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<i>Gayanashogowa</i> and Guardianship: Expanding and Clarifying the Federal-Tribal Trust Relationship

October 2006

Citation: ELR 10786

Author: Kavitha Janardhan

Editor's Summary: The Onondaga Nation of New York is currently involved in a lawsuit seeking to nullify a series of treaties executed by the state of New York and thereby assert title to over 3, square miles of land in Central New York State. The goal of the suit is to enforce an environmental restoration of culturally and historically significant aboriginal lands. In order to bring a claim against the state, the Nation must first compel the federal government to act on its behalf. By emphasizing distinctive features of Iroquois selfgovernment, Kavitha Janardhan suggests ways to expand the federal government's trust responsibility to protect cultural interests in land against state intrusion. To do so, she explores the complex tension between Euro-American conceptions of governance and the Native American, particularly Iroquois, law of Gayanashogowa, or the Great Law of Peace.

Kavitha Janardhan is a third-year student at Boston College Law School. She will graduate in May 2007. This Article was written under the supervision of Prof. Jonathan Witten.

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