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date: 10 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

More than 565 Indigenous tribal governments exercise extensive sovereign and political powers within the United States today. Only about 230 of the native communities that created these governments, however, have chosen to adopt written tribal constitutions to define and control the political powers of their governments. Many observers would no doubt ask how a government can function without a written constitution to guide its formation and operation, and how the rights of citizens can be defined and protected without a written constitution. This chapter addresses these questions and many more concerning American Indian and Alaska Native tribal constitutions. It examines whether modern day tribal constitutions adequately serve the needs of native communities and help these communities and their political entities to exercise and protect their sovereignty.

Keywords: constitutions, American Indian tribes, tribal governments, tribal constitutions

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