Essay Sample on Native American Treaties: Reserved Rights Doctrine

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1133 Words
Date:  2022-12-29


The Native American treaties had very different aspects and understanding. The treaties were made on the principality of reserved rights doctrine; this was to mean that the treaties were reserved to the various American tribes. These treaties were made to address some of the obvious and the apparent rights that the tribes gave up upon against what they thought could be retained. The American nation has a divergent and unique set of history that keeps it running uniquely from all the other nations across the world (Chambers & Echohawk, 1991). The American courts have been at the forefront of the interpretation f these rights among all the rest. in other words, there was need by the society to understand and interpret the full meaning of the Doctrine of Treaties begging with the United States vs. Winans which happened in 1905.

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Under the Reserved Rights Doctrine, social segmentation was the order of the day. The society was segmented in the line of a race, as well as social and economic welfare. In this case, access to resources, both natural and civic were controlled and managed by a certain clique of people. The American ruler had ever advantages on their end as compared for example to the Indian Americans. The Reserved rights treaties failed to explicitly give the rights to access in all clear and outright manner (Fisher, 1983). In cases whereby the treaty did not clearly specify who had the ownership of land, water or other resources, the Courts used the Indian Canon approach to construct the treaties? The canon principles served as a good ground for providing favor towards American society against the Native communities.

However, in the spirit of Reserved Rights treaties, the examination and the recognition of the minority rights was highly protected. For example, Justice Mckenna indicated the highest level of sensitivity when he spoke against the increasing trend of the authorities and the locals for taking so much land away from the Indians leaving so little for them to work on (Chambers & Echohawk, 1991). In line with the canon treaty, it was obvious that whenever resources were not explicitly defined as to own them, it was up to the governing body to ensure that they do not push the minorities to the extreme. The Reserved Rights Doctrine treaty was clear that in such cases, the rights of the minority groups had t be protected first above all the rest (Rusinek, 1990).

The matter of land was quite an emotive issue in American history. The contest for land ownership always put the authorities at the forefront of the whole affair leaving them to find ways of controlling the greater interest that arose from the rest of the teams. The Reserved Rights Doctrine Treaty tries so much to solve this issue but without the note finality. The tribal land was largely an Indian resource with controlled or limited access by the government, both Federal and National. The tribal land belonged to the Indian tribe according to the Reserved Rights Treaty as was designed and signed back in the days. Even with these treaties in existence, there was not a uniform agreement on the ways by which the land was supposed to be managed and controlled to fit into the needs of the society (Chambers & Echohawk, 1991).

The Indian tribe continued ceding so much land t the government of their r control. The federal government had so much influence on the tribal land. They at times indulged on matters of who controls or manages it. The Indians were under pressure and influence to cede the land to their relevant protectors in exchange for protection and other services to the benefits the interest of the tribes. In other cases, the grabbing and sharing of land became a responsibility of the national government as a way f protecting the interest of the minority according to the Reserved rights Doctrine Treaty. The Indians were so attached to this treaty to the extent that they did not believe that anyone else could break any element of the treaty without consulting the other party. However, it appeared that this became their greatest undoing due to the kind of relationships that they had with their counterparts. However, some of the Indians reserved the lands for themselves and for their future generational inheritance purpose (Fisher, 1983). The ownership of land, emotive as it was, was not clearly defined as to who had the final ownership including the instances whereby the federal and the national governments wanted to wield some extent of influence on the ownership leaving the entire society at crossroads.

The Indians still hold a massive influence on then treaties and the doctrine; however, this has been largely affected by the reservation tribe as compared to the non-reservation such as the Navajo Nation. There were a lot of contested lands especially from the non-reservation groups that saw as if their rights were being sidelined in totality (Rusinek, 1990). He ownership of resources was not entirely eliminated from the rest of the community. In fact, the reservationists were developing a feeling of privilege and honor against the overview of heir non-reservationists counterparts. The trust relationship that existed between the Indian tribes and the U.S government was enshrined in the law as the protector of the tribes. The tribes relied much on the government for their welfare to be taken care of. As such, there was also need by the other society members to ensure that they pushed from all corners as ways of ensuring that the society was recognized as members of the American community.

The reserved rights of the Indian tribes were protected through the doctrine treaty. The agreement was struck to ensure that the tribes got sufficient protection and recognition from the U.S government and the overall machinery. It is based on such contexts that the litigation measures only moved to anchor. The Supreme courts played a critical part in ensuring that the reserved rights for the marginalized society remained within the context of the operation of the treaty in all contexts (Fisher, 1983). The protection of the minority rights was enshrined in the treaty such that in case resources such as land and water were not specified about the ownership, the state would award it to the tribes. Also, the land belonged to the tribes, under the allocation of the federal governments. This, however, depended on whether the group was reservationist or non-reservionits.


Chambers, R. P., & Echohawk, J. E. (1991). Implementing the Winters Doctrine of Indian Reserved Water Rights: Producing Indian Water and Economic Development without Injuring Non-Indian Water Users. Gonz. L. Rev., 27, 447.

Fisher, T. A. (1983). Winters of Our Discontent: Federal Reserved Water Rights in the Western States. Cornell L. Rev., 69, 1077.

Rusinek, W. (1990). A Preview of Coming Attractions-Wyoming v.the United States and the Reserved Rights Doctrine. Ecology LQ, 17, 355.

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