Anna O'Brien


"After today, any person may sue under the Administrative Procedure Act . .. to divest the Federal Government of title to and possession of land held in trust for Indian tribes . . . so long as the complaint does not assert a personal interest in the land.' - Justice Sotomayor, dissenting in Match-E-Be-Nash- She- Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak. Ever since European colonization of the Americas began in the fifteenth century, there has been friction between the new arrivals and the native inhabitants. The United States has dealt with its "Indian problem" through assimilation, reservations, and eventually, self-determination for Indian tribes. But Indian tribes have never truly lost their sovereignty. Over the years, the United States has developed a vast body of Indian law to try and find a place for tribal sovereignty in a legal and political system created by the conquerors. In a recent case, the Supreme Court created a new rule that will allow non- Indians to sue the Federal Government to divest the government of title to land held in trust for Indian tribes. The decision has dealt a blow to tribal sovereignty by rendering the trust status of tribal lands uncertain. That uncertainty should be removed by legislative action.