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Tribal Sovereignty means uh… you’re a sovereign entity, with a US passport.

Remember when George Bush couldn't define "sovereignty?" Maybe it wasn't his fault. How would you describe sovereign lands where US extraction and exploitative industries can operate without regulatory oversight, and tribes can issue identification papers unless they mean to travel somewhere. When the original Indian treaties were signed, US destiny was manifested with promises that the former landholders' sovereignty would be respected. The Iroquois Lacrosse team have just learned tribal sovereignty means carrying the occupier's passport. The US State Department at first refused to grant travel permission to the sovereign Iroquois because they didn't have the newfangled, traceable, trackable, American passport. When congressmen intervened on behalf of the Iroquois who did not wish to submit to United States stinkin' papers, the government relented, granting a one-time exemption. How do suppose they mean to explain that? A just-this-once exception on the sovereignty whatsit. But the lacrosse team's destination was England, and British bureaucrats held firm on the original argument that the sovereign Native Americans required non-Native American passports. Post 9/11 days are no time apparently to permit international travelers to pass themselves off with rinky dink documents issued by who knows what maize-republics. The USA may foist whatever charade it wants on its captive vanquished aborigines, that doesn't mean England has to play dumb too. Maybe the British are mindful not only that the Iroquois were among the inventors of lacrosse, but that they once used the pretext of a game to successfully storm an English fort. Is that among their worries, Post 9/11? Post 9/11 is no time for the pretense of sovereignty. Whether schoolchildren can grasp its contradictions or not. Here's Bush again, doing his best Miss South Carolina: "Uh, tribal sovereignty means that. It's sovereign. You're a, you've been given sovereignty and you're viewed as a sovereign entity. And therefore the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities."

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