Harold Monteau: Young Indian lawyers and sovereignty
"I still can’t believe that Indian Country let the PACT (Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act) slip by and I still can’t believe that the President signed it without even a mediocre scream from Indian Country. I’m not just talking about it’s impact on the Indian Tobacco Sales but about it’s impact as “precedent” by restricting yet another facet of Indian Commerce. What will be the next area of Indian Commerce that the Congress will decide to restrict? When will Congress stop taking away avenues of Commerce on the reservations simply because tribes choose to not tax at the level of the state? Congress is “de facto” taxing Indian Commerce into oblivion? Do any of the next generation of Indian Attorneys care?

The day after the President signed PACT into law, I sent a message out to the Young Indian Attorneys (YIPs) on the Indian Facebook Network. The message essentially asked how this could happen ‘on their watch’. I said “ I didn’t train Indian Attorneys for the last twenty years to let stuff like this happen”. Well, I didn’t say “stuff”. The message was the same to my contemporaries.

Where were the Indian Attorneys and Indian Law Attorneys when this aberration was making its way through Congress? It seems like only the Seneca Nation of New York was the only one fighting the battle. I’m sure that there were some other tribe’s that tried to fight it and I’m sure that NCAI may have tried to derail it.

However, the attitude seemed to be that “it’s only cigarettes”. Some people also saw it as a “health issue” and therefore would be good for Indian Country because it would discourage Indians from smoking.

Get the Story:
Harold A. Monteau: Young Indian Lawyers Need Grit (Pechanga.net 4/22)

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