Civil Rights: The Constitution & Mrs. Colliflower

Congress in 1924 capped the conquest of the American Indian by granting U.S. citizenship to all Indians born from that year on. Until then, tribal Indians had been considered "wards of the Government." But the gesture by no means fully extended the U.S. Constitution to about 70% of the country's Indians—the 380,000 tribal members who now live on 399 reservations and enclaves maintained by the Federal Government.

Because the law still regards Indian tribes as quasi-sovereign nations, state courts have no jurisdiction over reservations; federal courts try only major reservation crimes, such as murder. The vast majority of lesser crimes are...

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