Since settlers set foot in the Americas, tension has existed between American Indian tribes and European settlers over tribal rights to land. When the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island proposed to build low-income housing on a thirty-one acre parcel of land, it became involved in years of litigation with the State of Rhode Island, its governor, and the town of Charlestown, RI. Throughout the litigation, the debate over collective ownership of land, cultural differences in property rights and the intentions behind the United States government’s policy positions regarding American Indians simmered below the surface. This comment focuses on those issues and argues that the Supreme Court’s decision in Carcieri v. Salazar, by refusing to grant collective rights to the Narragansett Tribe, violates the Indian Reorganization Act and constitutes an unjust imposition of the western view of individual rights to tribal land ownership
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