The Indian States of America: Parallel Universes & Overlapping Sovereignty

38 Am. Indian L. Rev. 1 (2014)

33 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2015

Date Written: June 5, 2014


Tribal sovereignty is complex and not well-understood. That is partly because most Americans were not taught an accurate history of the United States and its relations with Indian nations. The process by which the US came to possess most of the land within its territory and its longstanding government-to-government relationship with Indian nations should be more widely known both among lawyers and the general public. That process can be better understood if we revisit standard maps of the United States as they reflect colonial acquisition of territory from both foreign nations and from Indian nations.

In addition, when questions are asked about the legitimacy of tribal sovereignty, it is important to know how to answer them. This lecture is directed at those for whom tribal sovereignty is not well-known and it provides three arguments for tribal sovereignty based on history, equal protection of the laws, and democracy.

Keywords: Indian, Federal Indian Law, tribal sovereignty, tribes

Suggested Citation

Singer, Joseph W., The Indian States of America: Parallel Universes & Overlapping Sovereignty (June 5, 2014). 38 Am. Indian L. Rev. 1 (2014), Available at SSRN:

Joseph W. Singer (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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