criterion of descent from historical peoples should and can be interpreted similarly.

III. Being More Discriminate to Eliminate Discrimination

The project of preserving tribes' constitutional status while deconstructing the racialized definitions of tribes under U.S. law coheres with a larger body of work on the social construction of race. In their pathbreaking work on race and racism, Michael Omi and Howard Winant coined the term "racial formation."FS (314) They defined racial formation as "the sociohistorical process by which racial categories are created, inhabited, transformed, and destroyed." (315) Race, though a social construct and not a biological trait, acquires and produces meanings that structure aspects of our society and infuse everyday interactions. (316) Racial formation theorists therefore "examine the ways in which race is constantly redefined, reworked, and rearticulated by social and political institutions in different political and historical periods." (317) Further, as Laura Gomez has described, "race itself is made meaningful by law, and law writ large is a reflection of racial-classification systems, racial ideology, and racial inequality." (318) Some critical race legal theorists have therefore focused on the "mutually constitutive" roles of law and race as they shape and reinforce one another. (319)

Omi and Winant's theory of race as a social construct also opened terrain to interrogate how different groups were racialized for different purposes. (320) In this vein, scholars of American Indian law and theorists of settler colonialism have analyzed the unique purposes served by the racialization of Native peoples. (321) Native peoples were characterized as savage, uncivilized, and, like the animals that they hunted, ultimately doomed to extinction. (322) No less a figure than George Washington, outlining the Indian policy of the Continental Congress, articulated this view:

   [P]olicy and economy point very strongly to the expediency of being
   upon good terms with the Indians, and the propriety of purchasing
   their Lands in preference to attempting to drive them by force of
   arms out of their Country; which as we have already experienced is
   like driving the Wild Beasts of the Forest... ; when the gradual
   extension of our Settlements will as certainly cause the Savage as
   the Wolf to retire; both being beasts of prey tho' they differ in
   shape. (323)

Alternatively, the troublesome racial aspects of individual Native Americans could be eradicated through forced assimilation; Indians, unlike African Americans, could become white through processes of civilization. (324) The abovementioned quotation attributed to Richard Henry Pratt--"Kill the Indian, save the man" (325)--embodies this racialized view.

These characterizations of Native people served the purpose of achieving their disappearance from the land, or in Patrick Wolfe's influential terminology, they served the goal of indigenous "elimination." (326) Settler/colonial societies--like the United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand--had to wrest land and resources from indigenous populations, which they quickly outnumbered. (327) The structure of race in American Indian law--which either assumed or actively worked toward elimination of Native people--served to accomplish the objective of freeing up the land.

Early definitions of tribes in U.S. law reflect the racialized conception of Indians. As discussed above, in United States v. Montoya (328) and United States v. Sandoval, (329) as well as many other cases, Indian cultural and political inferiority was integral to the conclusion that the entities were "tribes." (330) Further, whether an entity was a "tribe" and therefore entitled to protection by the United States sometimes hinged on whether that conclusion inhibited acquisition of land by non-Indians. (331) Federal law and policy toward American Indians also reconstituted Native nations in various ways, forcing some distinct groups together and artificially separating others, thereby imposing membership criteria on tribes that reflected the federal goals of controlling tribes' existence and minimizing their disruptions to non-Indians. (332) The rigid accounting measures imposed on tribes during the allotment era, including for many tribes the requirement that their members have certain quanta of Indian "blood," represent another aspect of tribal racialization. (333)

Despite eliminationist strategies and constructions of the disappearing Indian that they inscribed, tribes are still here. Tribal governments are working to overcome the historic traumas of land loss, cultural devastation, and familial disruption through tribal political, legal, and economic revitalization efforts. (334) Federal laws, including ICWA and IGRA, recognize tribes as governments and provide the means for tribes to restore their cultures and their economies. Like all laws, they are not perfect. And like all human situations to which laws apply, there are examples of how these laws may result in difficult outcomes or cause unfairness.

But the equal protection attacks on ICWA and on tribal gaming laws aim to do far more than tinker at the margins. They aim to recruit federal courts to strike down these statutes on the ground that tribes are nothing other than racial groups. This is today's formulation of the eliminationist structure of racism against Native peoples. Rather than see tribes as governments, the cases describe tribal membership as nothing other than blood ties. The refrain in Adoptive Couple went further; not only was it a blood tie, it was a very scant one. ("It is undisputed that, had Baby Girl not been 3/256 Cherokee, Biological Father would have had no right to object to her adoption....") (335) This repeats the eliminationist logic of allotment and termination: insufficient "blood" means you cannot really be Indian. And it also resonates with the "common sense" of racism in the context of Indian gaming. As Renee Ann Cramer has described, tribes who have gained economic success through gaming are accused of not truly being Indian; racist tropes, including that Indians should look like "full-bloods" and should not participate in the modern economy, pervade objections to gaming and creep into other areas of law as well. (336)

It would therefore be worse than ironic for federal courts to deploy equal protection analysis to overthrow statutes like ICWA and tribal gaming laws; it would be tragic because it would reenact the very policies of elimination that those laws were passed to redress. Furthermore, employing such an analysis is easily avoided on multiple grounds. First, federal courts can and should hew to precedent and uphold Mancari (337) Second, courts that are unconvinced by precedent alone due to Mancaris insufficient articulation of its rationale can rely on the deeper explanations for tribes' political status. (338) Third, as argued here, tribes--recognized in our Constitution and accorded distinct status by that document, its structure, and its history--are necessarily defined as the peoples who preceded us on the continent. Shorn of the racialized descriptions that were attached to the definition of tribes for too long, the criterion of connection to precolonial peoples remains. Today's federal acknowledgment criteria recognize and require this relationship, and working definitions in international law include such ties as well. (339) Those ties, whether expressed today in terms of lineal descent, ancestry, or otherwise, should not be used against tribes or Indian people in a misguided pursuit of constitutional colorblindness.

This Article advances an exceptionalist position for resisting colorblind constitutionalism and the opposition to affirmative action in American Indian law. But it is consistent with racial formation theory's call for contextualized analysis of the working and reworking of racial concepts in law. Race and racism have done different work in the American Indian context than in the context of African Americans, Latinos, Hispanics, and Asians. In particular, racialized constructs are associated with legal definitions of tribes and tribal members in ways that reinforce the very stereotypes that pose obstacles to tribal survival today. The theoretical approach embraced in this Article can and should yield very different analyses for other groups, and in this way the project advances the larger goal of urging multiple exceptionalisms to redress the different inequalities produced by racism in this country.

Moreover, the argument here supports rejecting colorblind constitutionalism generally. Race, as racial formation theory posits, is not just a formal category that can be detected and routed from the law. It is a shifting social and political construct, and its capacity to perpetuate inequality evades efforts to locate it through formal categories alone. (340) Paying attention to race and its formations is more likely to someday yield a racially equal society than the strategy of equating all uses of race--including those that combat historical subordination--with discrimination "on the basis of race." (341)


The history of European/American settlement and the formation of the republic leave no doubt that the words "Indian tribes" refer to the peoples who occupied the continent before non-Indian settlement. The federal government's power to recognize Native peoples as governments within the United States rests on the constitutional distinction between "tribes"--self-governing societies with ties to precontact peoples--and other groups. A constitutional minimum for tribal political recognition, in other words, is connection to the people who preceded European/American arrival. That connection is not "racial," so long as we understand race to be a sociolegal construct that assigns characteristics to certain groups for the purpose of unjustified subordination (or, in the case of whiteness, the assertion of unjustified privilege). (342) Though legal definitions of "tribe" were freighted with discriminatory meanings for centuries, today domestic and international legal criteria defining tribal status focus instead on historical ties to land as well as continuity of politics, culture, and self-understanding. International law's embrace of the rights of indigenous peoples can and should inform definitions of tribes under U.S. law, linking Indian law to its internationalist past while shedding the taint of colonialism.

Attempts to enshrine unyielding colorblind or race-neutral understandings of the Equal Protection Clause threaten, perversely, to characterize tribes once again as groups defined primarily by "race." Such attempts undermine laws and policies that protect tribes as governments. At the same time, they deploy misunderstandings and stereotypes about Native people to gain traction. In the adoption and child welfare context, Indian tribal status is depicted as nothing more than a blood tie that keeps children from being placed in better circumstances. Tribal connections are implicitly challenged as not being "real," and Native parents are seen as using their racial status to get a leg up in custody battles. In the gaming context, there is a similar dynamic. Tribes, instead of being categorized as governments engaged in economic development, are depicted as "quasi-racial" groups unfairly competing in the marketplace.

To avoid reinscribing this racially discriminatory understanding of tribes and Indian people, courts need only exercise restraint. They do not have to create new categories of protected classes for equal protection analysis. They do not have to second-guess the legislative branch. Instead, all courts have to do is hew to precedent, deferring to Congress when it enacts legislation that furthers its unique relationship with American Indian tribes--the peoples who were here first.

Sarah Krakoff, Raphael J. Moses Professor, University of Colorado Law School. Thank you to Greg Ablavksy, Kristen Carpenter, Michael Dorf, Angela Riley, Pierre Schlag, Anna Spain, Gerald Torres, and colleagues at the University of Colorado works-in-progress workshop and Cornell Law School symposium series for invaluable feedback. I am also indebted to Melissa Austin, Emily Lubarsky, Andy Ball, and Jesse Heibel for their good cheer and excellent research assistance.

(1.) See Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 133 S. Ct. 2552, 2565 (2013) (noting equal protection "concerns" but ruling on other grounds); Civil Rights Class Action Complaint for Declaratory & Injunctive Relief at 21-22, 24, Carter ex rel. A.D. v. Washburn, No. 2:15cv-01259-DKD (D. Ariz. July 6, 2015) (challenging the Indian Child Welfare Act on equal protection grounds).

(2.) See KG Urban Enters, v. Patrick, 693 F.3d 1, 16-17 (1st Cir. 2012) (considering a non-Indian development company's challenge to a state law that gave priority to eligible American Indian tribes).

