The following materials are intended to extend lessons found in the
Foundations of Democracy text and to build on previously taught concepts.

Purpose of Lesson
•  Define sovereignty as it relates to Native American tribal governments.
•  Identify the source of sovereignty, its applications and limitations.

Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards for Social Studies
B.12.12 Analyze the history, culture, tribal sovereignty, and current status
of the American Indian tribes and bands in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Model Academic Standards for Language Arts
A.12.4 Students will read to acquire information

Terms to Know
sovereignty – Independence; the right to self-government

What do you think?
1.  How do you exercise sovereignty over yourself?
2.  How does your family exercise sovereignty?
3.  How does your school exercise sovereignty?

Where does tribal sovereignty come from?
The fact that Native American tribes are and always have remained separate and
distinct political nations gives them sovereign status with the power to create
governments, enforce rules and laws, and exercise authority over their
territory and membership. The U.S. government recognizes tribes as distinct
nations, even though they are found within the boundaries of the United States.
In addition, this classification is also based on historical
government-to-government negotiations between Native American tribes and other
European nations such as Great Britain, France, and Spain.

Why is sovereignty important to Native American tribes?
Sovereign authority allows tribes to do the following:
1.  Choose their own governments
2.  Create and carry out tribe-related laws relating to the tribe
3.  Define and regulate tribal membership
4.  Allocate funds
5.  Negotiate with other nations

What are the limits of tribal sovereignty?
The U.S. Congress has ultimate authority over all Native American tribes within
the United States, as granted by the Constitution. The Bureau of Indian
Affairs, which is a part of the Department of the Interior, is an agency of the
Executive Branch of the federal government, within the U.S. Department of
Interior, which is responsible for administering and managing the trusts land held by
Native American tribes within the United States. In order to understand the
limits to Tribal Sovereignty, it is helpful to construct a visual
representation of the power structure of government within the United States.

Critical Thinking Flow Chart [ student handout ]

Please see chart.