Native American Rights

The struggle for Native American rights has been going on for centuries and continues to this day. It is estimated that there are about 300 reservations and 2.5 million Native Americans. In the US, the Native Americans are a minority race. Many of the social and economic challenges they face are similar to those faced by other victims of bias and discrimination. The federal government is charged with safeguarding the Native American rights. These include protection of tribal lands and resources, rights to tribal self-government, and opportunities to enable tribal survival and advancement.

One of the focal point of the Native American rights issue is the ability to carry on traditional practices. Certain legal rulings in the recent past have threatened the ceremonial worship methods. The struggle for voting rights and absence of civil rights organizations to facilitate address of grievances such as police misconduct, are other vital issues. Native American rights struggle is also aimed at putting the spotlight on a lack of tribal participation in local, state and federal elections. Yet another cause for concern is the limited legal resources available to Native Americans should they be in need for legal representation.

There are organizations such as the Native American Rights  Fund (NARF) that seek to provide assistance in these matters. The organization tries to apply existing laws and treaties to ensure that national and state governments live up to their obligations. Over the years, NARF has become a force to be reckoned with as far as policy makers are concerned. Along with other similar-minded organizations, NARF tries to secure the civil and religious rights of Native Americans. Protecting and establishing tribal sovereignty is of the utmost importance. The organization is associated with more than 250 tribes. Obtaining official tribal recognition, and helping maintain ancient traditions are all on the agenda.

Joseph Paige 2006

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