(3.) I use the terms "American Indian tribe" and "Native nation" interchangeably in this Article. "Native nation" is the preferred contemporary term for indigenous political sovereigns, but "American Indian tribe" is firmly ensconced in legal documents and vocabulary.

(4.) See Morton v. Mancari, 417 U.S. 535, 555 (1974).

(5.) Id. at 551.

(6.) Id. at 553-54.

(7.) Id. at 552-53; see also Matthew L.M. Fletcher, The Original Understanding of the Political Status of Indian Tribes, 82 St. John's L. REV. 153, 164-72 (2008) (describing the historical understanding and treatment of tribes).

(8.) Mancari, 417 U.S. at 552.

(9.) See KG Urban Enters, v. Patrick, 839 F. Supp. 2d 388, 403-04 (D. Mass.) (criticizing Mancari), aff'd in part, vacated in part, and remanded, 693 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2012). The Supreme Court has continued to affirm Mancari but has indirectly questioned aspects of its reasoning in two cases. See Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 133 S. Ct. 2552, 2565 (2013); Rice v. Cayetano, 528 U.S. 495, 514 (2000); see also infra notes 103-20 and accompanying text (discussing Adoptive Couple).

(10.) See infra Part I.A-B.

(11.) See infra Part I.

(12.) See infra Part I.

(13.) I use "precontact" as shorthand for the political and legal status that indigenous peoples of North America possessed before the arrival of Europeans or--in cases where sustained contact did not occur until after the American Revolution--before the arrival of American settlers.

(14.) See Fletcher, supra note 7, at 164-69; Sarah Krakoff, Inextricably Political Race, Membership, and Tribal Sovereignty, 87 WASH. L. REV. 1041, 1043 (2012).

(15.) See Sarah Krakoff, Constitutional Concern, Membership, and Race, 9 Fla. Int'l U. L. Rev. 295,296(2014).

(16.) See Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1060-83 (recounting the historical evolution of the federal government's tribal recognition practices and definitions).

(17.) See id. at 1118-22; Patrick Wolfe, Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native, 8 J. GENOCIDE RES. 387,399-401 (2006).

(18.) See, e.g., DEE BROWN, BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE: AN INDIAN HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN WEST (30th anniversary ed. 2001) (describing the violent displacement of Native peoples in the American West from 1860 to 1890); ROXANNE DUNBAR-ORTIZ, AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES (2014) (reviewing U.S. policies toward Native peoples from the Founding to the present). As one historian stated, describing removal policies specifically, "[t]he removal of American Indians from their lands east of the Mississippi River was an act of all-encompassing violence that did not take place in an abstract world of political debates and historical narratives." JOHN P. BOWES, LAND TOO GOOD FOR INDIANS: NORTHERN INDIAN REMOVAL 4 (2016).

(19.) See Krakoff, supra note 15, at 325-26; Krakoff, supra note 14, at 2-31.

(20.) See Krakoff, supra note 15, at 325-26; Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1122-31.

(21.) See Rice v. Cayetano, 528 U.S. 495, 514 (2000) ("Ancestry can be a proxy for race."). Justice Kennedy made this statement in the context of striking down a state law that allowed only Native Hawaiians to vote for board members of a state agency that governed programs for Native Hawaiians. Id. at 498-99. Justice Kennedy is not wholly wrong in saying this; ancestry certainly can be a proxy for racial discrimination in that it can be used in an attempt to disguise the continuation of racially discriminatory policies. See, e.g., Guinn v. United States, 238 U.S. 347, 364-65 (1915) (striking down a literacy requirement for voting that exempted the descendants of those eligible to vote prior to the adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment, effectively exempting whites). But as Justice Stevens noted in his dissent in Rice, ancestry is not necessarily a proxy for race, and context and history make all the difference. Rice, 528 U.S. at 544-45 (Stevens, J., dissenting) (concluding that the ancestry requirement was not a proxy for racial discrimination but rather a recognition of Native Hawaiians' distinct claims to compensation and self-determination); see also Carole Goldberg, Descent into Race, 49 UCLA L. REV. 1373, 1390-93 (2002) (arguing that tribes' descent-based membership criteria serve the functions of political and cultural survival and should not be equated with illegitimate racial distinctions). Equating ancestry with race also belies the many ways in which laws recognize and honor ancestry outside of the Indian law context. The laws of intestate succession in most states, for example, rely on ancestry. See, e.g., ARIZ. REV. STAT. ANN. [section] 14-2103 (2016); CAL. PROB. CODE [section] 6402 (West 2016); MICH. COMP. LAWS [section] 700.2103 (2016); 20 PA. CONS. STAT. [section] 2103 (2016) (all requiring decedents' property to pass based on lineage in the absence of a surviving spouse); see also UNIF. Probate Code [section] 2-103 (NAT'L CONFERENCE OF COMM'RS ON UNIF. STATE LAWS 2010) (doing the same). U.S. citizenship laws also recognize ancestry. See, e.g., 8 C.F.R. [section] 322.2 (2016) (allowing a child to be eligible for citizenship if he or she has at least one U.S. citizen parent).

(22.) See U.S. CONST, art. IV, [section] 3, cl. 1 (authorizing Congress to create new states but prohibiting the creation of a new state by partitioning or joining existing states without the affected states' and Congress's consent). Outside of Article IV, there are no constitutionally recognized avenues for non-Indian citizens to band together to form a new internal government with a direct relationship with the U.S. federal government.

(23.) See Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-608, 92 Stat. 3069 (codified as amended at 25 U.S.C. [section][section] 1901-1963 (2015)).

(24.) The Indian Commerce Clause provides: "The Congress shall have Power ... [t]o regulate Commerce ... with the Indian Tribes." U.S. Const, art. I, [section] 8. The Treaty Clause authorizes the executive's power, "by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties." Id. art. II, [section] 2, cl. 2. The Treaty Clause does not mention Indian tribes specifically, but there is no dispute that the power includes treatymaking with tribes. See Cohen's Handbook of Federal Indian Law [section] 5.01[2], at 386 (Nell Jessup Newton ed., 2012) [hereinafter COHEN'S HANDBOOK] ("The treaty clause ... has been a principal foundation for federal power in Indian affairs."). Some courts and scholars have also suggested that there is an extratextual source of the federal government's power to enter into political relationships with the sovereigns that predated it. See, e.g., Philip P. Frickey, Domesticating Federal Indian Law, 81 MINN. L. REV. 31, 52-73 (1996) (discussing cases that advert to an extraconstitutional source and theorizing that international law provided the basis for this approach). Similarly, Gregory Ablavsky has argued that the Founders and first few presidential administrations relied broadly on the Constitution's structure and purpose--rather than taking a narrow clause-bound approach--to justify exclusive and broad (though not absolute) powers in Indian affairs. Gregory Ablavsky, Beyond the Indian Commerce Clause, 124 YALE L.J. 1012,1017-21 (2015).

(25.) The legal status of U.S. territories is distinct from that of tribes and other entities, although one scholar has argued that aspects of the federal Indian law paradigm should be extended to indigenous peoples in U.S. territories. See Rose Cuison Villazor, Blood Quantum Land Laws and the Race Versus Political Identity Dilemma, 96 CALIF. L. REV. 801, 833-36 (2008).

(26.) See William T. Hagan, Full Blood, Mixed Blood, Generic, and Ersatz: The Problem of Indian Identity, 11 Ariz. & West 309, 309-10 (1985); see also William W. Quinn, Jr., Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes: The Historical Development of a Legal Concept, 34 Am. J. LEGAL HIST. 331, 352-53 (1990). A review of documents by the nation's founders reveals significant discussion of tribes' legal status and the power of the federal government versus that of states to regulate relationships with tribes but virtually no discussion of what tribes are or how they are defined. See 2 THE FOUNDERS' CONSTITUTION 528-56 (Philip B. Kurland & Ralph Lerner eds., 1987).

(27.) See infra Part II.A.

(28.) See infra Part II.B.1-2.

(29.) See ROBERT A. WILLIAMS, JR., LIKE A LOADED WEAPON: THE REHNQUIST COURT, INDIAN RIGHTS, AND THE LEGAL HISTORY OF RACISM IN AMERICA 165-66, 173-74, 193 (2005) (arguing that the human rights turn in contemporary international law should be deployed to redeem federal Indian law from its colonialist origins); Frickey, supra note 24, at 74-75 (arguing that because international law justified the assertion of federal power over tribes, contemporary international law should inform rights-based limits on that power).

(30.) See Parents Involved in Cmty. Sch. v. Seattle Sch. Dist. No. 1, 551 U.S. 701, 748 (2007) (plurality opinion) ("The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."); see also Mario L. Barnes et al., A Post-Race Equal Protection?, 98 GEO. L.J. 967, 985-91, 1002 (2010) (arguing that the Court's postracial view is belied by ongoing race-based discrimination and would further rather than reverse current racial inequality).

(31.) There is a rich sociolegal literature on racial formation and the political-social constructions of race on which this Article relies throughout. See, e.g., IAN HANEY LOPEZ, WHITE BY LAW: THE LEGAL CONSTRUCTION OF RACE, at xv-xvi (rev. & updated ed. 2006); MICHAEL OMI & HOWARD WINANT, RACIAL FORMATION IN THE UNITED STATES: FROM THE 1960S TO THE 1990s, at 3-4 (2d ed. 1994); WILLIAMS, supra note 29, at 211 n.70 (describing the book's central thesis as being informed by Omi and Winant's concept of racial formation); Laura E. Gomez, Race Mattered: Racial Formation and the Politics of Crime in Territorial New Mexico, 49 UCLA L. REV. 1395, 1405 (2002); Cheryl I. Harris, Whiteness as Property, 106 HARV. L. REV. 1707, 1714-16 (1993).


