Plenary Power Doctrine – U.S. Indian Law – as it relates to the 2020 Tribes v. Treasury lawsuit

The Plenary Power Doctrine states: “Congress, and not the Executive Branch or Judicial Branch, has ULTIMATE authority with regards to matters affecting the Indian Tribes. Federal Courts give greater deference to Congress on Indian matters than on other subjects.”


Conference of Western Attorneys General, American Indian Law Desk Book, University Press of Colorado, 2004

I have stated before that I do not believe the Federal Courts have jurisdiction over how we, Alaska Natives, choose to Self-govern.

Self-governance is an action. It is a state of movement.

It is not defined to us by the federal government or any other outside governments, including Lower 48 Tribes and their deep pocketed casinos that are trying to force their will upon us.

This holds true by the many, many Congressional Acts that include Alaska Native Corporations in their definitions of Indian Tribe; based on our relationship with the federal government and right to self-govern as Alaska Native People.

We get to use whatever westernized vehicle we choose, for profit or otherwise. That is the action of self-governance.

The core purpose is for individual indigenous people, like me.

The strategy is creating whatever structure we choose that best benefits individual indigenous people.

Published by Trudy Sobocienski

My blog, "Beyond Leadership" is a creative place to share my personal feelings and thoughts while working in leadership roles for a variety of Alaska Native organizations, both for and not-for profit entities. An incredible leader and mentor of mine once asked while we were in Washington, DC, "What happened to you between the ages of 7-10 that motivated you to serve in a native leadership capacity". I was struck by that poignant thought and as such, include actual entries from my mother and my diaries beginning in the early 1970's. I enjoy sharing these excerpts because it captures the parallels she and I were experiencing throughout life, from two separate worldviews. Hers as a young mother of four and mine as her eldest child. I have never came across a book on leadership that lays bare a leaders personal feelings, thoughts, hopes, fears and dreams they were experiencing. So for me, my goal is two-fold: 1. Share the incredible life my parents created for my siblings and I growing up in remote Alaska; and, 2) Sharing my humanity, through my personal diaries and journals, while serving as the youngest-ever President/CEO for the Alaska Native Health Board. There are passages that will include significant policy issues I was working on throughout my career and travels. There are many more passages that do not. I cannot speak for my mom's passages, because I am reading them as I share them here, with you; with her permission of course.

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