It is OUTRAGEOUS to me that a handful of Tribes have argued and convinced a Judge in a Washington DC-based US District Court that their Tribal Sovereignty is more valid than our sovereign right that we exercise in Alaska; Self-Governance.
The definition of Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies.
In Alaska, we have not filed a lawsuit to reduce the jurisdictional authority of Tribes with a land base in the Lower 48.
We can argue that Lower 48 reservation Tribes with jurisdiction based on geographically marked borders are given unfair sovereignty preference than what Alaska Natives are afforded.
We are structurally different than the lower 48 tribes. We exercised our sovereign right to organize differently than what was forced on Lower 48 Tribes.
Sovereigns demand immunity in one hand. In the other, they then negate the purpose of sovereignty by looking “UP” to the federal court to hand “DOWN” a decision on how we define these terms.
If Tribes are truly sovereign, then they are already empowered to convene internal mediation/negotiation among the parties in question.
This legal action taken against Alaska Native Corporations reaffirms the foresight our leaders had in deciding the way Alaska Natives would organize.
Our leaders exercised our sovereign rights to self-govern.
We didn’t ask the government for their definition of us.
We didn’t ask for a federal court to hand DOWN a decision on who we are.
The definition of Self-governance, self-government, or self-rule is the ability of a group or individual to exercise all necessary functions of regulation without intervention from an external authority. (In the context of nation-states, self–governance is called national sovereignty which is an important concept in international law).
In Alaska, we are not centralized under the lower 48 umbrella of Tribal Reservation. We chose a system that worked in Alaska and continues to evolve as we assert our rights of self-governance.
As an Alaska Native, the judge’s decision makes me feel diminished and less than.
Our form of self-governance, exercising our sovereignty in Alaska, has been attacked by other Native people.
Wasn’t the purpose of what was created in Alaska to make individual Native people feel whole?
Native on Native fighting seems is the most effective tool to marginalize ourselves as a whole. Divide and Conquer – but now we are doing that to ourselves and inviting outside authorities to intervene. Sad.