Tribal Politics: Where does Sovereignty Lie?
Being a proponent of shared power and authority has always been on the forefront of my own political agenda since I became involved with Tribal Government in 1990. It is every elected officials, duty and responsibility, to recognize the people and their inherent right to know what the government is doing with the sovereignty we entrust it with and utilize this sovereignty to strengthen the interests of the people first and not the government, outside contractors, the court, employees (other than tribal members) or other organizations.
Many tribal members have been kept in limbo in our court system, simply because they will not accept plea deals from the prosecution. They are being denied due process and are not only infringing on personal rights and freedoms guaranteed by Indian Civil Rights Act but hurting others by holding up due process. All people want is a day in court to resolve issues so life can move forward for themselves and others involved in these cases.These members are being prohibited opportunity that we expect our government to protect and preserve for the tribal members, due to the court exercising the sovereignty and discretion we allow them to use on our behalf.
The court and law enforcement are also being used for political gain by those we trust to make sure processes are fair and consistent. This should not be tolerated by our government but it is because certain elected officials do not want other influences on current policy and practices. If they allowed other influence then the process of sharing power and authority would be utilized to better inform our people and protect their interests in sovereignty.
How do we rectify this issue when the top leaders are unwilling to even address the issue? How much help is the Federal Government willing to help those whose voices are not being heard by its Tribal Government?
We must organize and confront these issues together so that no one person should have to fear repercussion or reprisal from asking questions and look for answers and resolution to our problems with the government and its operations.
Our top leaders need to stop protecting power and protect its people.