(33.) See generally WILLIAMS, supra note 29. Williams provides a comprehensive tour through almost all of American Indian law, describing how every policy period and major doctrinal innovation was informed by anti-Indian racism. See, e.g., id. at 39 ("An overtly racist, hostile, and violent language of Indian savagery can be found in the first official U.S. legal document ..., the Declaration of Independence."); id. at 69 (describing the "racist language of Indian savagery" in the Marshall trilogy); id. at 143 (describing the Rehnquist Court's Indian law as including "judicially validated language of Indian racial inferiority").

(34.) 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 543, 590 (1823).

(35.) 109 U.S. 556, 569 (1883).


(37.) For a similar argument, see Gloria Valencia-Weber, Racial Equality: Old and New Strains and American Indians, 80 Notre DAME L. REV. 333, 334-35, 374-75 (2004).

(38.) See Philip P. Frickey, (Native) American Exceptionalism in Federal Public Law, 119 HARV. L. REV. 431, 437-43 (2005).

(39.) See Omi & WlNANT, supra note 31, at 4, 54-56; Ian F. Haney Lopez, The Social Construction of Race: Some Observations on Illusion, Fabrication, and Choice, 29 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. REV. 1, 6 (1994) (advancing a "theory of race as a social complex of meanings we continually replicate in our daily lives").

(40.) See Omi & Winant, supra note 31, at 55-61; Juan F. Perea, The Black/White Binary Paradigm of Race: The "Normal Science" of American Racial Thought, 85 CALIF. L. REV. 1213, 1214-16(1997).

(41.) See OMI & WINANT, supra note 31, at 55-61; see also HANEY LOPEZ, supra note 31, at 78-81 (describing the complex forces and multiple actors that contribute to the legal construction of race).

(42.) See Barnes et al., supra note 30, at 1002-04 (rejecting a postracialist approach to equal protection). The Court's recent decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, 136 S. Ct. 2198 (2016), is an ambivalent endorsement of maintaining the equality-promoting aspects of race-consciousness. The Court upheld the university's affirmative action plan, which included consideration of race as a subfactor in a holistic admissions process. Id. at 2207, 2214-15. Justice Kennedy authored the 4-3 decision, marking the first time he has endorsed a race-conscious approach to admissions. The case is a landmark in that it appears to put to rest the argument that educational institutions can never take race or ethnicity into account in order to achieve educational objectives.

(43.) See, e.g., WILLIAMS, supra note 29; Bethany R. Berger, Red: Racism and the American Indian, 56 UCLA L. REV. 591, 593 (2009); Goldberg, supra note 21, at 1392-94; Addie C. Rolnick, The Promise of Mancari: Indian Political Rights as Racial Remedy, 86 N.Y.U. L. REV. 958, 969-74 (2011).

(44.) This Article does not address a related question: whether, once tribes are recognized as governments under the Constitution, they are required to maintain membership requirements based on ancestry or lineal descent. My own position is that the Constitution imposes no such requirement. After the initial point of origin, tribes, like other governments, should be free to define citizenship in ways consistent with their values as nations. For scholarly support for this position, see Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Tribal Membership and Indian Nationhood, 37 AM. INDIAN L. REV. 1, 12 (2012-2013). For more on tribal citizenship rules and the functions they serve, see Krakoff, supra note 15, at 321-25. For a study of contemporary challenges in the context of tribal membership decisions, see Gabriel S. Galanda & Ryan D. Dreveskracht, Curing the Tribal Disenrollment Epidemic In Search of a Remedy, 57 ARIZ. L. REV. 383 (2015).

(45.) Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs, 81 Fed. Reg. 26, 826 (May 4, 2016).

(46.) See COHEN'S HANDBOOK, supra note 24, at 1-2 (providing an overview of the many sources of law governing the tribal-federal relationship).

(47.) Recently, egregious acts of racism by non-Indians against Native Americans have included burning a Native homeless man, cursing and yelling "go back to the reservation" at Native American children, and other violence and abuse targeted at Native people. See, e.g., Simon Moya-Smith, Beer Poured on Students, Told to "Go Back to the Reservation" at Hockey Game, INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY MEDIA NETWORK (Jan. 28, 2015),; Sheena Louise Roetman, Couple Allegedly Set Homeless Native American Man on Fire, Police Say, INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY MEDIA NETWORK (July 30, 2015), For a thorough account of egregious racism in a town bordering the Navajo Nation, see RODNEY BARKER, THE BROKEN CIRCLE: A TRUE STORY OF MURDER AND MAGIC IN INDIAN COUNTRY chs. 1-8 (1992). These types of racist acts are, in theory anyway, redressable under civil rights laws and, if perpetrated by state actors, subject to strict scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause.

(48.) See Valencia-Weber, supra note 37, at 341-43.

(49.) See Morton v. Mancari, 417 U.S. 535, 555 (1974); Bethany R. Berger, Reconciling Equal Protection and Federal Indian Law, 98 CALIF. L. REV. 1165, 1187 (2010).

(50.) See Navajo Nation v. New Mexico, 975 F.2d 741, 743-45 (10th Cir. 1992); Natonabah v. Bd. of Educ., 355 F. Supp. 716, 724 (D.N.M. 1973); COHEN'S HANDBOOK, supra note 24, [section] 14.02[2][b], at 936-37.

(51.) SeeFisher v. Univ. of Tex. at Austin, 136 S. Ct. 2198, 2208, 2210 (2016) (summarizing the test in the context of a challenge to a public university's affirmative action program).

(52.) Mancari, 417 U.S. at 537, 555.

(53.) Id. at 542-43.

(54.) Id. at 553 n.24 (quoting 44 BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS MANUAL [section] 3.1, at 335 (1974)).

(55.) Id.

(56.) See Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1058.

(57.) See Berger, supra note 49, at 1187-88; Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1082; Rolnick, supra note 43, at 969-74; see also Carole Goldberg, American Indians and "Preferential" Treatment, 49 UCLA L. REV. 943,973 (2002).

(58.) See Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1083-85.

(59.) COHEN'S HANDBOOK, supra note 24, [section] 14.03[2][b], at 954 (quoting Mancari, 417 U.S. at 555).

(60.) 417 U.S. at 554.

(61.) Id.

(62.) Id. at 555.

(63.) Id.

(64.) 430 U.S. 641 (1977).

(65.) For the current version of the relevant provisions, see 18 U.S.C. [section] 1153 (2015).

(66.) See Antelope, 430 U.S. at 644-45 (describing the differences between the state and federal laws applicable to the Antelope defendants).

(67.) Id. at 644.

(68.) Id. at 645-47.

(69.) See Berger, supra note 49, at 1187; Rolnick, supra note 43, at 993-94.

(70.) Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1059.

(71.) See Washington v. Confederated Bands & Tribes of the Yakima Indian Nation, 439 U.S. 463, 501-02 (1979); Del. Tribal Bus. Comm. v. Weeks, 430 U.S. 73, 85-90 (1977) (rejecting an equal protection challenge by a group of Delawares to a federal statute that had excluded them from an award from the Indian Claims Commission).

(72.) See Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1058-59; Rolnick, supra note 43, at 993.

(73.) See Villazor, supra note 25, at 819-24.

(74.) See id.

(75.) As I have discussed elsewhere, however, the formulaic application of the Mancari rule has also informed current efforts to revive judicial scrutiny in ways that would not further tribal interests. See Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1059 n.85, 1125-27.

(76.) See United States v. Antelope, 430 U.S. 641, 642-44 (1977); see also United States v. Zepeda, 792 F.3d 1103, 1109 (9th Cir. 2015); United States v. Broncheau, 597 F.2d 1260, 1265 (9th Cir. 1979).

(77.) See Goldberg, supra note 21, at 1375 (criticizing challenges to Indian programs that use "racialization to trigger strict scrutiny under equal protection law and thereby to deny Indians the benefit of federal measures enacted to compensate for or reverse prior harms").

(78.) See 25 U.S.C. [section] 1903(4) (2015) (defining Indian children for the purposes of the Act).

(79.) Id. [section] 1901(4).

(80.) H.R. REP. No. 95-1386, at 8-9 (1978); S. REP. No. 95-597, at 11-13 (1977).

(81.) See H.R. REP. No. 95-1386, at 8-12.

(82.) COHEN'S HANDBOOK, supra note 24, [section] 11.01[2], at 832.

(83.) See Barbara Landis, Carlisle Indian Industrial School History, CARLISLE INDIAN INDUS. SCH., (last visited Feb. 2, 2017). This quotation is attributed to the Carlisle School's founder, Richard Henry Pratt. Pratt did not say precisely those words, but his mission in founding the school in 1879 was unabashedly assimilationist. Pratt, like many reformers of his era, believed that the only way to save Indians was to force them to adopt white ways. See generally Rennard Strickland, Friends and Enemies of the American Indian: An Essay Review on Native American Law and Public Policy, 3 Am. INDIAN L. REV. 313 (1975) (describing the assimilationist strategies of nineteenth-century reformers). Landis, a historian of the Carlisle School, quotes a letter by Pratt responding to a request for "Indian stories" that was the likely source of the quotation:

   The author of the letter evidently has the idea of Indians that
   Buffalo Bill and other showmen keep alive, by hiring the
   reservation wild man to dress in his most hideous costume of
   feathers, paint, moccasins, blanket, leggins, and scalp lock, and
   to display his savagery, by hair lifting war-whoops make those who
   pay to see him, think he is a blood-thirsty creature ready to
   devour people alive. It is this nature in our red brother that is
   better dead than alive, and when we agree with the oft-repeated
   sentiment that the only good Indian is a dead one, we mean this
   characteristic of the Indian. Carlisle's mission is to kill THIS
   Indian, as we build up the better man. We give the rising Indian
   something nobler and higher to think about and do, and he comes out
   a young man with the ambitions and aspirations of his more favored
   white brother. We do not like to keep alive the stories of his
   past, hence deal more with his present and his future.

Landis, supra (emphasis added).

(84.) COHEN'S HANDBOOK, supra note 24, [section] 11.01[1], at 830.

