In the Courts of the Conqueror
|Author||Walter R. Echo-Hawk|
|Subject||Indians of North America — Legal status, laws, etc — Cases; Indians of North America — Legal status, laws, etc — History|
|Media type||Print, hardcover, paperback, electronic|
|LC Class||KF8204.5 .E28 2010|
In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided is a 2010 legal non-fiction book by Walter R. Echo-Hawk, a Justice of the Supreme Court of the Pawnee Nation, an adjunct professor of law at the University of Tulsa College of Law, and of counsel with Crowe & Dunlevy.
The book draws from both well-known decisions of federal courts as well as less well known cases in explaining the doctrines of federal Indian law. The case of Johnson v. McIntosh by the Supreme Court in 1823 is well known to most law students as declaring that Indian tribes had the right to occupy the land but only the United States held title to the land by right of discovery.
It covers other major cases, including Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831) (the tribe lacked standing to contest Georgia's violation of treaty rights), Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock (1903) (the U.S. had the right to confiscate Indian lands unilaterally despite treaty provisions); and Tee-Hit-Ton Indians v. United States (1955) (discovery and conquest doctrines applied even when the Alaskan natives had separate dealings with Russia).
The book covers cases involving the adoption of Indian children against the will of the tribes, leading to the Indian Child Welfare Act; decisions allowing the desecration of Indian graveyards and the display of Indians remains, leading to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act; and cases on Indian religious practices, such as Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Association (1988) and Employment Division v. Smith (1990). Echo-Hawk notes how federal Indian law was formed defining Indian rights and were then used, not as a shield to protect these rights, but instead to strip them away and harm Indian people.
The book has received positive reviews from a good number of academic sources. Gilles Renaud of the Ontario Court of Justice stated that the book's greatest contribution may be in explain to Native American people why they now possess so little land and have so many problems. Another review points out the injustice identified in the book and recommends that it be required reading at the Harvard, Yale, and Stanford law schools since those schools produce many Supreme Court justices.
In addition, the book has received good reviews from the Native American community to from western themed magazines. The legal community has also received it well, with one reviewer asking, "What if it is really true that the bundle of rights we have fought for through the 5th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution were never intended by the “founders” to be applied to Native Americans?" The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian invited Echo-Hawk to participate in a symposium in part due to the impact of the book.
- Tsosie, Rebecca (Spring 2012). "Review Essay: In the Courts of the Conqueror: the 10 worst Indian law Cases ever decided". Wicazo Sa Review. 27 (1): 130–36. doi:10.1353/wic.2012.0009. ISSN 0749-6427.
- Renaud, Gilles (July 2010). "Review: In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided". Library Journal. 135 (12): 97. ISSN 0363-0277.
- Simpson, Michael W. (Winter 2011). "Review: In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided". Tribal College Journal. 23 (2): 57. ISSN 1052-5505.
- Newcomb, Steven. "In The Courts of the Conqueror: A Short Review". Indian Country Today. Indian Country Today Media Network. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Krol, Debra Utacia (8 November 2010). "The dark side of Indian law". High Country News. High Country News. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Yingst, Robert A. (June 2011). "Review: In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided by Walter R. Echo-Hawk". Wisconsin Lawyer. 84-JUN: 34.
- "Fact or Fiction: National Museum of the American Indian Hosts Law Symposium". National Museum of the American Indian. Smithsonian Institution. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2013.