Make no mistake, tribal sovereignty, and the vast economic benefit it brings to Indian and non-Indian America, is under siege. Non-tribal governments are once again speaking the language of assimilation and termination in an attempt to impede or extract value from any tribal economic endeavor that they perceive does not benefit the non-tribal middle class or private sector. Instead of brute physical force, they now deploy the power to tax, legislate, litigate and otherwise exploit sovereignty-based revenue from everything Indian Country and its tribal middle class have worked so hard to rebuild over the last 200 years.
Indian Country must now recognize this growing state and federal attack for what it is – an attack on Indian sovereignty. Then, only by taking preemptive legal and political steps to expose, confront and countervail those insurgent non-tribal forces that threaten American Indian economies, will we deter the termination of the new tribal middle class.
Gabriel "Gabe" Galanda is a partner at Galanda Broadman PLLC, of Seattle, an American Indian majority-owned law firm. He is an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Covelo, California. He can be reached at 206.691.3631 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or via galandabroadman.com.