(85.) 25 U.S.C. [section] 1911(a) (2015) (giving Indian tribes exclusive jurisdiction over custody proceedings involving Indian children who reside on or are domiciled within the tribe's reservation or who are already wards of the tribal court, regardless of residence or domicile).

(86.) Id. [section] 1911(b)-(c).

(87.) See id. [section] 1912(d)-(f).

(88.) Id. [section] 1915(a)-(b) (addressing placement preferences for adoptive and foster care, respectively).

(89.) See Morton v. Mancari, 417 U.S. 535, 555 (1974).

(90.) 25 U.S.C.[section] 1903(4).

(91.) Id. [section] 1903(3).

(92.) See Mancari, 417 U.S. at 553 n.24.

(93.) See id. at 555.

(94.) See Gordon E. Limb et al., An Empirical Examination of the Indian Child Welfare Act and Its Impact on Cultural and Familial Preservation for American Indian Children, 28 CHILD ABUSE & NEGLECT 1279, 1280-82 (2004) (concluding that ICWA compliance showed promise for implementation of key family preservation provisions); see also Ann E. MacEachron et al., The Effectiveness of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, 70 SOC. SERV. REV. 451, 454-60 (1996) (showing decreases in state adoption rates and state foster care placement rates for American Indian children between 1975 and 1986). Most studies of ICWA, including a 2005 Government Accountability Office report, note that insufficient recordkeeping and data collection hamper assessments of ICWA compliance and outcomes. See U.S. GOV'T ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE, GAO-05-290, INDIAN CHILD WELFARE ACT: EXISTING INFORMATION ON IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES COULD BE USED TO TARGET GUIDANCE AND ASSISTANCE TO STATES 4-5 (2005), new.items/d05290.pdf; MARGARET C. PLANTZ ET AL., CSR, INC. & THREE FEATHERS ASSOCS., INDIAN CHILD WELFARE: A STATUS REPORT 254 (1988), ?id=ED302352.

(95.) See Limb et al., supra note 94, at 1280-81 ("ICWA is important because it not only clarifies jurisdictional authority, but it also mandates that 'American Indian definitions of family be used as [a] guide for child welfare matters.' Therefore, American Indians, through passage of ICWA, began setting the stage for an updated orientation toward family preservation in national child welfare matters." (quoting JOHN G. RED HORSE ET AL., FAMILY PRESERVATION: CONCEPTS IN AMERICAN INDIAN COMMUNITIES 18 (2000),

(96.) 25 U.S.C.[section] 1912(d).

(97.) See DOROTHY ROBERTS, SHATTERED BONDS: THE COLOR OF CHILD WELFARE, at v-x (2002) (documenting the destructive state role in removing children from African American families); Clare Huntington, Rights Myopia in Child Welfare, 53 UCLA L. REV. 637, 67287 (2006) (discussing the benefits of a problem-solving approach to child welfare that incorporates the entire family).

(98.) See, e.g., Doe v. Piper, 165 F. Supp. 3d 789 (D. Minn. 2016) (challenging the notice and intervention provisions of the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act); Nat'l Council for Adoption v. Jewell, 156 F. Supp. 3d 727 (E.D. Va. 2015) (challenging the BIA's 2015 guidelines for implementing ICWA); Verified Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief at 2, Doe v. Pruitt, No. 2015-CV-471-JED-FHM, 2015 WL 7259553 (N.D. Okla. Aug. 19, 2015) (challenging the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Oklahoma Indian Child Welfare Act).

(99.) Civil Rights Class Action Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief at 1-3, 2125, Carter ex rel. A.D. v. Washburn, No. 2:15-cv-01259-DKD (D. Ariz. July 6, 2015).

(100.) Id. at 3-4.

(101.) Id. at 7-9, 21-23.

(102.) Id. at 9.

(103.) See Brief for Petitioners at 43-47, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 133 S. Ct. 2552 (2013) (No. 12-399); Brief for Guardian ad Litem, as Representative of Respondent Baby Girl, Supporting Reversal at 53-55, Adoptive Couple, 133 S. Ct. 2552 (No. 12-399).

(104.) See, e.g., Megan Lindsey, What About Veronica?: A Look into Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, JURIST (May 6, 2013, 2:15 PM ET),; Bill Mears, Justices Rule for Adoptive Couple in Native-American Custody Dispute, CNN (June 26, 2013, 9:46 AM ET),; Josh Voorhees, The Long, Complicated "Baby Veronica" Saga Comes to an Unsatisfying End, SLATE (July 17, 2013, 8:54 PM), ronic a_back.html.

(105.) Adoptive Couple, 133 S. Ct. at 2558.

(106.) See Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 731 S.E.2d 550, 553-54 (S.C. 2012) (recounting the actions by the birth mother and the adoptive parents' lawyers that concealed the biological father's status as a tribal member, as well as the biological father's testimony that he would not have told the birth mother that he would relinquish his rights had he known she planned to give the baby up for adoption), rev'd, 133 S. Ct. 2552 (2013). For more detailed accounts of the facts of the case, see Bethany R. Berger, In the Name of the Child: Race, Gender, and Economics in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 67 FLA. L. REV. 295, 296-300(2015); and Krakoff, supra note 15, at 299-303.

(107.) Adoptive Couple, 731 S.E.2d at 554.

(108.) Id. at 555.

(109.) Id.

(110.) Id. (alterations in original).

(111.) Id.

(112.) Id. at 555-56, 567.

(113.) See id. at 552, 556.

(114.) Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 133 S. Ct. 2552, 2557 (2013); see also Berger, supra note 106, at 297-98, 311-15, 318-19; Jessica Di Palma, Comment, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl: The Supreme Court's Distorted Interpretation of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, 47 Loy. L.A. L. REV. 523, 534-36 (2014). But see Adoptive Couple, 133 S. Ct. at 2572-86 (Sotomayor, J., dissenting) (criticizing the majority opinion's approach to statutory interpretation).

(115.) Adoptive Couple, 133 S. Ct. at 2556 (emphasis added).

(116.) Id. at 2559.

(117.) Id. at 2565.

(118.) Id.

(119.) See Tribal Citizenship, CHEROKEE NATION, (last visited Feb. 2, 2017).

(120.) Adoptive Couple, 133 S. Ct. at 2556 (emphasis added).

(121.) 25 U.S.C. [section] 1903(3)-(4) (2015); see also supra text accompanying notes 89-92.

(122.) See supra text accompanying notes 89-92.

(123.) See 25 U.S.C. [section] 1901(2)-(5); H.R. Rep. No. 95-1386, at 1-2, 9-11 (1978); S. REP. No. 95-597, at 1-2, 9-13(1977).

(124.) See In re Santos Y., 112 Cal. Rptr. 2d 692, 697, 716-23 (Ct. App. 2001); In re Bridget R., 49 Cal. Rptr. 2d 507, 515-16 (Ct. App. 1996).

(125.) See In re A.J.S., 204 P.3d 543, 551 (Kan. 2009) (rejecting the doctrine and overturning an earlier Kansas case that had adopted it); Lorie M. Graham, "The Past Never Vanishes": A Contextual Critique of the Existing Indian Family Doctrine, 23 AM. INDIAN L. REV. 1, 34-43 (1998).

(126.) 49 Cal. Rptr. 2d at 517.

(127.) Id. at 515, 518.

(128.) Id. at 518.

(129.) Id. at 526.

(130.) 112 Cal. Rptr. 2d 692, 699 (Ct. App. 2001).

(131.) Id. at 697-98.

(132.) Id. at 702-07.

(133.) Id. at 706-12.

(134.) Id. at 725.

(135.) Id. at 726.

(136.) Id.

(137.) Id. at 726-31; see Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 133 S. Ct. 2552,2556,2559, 2565 (2013).

(138.) Even within California, there is no consensus. See Adoption of Hannah S., 48 Cal. Rptr. 3d 605, 609-11 (Ct. App. 2006) (rejecting the existing Indian family doctrine and an equal protection challenge to ICWA); In re Alicia S., 76 Cal. Rptr. 2d 121, 126-29 (Ct. App. 1998) (rejecting the existing Indian family doctrine).

(139.) See In re A.B., 663 N.W.2d 625, 635-36 (N.D. 2003); In re Baby Boy L, 103 P.3d 1099, 1107 (Okla. 2004).

(140.) In re A.B., 663 N.W.2d at 636 (citations omitted).

(141.) In re Baby Boy L, 103 P.3d at 1107.

(142.) The sixteen states where courts or legislatures have rejected (or refused to adopt) the existing Indian family doctrine by case law or statute are Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington. See In re Adoption of T.N.F., 781 P.2d 973, 977-78 (Alaska 1989); Michael J. v. Michael J., 7 P.3d 960, 963-64 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2000); In re N.B., 199 P.3d 16, 20-22 (Colo. App. 2007); In re Baby Boy Doe, 849 P.2d 925, 931-32 (Idaho 1993); In re Adoption of S.S., 657 N.E.2d 935, 943 (111. 1995) (applying ICWA notwithstanding arguments in favor of adopting a version of the existing Indian family doctrine); In re R.E.K.F., 698 N.W.2d 147, 151 (Iowa 2005) ("A state court does not have discretion to determine the applicability of ... this chapter to a child custody proceeding based upon whether an Indian child is part of an existing Indian family." (alteration in original) (quoting IOWA CODE [section] 232B.5(2))); In re A.J.S., 204 P.3d 543, 547-51 (Kan. 2009) (overruling In re Adoption of Baby Boy L., 643 P.2d 168 (Kan. 1982)); In re Elliott, 554 N.W.2d 32, 35-37 (Mich. Ct. App. 1996); In re Welfare of S.N.R., 617 N.W.2d 77, 83-84 (Minn. Ct. App. 2000); In re Adoption of Riffle, 922 P.2d 510, 51314 (Mont. 1996); In re Adoption of a Child of Indian Heritage, 543 A.2d 925, 931-32 (N.J. 1988); In re A.B., 663 N.W.2d at 635-36; In re Baby Boy L, 103 P.3d at 1107 (overruling In re Adoption of D.M.J., 741 P.2d 1386 (Okla. 1985)); In re Adoption of Baade, 462 N.W.2d 485, 489-90 (S.D. 1990); State ex rei. D.A.C., 933 P.2d 993, 998-1000 (Utah Ct. App. 1997); see also WASH. REV. CODE [section] 26.33.040(1)(a)-(b) (2016) (superseding In re Adoption of Crews, 825 P.2d 305 (Wash. 1992)). One of New York's intermediate courts has also rejected the doctrine. In re Baby Boy C, 805 N.Y.S.2d 313, 318-27 (App. Div. 2005). Courts in six states have applied the doctrine: Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, and Tennessee. See S.A. v. E.J.P., 571 So. 2d 1187, 1189-90 (Ala. Civ. App. 1990); In re Adoption of T.R.M., 525 N.E.2d 298, 303 (Ind. 1988); In re Hampton, 658 So. 2d 331, 333-37 (La. Ct. App. 1995); In re S.A.M., 703 S.W.2d 603, 608-09 (Mo. Ct. App. 1986); In re Parental Rights as to N.J., 221 P.3d 1255, 1264 (Nev. 2009); In re Morgan, No. 02A01 -9608-CH-00206,1997 WL 716880, at *16-17 (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 19, 1997).

