Some adhere to the idea that the federal government, as a democratic state founded on the rule of law, contains within its legal and political institutions and ideologies a framework that provides the necessary vaccines that will eventually cure the various and sundry indigenous ailments generated throughout American society by its social, economic, political and legal institutions.

By contrast, there are others who vigorously argue that the prevailing institutions of governance and law of the United States are incapable of providing justice to First Nations because they entail systems, ideologies, and values that represent non-Indians and thus they cannot possibly adequately address the distinctive aboriginal, treaty, and trust based rights of indigenous nations.

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Copyright © 2003 Indian Country Today. This article first appeared in Indian Country Today (June 2003).

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