This recent story from KOTA talks about “Oyate Court” which is a bizarre, extra-legal “judicial” activity several counties in South Dakota are running. In it, enrolled members of federally-recognized tribes are not put through the normal South Dakota unified court system process when accused of crimes or when disputes arise between them.
This is, of course, not permitted to other American citizens, even those who enjoy dual citizenship with another “sovereign” but “foreign” nation. Like someone who is a citizen of both Montana and Alberta. Or Florida and Switzerland. No, this is only available for those who are both US Citizens and enrolled members (that is, citizens) of “dependent domestic nations” which still have sovereignty. Or so we are told. Those are, of course, the AmerInd Nations. More than 300 of whose reservations speckle a map of the Continental United States.
It is, at least for some of the nations (tribes) a matter of treaty rights. It is also a legacy of the socialist legacy of the Abraham Lincoln regime of 1861-1865. (An unmitigated disaster in so many ways.) And of course, of the destruction of liberty by more and more presidents and Congresses since that time. Particularly (but not limited to) Wilson, FD Roosevelt, and Ike Eisenhower.
But it is also a consequence of the American rejection of a fundamental principle of liberty: “of laws, not men.” This latest stupidity in South Dakota is a perfect example, even to people who like to pretend that principle means something else. Special preference is given to AmerInd (particularly the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota members of the Seven Council Fires (usually called the Great Sioux Nation), a preference that amounts to special privilege because of the blood quantum (that is, at least in theory, related to their skin color and their ancestry.)
We could argue that it is a de-facto violation of the Constitutional prohibition of hereditary honors and titles. An “enrolled tribal member” enjoys many, many special advantages that the usual run of Americans (whether of Asian, African, or European descent, or for that matter of unenrolled AmerInd ancestry) are not allowed.
Equality before the law? Not in South Dakota, comrade.
Why do we write about “not of laws but of men” like this? From a christian (and jewish) point of view, man has no authority – and really, no ability – to write and enforce laws. Laws are the physical and spiritual laws inherent in the universe. In creation. And therefore, are themselves the product of the Creator. Manmade laws are just that – justice and rule by men, not by law. And therefore flawed. And even evil: counter to good because good is absent from them. No matter how hard we try.
But even God’s laws are not properly enforced by men. They may be discovered by humans or revealed through nature. They may be spoken (or written) by the Creator and given by Him to men. But at least in the New Covenant (christianity), if not the Old Law of Moses, there is no enforcement power given to men, either individually or collectively. Self-defense and restitution are not, when you look into them carefully, are not enforcement actions: they are rights clearly established and recognized, even by many who are not believers in the Creator. (Christians are not authorized to stone people or execute judgement in other ways: their “authority” to punish is strictly a matter of disfellowship – of casting those who offend against them (and God) out of their midst. Ending communication (“excommunicate” the offender).
Which means any law beyond the law of love (including the Golden Rule – or the zero-aggression principle, if you prefer) is not really a law – it is the rule of man. Whether it is promulgated and enforced by an emperor or king or dictator – or by unanimous consent!
In other words, this little “lo, the poor Indian” kowtowing to specially privileged populations is just another and more blatant demonstration of the basic evil of government: rebellion against God (and nature)
As we who promote self-government are wont to point out, we have more than enough trouble governing ourselves; we don’t need or want to govern other people. To rule over anyone.
A final thought. South Dakota’s State Motto was one I once admired: “UNDER GOD, THE PEOPLE RULE.” It sounds really good, except that if God rules, the people cannot rule. They can cooperate, they can coordinate, but they have no authority to rule – especially not in God’s name.
Think about it!