(143.) See, e.g., In re Alicia S., 76 Cal. Rptr. 2d at 126-29; In re A.J.S., 204 P.3d at 549-51.

(144.) See Barbara Ann Atwood, Flashpoints Under the Indian Child Welfare Act Toward a New Understanding of State Court Resistance, 51 EMORY L.J. 587, 624-36 (2002); Graham, supra note 125, at 34-43.

(145.) Graham, supra note 125, at 39-42.

(146.) See id. at 41-42.

(147.) See id.

(148.) See, e.g., In re Alicia S., 76 Cal. Rptr. 2d at 88 ("We share the court's concern for a dependent child's interests in permanence and stability ... But we believe this concern can and should be accommodated by the ICWA without resort to the existing Indian family doctrine's strained interpretation of the Act.").

(149.) In re A.J.S., 204 P.3d 543, 551 (Kan. 2009) (noting that the Act's placement preferences include a "good cause" exception); see 25 U.S.C. [section] 1915(a) (2015) ("In any adoptive placement of an Indian child under State law, a preference shall be given, in the absence of good cause to the contrary, to a placement with (1) a member of the child's extended family; (2) other members of the Indian child's tribe; or (3) other Indian families." (emphasis added)).

(150.) In re Bridget R., 49 Cal. Rptr. 2d 507, 517 (Ct. App. 1996); Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 731 S.E.2d 550, 554 (S.C. 2012), rev'd, 133 S. Ct. 2552 (2013); see also Graham, supra note 125, at 37 (noting that in In re Bridget R., "the attorney went so far as to urge the father to remove any reference to his Native American ancestry from the adoption forms").

(151.) See Christine Metteer, The Existing Indian Family Exception: An Impediment to the Trust Responsibility to Preserve Tribal Existence and Culture as Manifested in the Indian Child Welfare Act, 30 Loy. L.A. L. REV. 647, 657-58 (1997) (discussing the attorney in In re Bridget R., who told his Native American client to lie about the client's heritage to make the adoption process easier); Karen Gray Young, Note, Do We Have It Right This Time?: An Analysis of the Accomplishments and Shortcomings of Washington's Indian Child Welfare Act, 11 SEATTLE J. FOR SOC. JUST. 1229, 1252-53 (2013) (discussing statistics documenting noncompliance with ICWA in various states).

(152.) As director of the American Indian Law Clinic at the University of Colorado Law School from 1996 to 1999, 1 litigated ICWA cases that had each of these outcomes. See also Amendments to the Indian Child Welfare Act Hearing Before the S. Comm, on Indian Affairs, 104th Cong. 134 (1996) (statement of W. Ron Allen, President, National Congress of American Indians) ("Our tribes have taken the position that ICWA works well and, despite some highly publicized cases, continues to work well."); id. at 26 (statement of Seth Waxman, Associate Deputy Att'y Gen., United States Department of Justice) ("Under ICWA, courts are able to tailor foster care and adoptive placements of Indian children to meet the best interests of children, families and tribes. We understand that the vast majority of these cases are adjudicated without significant problems.").

(153.) See, e.g., Brief of Casey Family Programs et al. as Amici Curiae in Support of Respondent Birth Father at 2-5, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 133 S. Ct. 2552 (2013) (No. 12-399).

(154.) See Krakoff, supra note 15, at 326-28.

(155.) See, e.g., Artichoke Joe's Cal. Grand Casino v. Norton, 353 F.3d 712, 731-36 (9th Cir. 2003) (rejecting an equal protection challenge to state-tribal gaming compacts under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act); see also Native Am. Arts, Inc. v. Mangalick Enters., 633 F. Supp. 2d 591, 594-95 (N.D. III. 2009) (rejecting an equal protection challenge to the Indian Arts and Crafts Act).

(156.) 693 F.3d 1,4-6 (1st Cir. 2012) (describing the claims and state statutory scheme).

(157.) See id. at 17-25 (analyzing the equal protection claim); KG Urban Enters, v. Patrick, Civil Action No. 11-12070-NMG, 2014 WL 108307, at *8-12 (D. Mass. Jan. 9, 2014) (ruling against the plaintiffs but accepting their framing of the question concerning whether a preference for tribes is a discriminatory racial preference); KG Urban Enters, v. Patrick, 839 F. Supp. 2d 388, 402-05 (D. Mass. 2012) (applying Mancari but questioning its approach), aff'd in part, vacated in part, and remanded, 693 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2012).

(158.) See Adoptive Couple, 133 S. Ct. at 2556.

(159.) See Gregory Smith & Caroline Mayhew, Apocalypse Now: The Unrelenting Assault on Morton v. Mancari, FED. Law., Apr. 2013, at 47,48, 55.

(160.) Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, Pub. L. No. 100-497, 102 Stat. 2467 (1988) (codified as amended at 25 U.S.C. [section][section] 2701-2721 (2015)).

(161.) California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, 480 U.S. 202, 216-19, 221-22 (1987).

(162.) See 25 U.S.C. [section] 2702.

(163.) Id. [section] 2703(6)-(8) (defining class III gaming); id. [section] 2710(d) (describing the conditions for class III gaming, including the state compact requirement).

(164.) Id. [section] 2710(d)(3)(A).

(165.) KG Urban Enters, v. Patrick, 93 F.3d 1,4 (1st Cir. 2012).

(166.) Id.

(167.) Id. at 6,11 & nn.7-8.

(168.) Id. at 12.

(169.) KG Urban Enters, v. Patrick, 839 F. Supp. 2d 388, 404-05 (D. Mass. 2012), affd in part, vacated in part, and remanded, 693 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2012).

(170.) Id. at 404.

(171.) Id.

(172.) Id.

(173.) Id.

(174.) The dominant reading of the Indian Commerce Clause is that it authorizes very broad authority in Indian affairs. See United States v. Lara, 541 U.S. 193, 200 (2004); Cotton Petroleum Corp. v. New Mexico, 490 U.S. 163, 192 (1989). Recent scholarship has questioned whether the power is as boundless as the Court suggests, but even a cabined understanding of congressional authority in Indian affairs would include legislation addressing tribal powers to conduct economic enterprises. See Ablavsky, supra note 24, at 1028-32 (discussing the historical understanding of "commerce" in the context of Indian affairs); see also Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 133 S. Ct. 2552, 2566-67 (2013) (Thomas, J., concurring) (arguing for a narrow understanding of congressional power in Indian affairs but one that nonetheless would include commercial interactions with tribes).

(175.) KG Urban, 839 F. Supp. 2d at 407.

(176.) See supra Part I.A.

(177.) See supra Part I.A.

(178.) KG Urban, 839 F. Supp. 2d at 403-04; In re Santos Y., 112 Cal. Rptr. 2d 692, 726-30 (Ct. App. 2001); In re Bridget R., 49 Cal. Rptr. 2d 507, 527-28 (Ct. App. 1996).

(179.) KG Urban Enters, v. Patrick, 693 F.3d 1, 19-20 (1st Cir. 2012).

(180.) Id. at 25-28. The Mashpee Tribe, one of the federally recognized tribes in southeast Massachusetts, had begun negotiations for a gaming compact and was awaiting a decision on whether its land would be taken into trust by the federal government. See id. at 25-26.

(181.) KG Urban Enters, v. Patrick, Civil Action No. 11-12070-NMG, 2014 WL 108307, at *810 (D. Mass. Jan. 9, 2014).

(182.) See KG Urban, 69S F.3d at 18-20 (stating correctly that states lack the authority to set Indian policy but then mistakenly concluding that states therefore engage in race-based discrimination simply by acknowledging tribes as governments and accommodating that unique status).

(183.) This principle has been in place since Chief Justice Marshall wrote the opinion in Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U.S. (6 Pet.) 515 (1832). The general topic of limitations on state regulation in Indian country comprises a significant portion of federal Indian law, and a full treatment is beyond the scope of this Article. See COHEN'S HANDBOOK, supra note 24, [section] 6.03[1][a], at 511-13 (describing the general rule that states lack authority in Indian country); id. [section] 6.03[1][b], at 514-17 (providing exceptions to that general rule).

(184.) See Washington v. Confederated Bands & Tribes of the Yakima Indian Nation, 439 U.S. 463, 501-02 (1979) (holding that a state law passed in furtherance of a federal statute authorizing state criminal jurisdiction in Indian country does not violate tribal members' rights to equal protection); see also Peyote Way Church of God, Inc. v. Thornburgh, 922 F.2d 1210, 1214-15, 1218-20 (5th Cir. 1991); St. Paul Intertribal Hous. Bd. v. Reynolds, 564 F. Supp. 1408, 1411-13 (D. Minn. 1983); N.Y. Ass'n of Convenience Stores v. Urbach, 699 N.E.2d 904, 908 (N.Y. 1998) ("[W]hile 'States do not enjoy th[e] same unique relationship,' they may adopt laws and policies to reflect or effectuate Federal laws designed 'to readjust the allocation of jurisdiction over Indians' without opening themselves to the charge that they have engaged in race-based discrimination." (second alteration in original) (quoting Yakima Indian Nation, 439 U.S. at 501)).

