American Indian History on Trial: Historical Expertise in Tribal Litigation

American Indian History on Trial: Historical Expertise in Tribal Litigation

by E. Richard Hart


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Drawing from forty-five years of experience, E. Richard Hart elucidates the use of history as expert testimony in American Indian tribal litigation. Such lawsuits deal with aboriginal territory; hunting, fishing, and plant gathering rights; reservation boundaries; water rights; federal recognition; and other questions that have a historical basis. The methodology necessary to assemble successful expert testimony for tribes is complex and demanding and the legal cases have serious implications for many thousands of people, perhaps for generations.

Hart, a historian who has testified in cases that have resulted in roughly a billion dollars in judgments, uses specific cases to explain at length what kind of historical research and documentation is necessary for tribes seeking to protect and claim their rights under United States law. He demonstrates the legal questions that Native Americans face by exploring the cultural history and legal struggles of six Indian nations. He recounts how these were addressed by expert testimony grounded in thorough historical understanding, research, and argumentation. The case studies focus on the Wenatchi, Coeur d’Alene, Hualapai, Amah Mutsun, Klamath, and Zuni peoples but address issues relevant to many American tribes. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781607815952
Publisher: University of Utah Press
Publication date: 02/28/2018
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

E. Richard Hart provides historical, ethnohistorical, and environmental historical services and expert testimony for North American tribes. The former executive director of the Institute of the North American West, he has organized a number of influential conferences, authored or edited ten books, and published numerous articles and essays. 

Table of Contents

List of Figures ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: Indian History in the Courts 1

Part I Coeur D'alene

1 Coeur d'Alene: Introduction 11

2 Ownership of Coeur d'Alene Lake: Tribal Sovereignty and the Equal Footing Doctrine 14

3 The Dawes Act and the Permanency of Executive-Order Reservations 24

4 Coeur d'Alene: Postscript 50

Part II Wenatchi

5 Wenatchi: Introduction 55

6 Tire History of the Wenatchi Fishing Reservation 62

7 Wenatchi: Postscript 89

Part III Amah Mutsun

8 Amah Mutsun: Introduction 93

9 Federal Recognition of Native American Tribes: The Case of California's Amah Mutsun of Mission San Juan Bautista 96

10 Amah Mutsun: Postscript 129

Part IV Hualapai

11 Hualapai: Introduction 139

12 The Western Boundary of the Hualapai Indian Reservation 143

13 Hualapai: Postscript 177

Part V Water History and Native American Water Basin Adjudication

14 Water History and Native Americans 181

15 The Adjudication of Three Tribes' Water Rights 190

Afterword: Outcomes for Tribes and Expert Witnesses 206

Notes 221

Bibliography 275

Index 327

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