Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Research 19.1 (Spring 2009): 136. © 2009 Copyright by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Rather than having the exclusive U.S.-tribal relationship respected, Indian nations are wrongly forced to deal with state governments that are often hostile to Indian interests. This is the provocative thesis of Forced Federalism. For the last 20 years, from 1988 to the present, tribes have been increasingly seen as emerging contenders vying for resources and playing an expanding role in state economies and politics. The gaming success of some tribes has also subjected Indians to what the authors call “rich Indian racism” that relies upon stereotyping and the categorization of tribes as interest groups rather than independent nations. Though acknowledging that tribes have had some success in their engagement with states and the non- Indian political process, the authors make a convincing case that jurisdiction and community-based improvements should not be conceded lightly in the name of short-term economic gain.