(185.) See Artichoke Joe's Cal. Grand Casino v. Norton, 353 F.3d 712, 733-35 (9th Cir. 2003) (upholding against an equal protection challenge a state law granting a monopoly on casino-style gaming to tribes); see also COHEN'S HANDBOOK, supra note 24, [section] 6.04[l]-[2], at 530-36 (summarizing the federal power to authorize state jurisdiction and its limitations).

(186.) See KG Urban, 693 F.3d at 19-20.

(187.) See id. at 4-5.

(188.) See id. at 4-7.

(189.) See id.

(190.) See Artichoke Joe's, 353 F.3d at 733-35.

(191.) 347 U.S. 483 (1954).

(192.) See Robert L. Rabin, Federal Regulation in Historical Perspective, 38 STAN. L. REV. 1189, 1259-62 (1986) (discussing post-Lochner decisions in which the Supreme Court upheld regulations of economic activity); see also City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Ctr., Inc., 473 U.S. 432, 440 (1985) ("When social or economic legislation is at issue, the Equal Protection Clause allows the States wide latitude. ...").

(193.) See Cleburne, 473 U.S. at 440 ("The general rule is that legislation is presumed to be valid and will be sustained if the classification drawn by the statute is rationally related to a legitimate state interest.").

(194.) See id. (stating that classifications based on race, alienage, national origin, "personal rights protected by the Constitution," and gender are subject to higher levels of scrutiny).

(195.) See Fisher v. Univ. of Tex. at Austin, 136 S. Ct. 2198, 2208 (2016) (stating that heightened scrutiny applies to state higher education affirmative action plans that consider race); Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, 515 U.S. 200, 236 (1995) (holding that affirmative action plans for federal contracts must meet strict scrutiny); City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co., 488 U.S. 469, 493-95 (1989) (plurality opinion) (applying strict scrutiny to a city affirmative action plan).

(196.) See Reva B. Siegel, Equality Talk: Antisubordination and Anticlassification Values in Constitutional Struggles over Brown, 117 HARV. L. REV. 1470, 1476-78 (2004) (describing how equal protection law evolved from expressing antisubordination to anticlassification norms in the five decades after Brown). More recently, Siegel has argued that a third approach has emerged, which she labels "antibalkanization." Reva B. Siegel, From Colorblindness to Antibalkanization: An Emerging Ground of Decision in Race Equality Cases, 120 YALE L.J. 1278, 1282, 1300-03 (2011) (arguing that the Supreme Court's "race moderates" embrace a view of equal protection that recognizes historical racial injustice but aims for solutions that promote social cohesion).

(197.) See Fisher, 136 S. Ct. at 2207, 2214 (upholding the university's affirmative action program on the grounds that the holistic admissions process used race only as one subfactor among many and was narrowly tailored to meet the state's substantial objective of providing diverse educational experiences); see also Helen Norton, The Supreme Court's Post-Racial Turn Towards a Zero-Sum Understanding of Equality, 52 WM. & MARY L. REV. 197,231-35 (2010) (analyzing affirmative action cases).

(198.) See Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584, 2606-08 (2015). Obergefell built on previous cases that recognized associational, privacy, and due process rights for gays and lesbians, but the rhetorical structure of Obergefell is in many ways analogous to Justice Brennan's equal protection approach in Plyler v. Doe, which struck down laws that banned the children of undocumented immigrants from attending public schools. 457 U.S. 202, 222-26 (1982). Like Plyler, Obergefell asks whether a combination of values and factors calls for judicial intervention in a scheme that treats some people differently from others. The Obergefell opinion might be a sign that the Court remains committed to interrogating how laws instigate and perpetuate status-based inequality rather than simply identifying certain formal categories of distinction. It is more likely, however, that Obergefell is singular, reflecting Justice Kennedy's particular concern for discrimination against gays and lesbians, as well as his interest in promoting individual dignity. See Russell K. Robinson, Unequal Protection, 68 Stan. L. Rev. 151,165 (2016) (describing Obergefell and related precedents as announcing that "sexual orientation enjoys a tier of its own"); see also Bharat Malkhani, Dignity and the Death Penalty in the United States Supreme Court, 44 HASTINGS CONST. L.Q. 145, 192 (2017) (describing Justice Kennedy's conceptions of dignity).

(199.) Fisher, 136 S. Ct. at 2207 (quoting Fisher v. Univ. of Tex. at Austin, 645 F. Supp. 2d 587, 608 (W.D. Tex. 2009)).

(200.) Note that this leaves open the possibility that if a federal classification concerning tribes or tribal members does not further the unique relationship between tribes and the federal government, then it should be subject to some form of heightened scrutiny. As discussed above, this avenue, though seemingly closed off by Antelope and its progeny, could be revived consistently with Mancari. See supra notes 69-72 and accompanying text.

(201.) It is worth noting that the Court's approach in Ohergefell and Plyler led it to strike down state and local laws. The added justificatory burden in those cases--to explain why federal judges should overturn state and local democratic decisions--is absent for courts applying Mancari. The Mancari approach defers to, rather than undermines, Congress. Deference to the political branches is thus another reason for the Court to maintain its current rational basis review of laws that further Congress's unique relationship with tribes.

(202.) See Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1070, 1122-31.

(203.) See Berger, supra note 43, at 593; see also Renee Ann Cramer, The Common Sense of Anti-Indian Racism: Reactions to Mashantucket Pequot Success in Gaming and Acknowledgment, 31 Law & Soc. Inquiry 313, 317-19 (2006) (summarizing scholarship that explores and catalogues the racist stereotypes that drove colonial and postcolonial policies of Indian dispossession and that continue to pervade contemporary culture and views).

(204.) See Eva Marie Garroutte, Real Indians: IDENTITY AND THE SURVIVAL OF NATIVE AMERICA 21-37 (2003); Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1067-70.

(205.) See Cramer, supra note 203, at 316-17. Cramer builds on Ian Haney Lopez's vocabulary of a "common sense" of racism, by which he means the ways that racist constructs have infiltrated American views of the world and therefore become naturalized. See id. (citing IAN F. HANEY LOPEZ, RACISM ON TRIAL: THE CHICANO FIGHT FOR JUSTICE 119 (2003)).

(206.) See Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 133 S. Ct. 2552, 2565 (2013) ("[U]nder the State Supreme Court's reading, the Act would put certain vulnerable children at a great disadvantage solely because an ancestor--even a remote one--was an Indian.").

(207.) See KG Urban Enters, v. Patrick, 839 F. Supp. 2d 388, 404 (D. Mass. 2012), affd in part, vacated in part, and remanded, 693 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2012); see also Cramer, supra note 203, at 325-26. Cramer makes the additional observation that lurking beneath this misunderstanding of tribes as collections of individuals connected solely "by blood" is the ironically complementary suspicion that they are not really Indian at all. In analyzing the backlash to tribal recognition that resulted from the economic success of the Mashantucket Pequot's gaming enterprise, Cramer observed:

   Mashantucket Pequot's "inauthentic" Indian identity becomes its own
   disabling certitude; alluding to the Mashantucket Pequot tribe
   becomes shorthand for "undeserving" and "inauthentic" Indians.
   Anti-Mashantucket Pequot rhetoric becomes anti-Indian rhetoric; in
   the new common sense racism fueled by casino success, the Pequots
   are a trope for everything a "real" Indian is not.

Id. at 325.

(208.) See supra Part I.A.

(209.) See supra Part I.B.

(210.) Morton v. Mancari, 417 U.S. 535, 553-54 (1974).

(211.) See Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs, 81 Fed. Reg. 26,826 (May 4, 2016); COHEN'S HANDBOOK, supra note 24, [section] 4.01[1][a], at 207.

(212.) See Mancari, 417 U.S. at 552.

(213.) See Fletcher, supra note 7, at 164-70. See generally ROBERT A. WILLIAMS, JR., LINKING ARMS TOGETHER: AMERICAN INDIAN TREATY VISIONS OF LAW AND PEACE, 1600-1800 (1997) (documenting the bilateral nature of treaty negotiations between the United States and Indian tribes).

(214.) The textual sources are the Treaty and Commerce Clauses. See U.S. CONST, art. I, [section] 8, cl. 3; id. art. II, [section] 2, cl. 2. Some scholars have argued that international law also provides justification for, as well as inherent limitations on, federal power in Indian affairs. See Frickey, supra note 24, at 55-56, 64, 74-75 (arguing that, to the extent that federal power over Indian affairs is extraconstitutional, international law is its source and also implies limitations on its scope). Others contend that congressional power is limited based on varying interpretive theories. See Robert N. Clinton, There Is No Federal Supremacy Clause for Indian Tribes, 34 ARIZ. ST. L.J. 113, 115-18 (2002) ("[T]here is no acceptable, historically-derived, textual constitutional explanation for the exercise of any federal authority over Indian tribes without their consent manifested through treaty."); Nell Jessup Newton, Federal Power over Indians: Its Sources, Scope, and Limitations, 132 U. PA. L. REV. 195, 197 (1984) (contending that the historical basis for a broad understanding of congressional power in Indian affairs is "no longer applicable"); Robert A. Williams, Jr., The Algebra of Federal Indian Law: The Hard Trial of Decolonizing and Americanizing the White Man's Indian Jurisprudence, 1986 WIS. L. REV. 219, 265 (arguing that federal power should be rejected wholesale as irremediably genocidal). Gregory Ablavsky has documented that early Americans did not look to specific constitutional clauses for the source of authority in Indian affairs. Rather, "most of those who drafted and interpreted the Constitution wrote of authority over Indian affairs as an interrelated, coherent bundle of powers." Ablavsky, supra note 24, at 1040.

