Those interested in learning more about chronic federal abdication of its legal (and, in my mind, moral) obligations to Native Americans should check out Jacob Levy’s column from The New Republic. He shines a light on the gross mismanagement of Indian trust lands — a problem that has caused Judge Royce Lamberth to find three Cabinet Secretarys in two difference administrations (Bruce Babbitt, Robert Rubin, and Gale Norton) in contempt of court. Levy has more background information on his blog. I would also recommend that folks check out this opinion from the case by D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge David Sentelle.
Levy is correct that conservatives have largely ignored this issue (though John Miller did have a recent NRODT cover story on Indian issues generally), even though Indian trust mismanagement is a textbook example of gross federal irresponsibility and malfeasance (including document destruction by Clinton administration officials — a conservative fave). By the same token, liberals have ignored the issue as well, even though it involves the government’s failure to protect a historically disadvantaged ethnic minority. The story may be complicated, but its also very newsworthy, and more should take note.