Tribes and Trilateral Federalism: A Study of Criminal Jurisdiction

By Alexandra Fay. 

In 1789, the people of thirteen young American states defined a new sovereign. By ratifying the Constitution, the citizens of the states formed a national government to reign supreme over the United States of America. The two preexisting sovereigns of this American territory—states and tribes— would ultimately bow before the supremacy of the national government. The states formally accepted their subordination through ratification conventions. And they have jealously guarded the remaining attributes of their independent sovereignty throughout the ensuing centuries. In contrast, tribes and their citizens were absent from the drafting convention and ratification process. America’s Native nations were subjected to subordination by treaties and conquest. Full Article