(215.) Even scholars who are skeptical of tribes' inherent powers or the exclusivity of federal authority in Indian affairs acknowledge some form of political status for tribes and some degree of federal authority in Indian affairs. See Robert G. Natelson, The Original Understanding of the Indian Commerce Clause, 85 DENV. U. L. REV. 201, 259 (2007); Saikrishna Prakash, Against Tribal Fungibility, 89 CORNELL L. Rev. 1069,1072 (2004).

(216.) See Quinn, supra note 26, at 333-38.

(217.) Id. at 336 ("[I]t was usually more clear ... to the person of 1789, or even 1889, exactly who was an Indian and what Indian community was a tribe, than it is to the person of 1989. Thus the question of recognition was more of a non-issue for the first century of the United States than for the second century.").

(218.) Id. at 336-37 (emphasis added).

(219.) See Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U.S. (6 Pet.) 515, 520 (1832) (affirming tribes' status as governments with retained inherent powers to regulate their members and territory); Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, 30 U.S. (5 Pet.) 1,17 (1831) (denominating tribes "domestic dependent nations" based on their status as unique sovereign entities within the U.S. legal framework).

(220.) See supra note 22 and accompanying text.

(221.) A full discussion of the nature of tribal sovereignty under American constitutional law is beyond the scope of my argument. For exemplary scholarship on this topic, see CHARLES F. WILKINSON, AMERICAN INDIANS, TIME, AND THE LAW: NATIVE SOCIETIES IN A MODERN CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY 54-63 (1987). See also Philip P. Frickey, A Common Law for Our Age of Colonialism: The judicial Divestiture of Indian Tribal Authority over Nonmembers, 109 Yale L.J. 1, 8-13(1999).

(222.) See Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 133 S. Ct. 2552, 2584-85 (2013) (Sotomayor, J., dissenting).

(223.) U.S. Const, art. I, [section] 8, cl. 3.

(224.) Id. art. II, [section] 2, cl. 2.

(225.) See Gregory Ablavsky, The Savage Constitution, 63 Duke L.J. 999, 1041-42 (2014) (recounting the history of the Founding and the significance of concerns about consolidating federal power over Indian affairs to the drafting of the Treaty and Supremacy Clauses). Ablavsky argues persuasively that the consolidation of federal power was justified in large part by concerns about Indian tribes and the threats they posed. See id. at 1062-64.

(226.) See WILLIAMS, supra note 213, at 20-21; Ablavsky, supra note 225, at 1002.

(227.) See Ablavsky, supra note 225, at 1002; see also William C. Canby, Jr., The Status of Indian Tribes in American Law Today, 62 WASH. L. REV. 1,2 (1987).

(228.) See Cohen's HANDBOOK, supra note 24, [section] 1.02[1], at 8-17; Felix S. Cohen, Original Indian Title, 32 MINN. L. REV. 28, 43-47 (1947) [hereinafter Cohen, Original Indian Title), Felix S. Cohen, The Spanish Origin of Indian Rights in the Law of the United States, 31 GEO. L.J. 1, 20 (1942) [hereinafter Cohen, Spanish Origin],

(229.) See Cohen, Spanish Origin, supra note 228, at 17; see also Ablavsky, supra note 24, at 105961 ("There was widespread agreement ... that the law of nations should govern relations between the United States and Natives. It was less clear what the content of that law would be."); Kristen A. Carpenter & Angela R. Riley, Indigenous Peoples and the Jurisgenerative Moment in Human Rights, 102 CALIF. L. REV. 173,181-83 (2014) (describing early international law approaches to contact with indigenous peoples).


(231.) See id. Despite knowing that the lands were populated by indigenous peoples, some colonizing countries adopted the doctrine of terra nullius to justify claiming ownership of indigenous territory and resources. See MATTIAS AHREN, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' STATUS IN THE INTERNATIONAL LEGAL SYSTEM 16-18 (2016).

(232.) Canby, supra note 227, at 2.

(233.) See Ablavsky, supra note 24, at 1059-61; Carpenter & Riley, supra note 229, at 181-83.

(234.) See Ablavsky, supra note 225, at 1002; see also John R. Wunder, "Merciless Indian Savages" and the Declaration of Independence: Native Americans Translate the Ecunnaunuxulgee Document, 25 Am. INDIAN L. Rev. 65, 65-66 (2000-2001) (noting that the grievances against the Crown in the Declaration of Independence included the Crown's failure to mitigate the threat posed by "merciless Indian savages" to the frontier colonies (quoting THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE para. 24 (U.S. 1776))).

(235.) See Joseph William Singer, Sovereignty and Property, 86 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1 (1991) (describing early treatymaking policies, which had the purpose of obtaining land cessions from tribes); see also Cohen, Original Indian Title, supra note 228, at 43-47.

(236.) See 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 543, 573-88 (1823) (discussing the origins of the doctrine, its use by European nations to justify their claims to property occupied by indigenous peoples, and the United States' adoption of it).

(237.) See id.; Ablavsky, supra note 24, at 1071-72 (noting that use of the term "doctrine of discovery" obscures the reality that "[i]n both international law and American practice respecting Native lands, purchase and possession played a far greater role than discovery and conquest"); Cohen, Original Indian Title, supra note 228, at 44-45; see also ROBERT J. MILLER ET AL., DISCOVERING INDIGENOUS LANDS: THE DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY IN THE ENGLISH COLONIES 2-3 (2010) (critiquing the doctrine as it was articulated and exercised in all of the commonwealth countries).

(238.) These Acts are now codified at 25 U.S.C. [section] 177 (2015) and remain in effect with minor revisions. The first Trade and Intercourse Act was passed in 1790, Pub. L. No. 1-33, 1 Stat. 137 (1790), but even it had origins in earlier enactments. One such enactment was the Northwest Ordinance of July 1787, which stated that Indians' land and property

   shall never be taken from them without their consent; and in their
   property, rights and liberty, they never shall be invaded or
   disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorised by Congress;
   but laws founded in justice and humanity shall from time to time be
   made, for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving
   peace and friendship with them.

32 JOURNALS OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, 1774-1789, at 340-41 (Roscoe R. Hill ed., 1936). These statutes were passed both to protect Native peoples' interests and to shore up the federal government's power to regulate relations with tribes and the settlement of the frontier. See COHEN'S HANDBOOK, supra note 24, [section] 1.03[2], at 34-36.

(239.) See Cohen's Handbook, supra note 24, [section] 1.03[2], at 35.

(240.) See Hagan, supra note 26, at 309-10; Quinn, supra note 26, at 352-53.

(241.) See Hagan, supra note 26, at 309.

(242.) Id. (quoting T.J. Morgan, Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, in SIXTY-FIRST ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR 5,31 (1892)).

(243.) Id. at 310.

(244.) See Carpenter & Riley, supra note 229, at 182 ("[M]any of the foundational interactions between indigenous peoples and Europeans occurred pursuant to international law...."); Frickey, supra note 24, at 36-37 (summarizing the international law origins of federal Indian law).

(245.) Robert Williams has thoroughly documented that international law's assumptions--including that indigenous peoples were uncivilized and "savage"--were self-servingly negative in order to justify the unilateral assertion of European, and then American, power. See Williams, supra note 230, at 7; Williams, supra note 32, at 223-36. But perhaps because of these assumptions, and the accompanying presumption and hope that indigenous peoples would not survive, early international law made no effort to identify and define "indigenous peoples" as such.

(246.) See Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1060-77 (summarizing the history of federal definitions of tribes); see also Rebecca Tsosie, American Indians and the Politics of Recognition Soifer on Law, Pluralism, and Group Identity, 22 Law & Soc. Inquiry 359,362 (1997) (book review) (describing how colonial laws and policies shaped the legal construct of Indian tribes to serve the ends of the colonizing regime).

(247.) See Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1060-77.

(248.) See id.

(249.) 231 U.S. 28, 38 (1913).

(250.) See id. at 45-46.

(251.) Id. at 46.

(252.) See id. at 39 (describing the Pueblos as "living in separate and isolated communities, adhering to primitive modes of life," and "essentially a simple, uninformed and inferior people").

(253.) Id. at 47.

(254.) See id.

(255.) 180 U.S. 261,266 (1901).

(256.) Extracting this nondiscriminatory thread from the law of tribal recognition neither justifies nor erases the history of defining tribes as inferior for the purposes of eliminating them. For more on the ineradicability of the racialization of tribes, see Krakoff, supra note 15, at 312-13, which describes how racialization of the Seminole served goals of settling Florida and preventing the settlement of American Indians in the newly acquired territory; and Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1065-75, which describes how inferiority was stitched into the early cases defining tribes.

(257.) See Sandoval, 231 U.S. at 46.

(258.) See COHEN'S HANDBOOK, supra note 24, [section] 3.02[4], at 138-39.

(259.) 528 F.2d 370,372 (1st Cir. 1975).

(260.) Id. at 372-73.

(261.) Id. at 377 n.8. For further analysis of Passamaquoddy and other contemporary cases, see Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1078-81.

(262.) COHEN'S HANDBOOK, supra note 24, [section] 3.02[4], at 138-39 (quoting In re Kansas Indians, 72 U.S. (5 Wall.) 737,755 (1867)).

(263.) See Procedures for Federal Acknowledgment of Indian Tribes, 25 C.F.R. pt. 83 (2016).

(264.) See Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes, 80 Fed. Reg. 37,862 (July 1, 2015) (codified at 25 C.F.R. pt. 83); Procedures for Establishing that an American Indian Group Exists as an Indian Tribe, 59 Fed. Reg. 9280 (Feb. 25, 1994) (codified as amended at 25 C.F.R. pt. 83).

(265.) See Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1076 (discussing the Cohen criteria); Quinn, supra note 26, at 358.

(266.) See Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1075-83 (discussing the Indian Reorganization Act's definition, initial list of tribes, and subsequent need to recognize the many tribes inadvertently omitted from the list); Quinn, supra note 26, at 363; see also COHEN'S HANDBOOK, supra note 24, [section] 3.02[2], at 133.

(267.) 25 C.F.R. [section] 83.1.

(268.) Id. [section] 83.11(a) (italics omitted).

(269.) Id. [section] 83.11(b) (italics omitted).

(270.) Id. [section] 83.11(e) (italics omitted). The other criteria are: "[political influence or authority," a "[g]overning document," "[u]nique membership," and "[c]ongressional termination" (defined as a showing that the tribe was not previously terminated by Congress). Id. [section] 83.11(c), (d), (f), (g) (italics omitted).

(271.) Id. [section] 83.11(a).

(272.) Id. [section] 83.11(b).

(273.) See Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes, 80 Fed. Reg. 37,862, 37,868-69 (July 1, 2015) (codified at 25 C.F.R. pt. 83) (discussing the 2014 proposed changes and justifications for retaining 1900 as the relevant date).

(274.) See id. at 37,867. "Historical times" was not defined with precision, but the understanding was that it referred to any period before which it would have been unnecessary for tribes to appear on any official federal list or otherwise be formally acknowledged by the federal government. See id.

(275.) See id. at 37 ,869.

(276.) See id. at 37, 868.

(277.) Id.

(278.) See generally WALLACE STEGNER, BEYOND THE HUNDREDTH MERIDIAN: JOHN WESLEY POWELL AND THE SECOND OPENING OF THE WEST (Penguin Books 1992) (1954) (chronicling the first nonindigenous mapping and exploration of the Southwest, which did not occur until after the Civil War).

(279.) Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes, 80 Fed. Reg. at 37,863.

(280.) 25 C.F.R.[section] 83.11(e) (2016).

(281.) Sec Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes, 80 Fed. Reg. at 37,866-67. The BIA refers repeatedly to connections to "tribe or tribes" instead of "indigenous peoples." But using the BIA's vocabulary alone begins to sound somewhat circular, given that the regulations are supposed to govern whether the group has met the standard for being recognized as a "tribe." I therefore occasionally substitute "indigenous peoples" for "tribe" in order to explain the BIA regulations more clearly.

(282.) Id.

(283.) Id. at 37,866.

(284.) See id. at 37,866-67.

(285.) The community requirement, political influence or authority requirement, and governing document requirement all reflect the community and political aspects of federal recognition. See 25 C.F.R. [section] 83.11(b)-(d).

(286.) See id. [section] 83.1 1(a)-(b), (e).

(287.) Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes, 80 Fed. Reg. at 37,867.

(288.) Id.

(289.) Rice v. Cayetano, 528 U.S. 495, 514 (2000); see supra note 21 and accompanying text.

(290.) See S. JAMES ANAYA, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN INTERNATIONAL LAW 23-26 (1996); supra note 244 and text accompanying notes 244-46.

(291.) See ANAYA, supra note 290, at 23-26.

(292.) See Frickey, supra note 24, at 55-56.

(293.) Carpenter & Riley, supra note 229, at 175.

(294.) See generally id. (arguing that recent developments in international indigenous human rights law have allowed indigenous peoples to reverse the effects of colonization and oppression).

(295.) Frickey, supra note 24, at 37.

(296.) Cf. id. at 74-78 (arguing that the international law origins of federal power in Indian affairs justify looking to international human rights norms today to inform the development of tribal rights in domestic law).

(297.) Robert A. Williams, Jr., Encounters on the Frontiers of International Human Rights Law: Redefining the Terms of Indigenous Peoples' Survival in the World, 1990 Duke L.J. 660, 663 n.4.

(298.) International Labour Organization, Convention (No. 169) Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, adopted June 27, 1989, 1650 U.N.T.S. 383 (entered into force Sept. 5, 1991) [hereinafter ILO Convention 169].

(299.) See id. pmbl., arts. 3-4, 14-15. The twenty-two countries are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, the Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominica, Ecuador, Fiji, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, and Venezuela. Ratifications of C169: Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169), Int'l Lab. Org., 11300:0::NO:11300:P11300_INSTRUMENT_ID:3123 14:N0 (last visited Feb. 2, 2017).

(300.) See Carpenter & Riley, supra note 229, at 190-91 (describing the history and effects of ILO Convention 169).

(301.) See id.

(302.) See ILO Convention 169, supra note 298, art. 1 (third emphasis added). The use of the term "peoples" rather than "populations" was an intense sticking point during the debate leading up to the adoption of ILO Convention 169 because "peoples" is seen by many to imply greater recognition of group identity than "populations." Anaya, supra note 290, at 48.

(303.) ILO Convention 169, supra note 298, art. 1.

(304.) G.A. Res. 61/295, annex, Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Sept. 13, 2007); see also Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, UNITED NATIONS HUM. RTS.: OFF. HIGH COMMISSIONER, Declaration.aspx (last visited Feb. 2, 2017) (discussing UNDRIP's content and history).

(305.) See G.A. Res. 61/295, supra note 304, art. 1.

(306.) See Carpenter & Riley, supra note 229, at 189-92.

(307.) See U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Who Are Indigenous Peoples? (n.d.),

(308.) Sarah Pritchard, Working Group on Indigenous Populations: Mandate, Standard-Setting Activities and Future Perspectives, in INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, THE UNITED NATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS 40,40-41 (Sarah Pritchard ed., 1998).

(309.) Jose R. Martinez Cobo (Special Rapporteur of the Sub-Comm'n on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities), Study of the Problem of Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations, [paragraph] 379, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1986/7/Add.4 (Mar. 1987) (emphasis added).

(310.) Id. [paragraph] 380.

(311.) See supra Part II.B.1 (discussing United States v. Sandoval, 231 U.S. 28 (1913); and United States v. Montoya, 180 U.S. 261 (1901)).

(312.) See supra Part II.B.1.

(313.) See IAN HANEY LOPEZ, DOG WHISTLE POLITICS: HOW CODED RACIAL APPEALS HAVE REINVENTED RACISM AND WRECKED THE MIDDLE CLASS 36 (2014) (describing how racial beliefs today often operate as "commonsense," as obvious truths that, even though rooted in social structures and cultural beliefs, are accepted as reality); Cramer, supra note 203, at 316-17.

(314.) OMI & WINANT, supra note 31, at 55.

(315.) Id.

(316.) Id. at 54-61.

(317.) Camille Gear Rich, Making the Modern Family: Interracial Intimacy and the Social Production of Whiteness, 127 HARV. L. REV. 1341, 1345 (2014) (reviewing Angela ONWUACHI-WILLIG, ACCORDING TO OUR HEARTS: RHINELANDER V. RHINELANDER AND THE LAW OF THE MULTIRACIAL FAMILY (2013)).

(318.) Laura E. Gomez, President, Law & Soc'y Assn, Looking for Race in All the Wrong Places, Presidential Address at the Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association (June 5, 2011), in 46 LAW & SOC'Y REV. 221,231 (2012).

(319.) See id.

(320.) See id.; see also HANEY LOPEZ, supra note 31, at 134-38.

(321.) See Tsosie, supra note 246, at 363; see also Carole Goldberg-Ambrose, Of Native Americans and Tribal Members: The Impact of Law on Indian Group Life, 28 LAW & SOC'Y REV. 1123, 1125(1994).

(322.) See, e.g., Johnson v. M'Intosh, 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 543, 590-91 (1823) (describing Indians as "fierce savages, whose occupation was war" and likening them to the "game [that] fled into thicker and more unbroken forests"); see also WILLIAMS, supra note 29, at 214.

(323.) Letter from George Washington to James Duane (Sept. 7, 1783), in DOCUMENTS OF UNITED STATES INDIAN POLICY 1,2 (Francis Paul Prucha ed., 3d ed. 2000).


(325.) For a discussion of this quotation and its origins, see note 83 above.

(326.) WOLFE, supra note 324, at 2.

(327.) See id. at 1-2.

(328.) 180 U.S. 261 (1901).

(329.) 231 U.S. 28 (1913).

(330.) See supra Part II.B.l; see also Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1070-74.

(331.) See United States v. Joseph, 94 U.S. 614, 617 (1877) (holding that Pueblos were not tribes because of their advanced state of civilization and therefore were not entitled to the protections of the Nonintercourse Act, which prohibited land sales to non-Indians), abrogated by United States v. Candelaria, 271 U.S. 432 (1926).

(332.) See Goldberg-Ambrose, supra note 321, at 1131-33 (describing how removal policies separated and reconstituted tribes because some members refused to leave their homelands); Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1061-83.

(333.) See GARROUTTE, supra note 204, at 22-37.

(334.) See CHARLES WILKINSON, BLOOD STRUGGLE: THE RISE OF MODERN INDIAN NATIONS, at xiii-xvi (2005); Carpenter & Riley, supra note 229, at 176-78.

(335.) Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 133 S. Ct. 2552,2559 (2013).

(336.) See Cramer, supra note 203, at 325.

(337.) See Morton v. Mancari, 417 U.S. 535 (1974); see also supra Part I (discussing Mancari).

(338.) See Fletcher, supra note 7, at 153-55 (describing the historical origins of tribes' political status); Krakoff, supra note 14, at 1048-51.

(339.) See supra Part II.B.2-3.

(340.) See HANEY LOPEZ, supra note 31, at 1-2; Gomez, supra note 31, at 1397; Rich, supra note 317, at 1354-55; Gomez, supra note 318, at 231.

(341.) But see Parents Involved in Cmty. Sch. v. Seattle Sch. Dist. No. 1, 551 U.S. 701, 748 (plurality opinion) (opining just the opposite).

(342.) As Ian Haney Lopez points out, whiteness is no less a social construction than other races. See Haney Lopez, supra note 31, at 109.
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Title Annotation:I. American Indians and Equal Protection C. Equal Protection, Colorblind Constitutionalism, and American Indian Law through Conclusion, with footnotes, p. 522-548
Author:Krakoff, Sarah
Publication:Stanford Law Review
Date:Feb 1, 2017
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