YGSNA Members Draw National Attention to Dollar General Supreme Court Case

January 19, 2016

When the Dollar General Corporation brought its case challenging key aspects of the sovereignty of native nations to the Supreme Court last year, it did not anticipate a national outcry among American Indian tribal community members and their supporters. Recent legal assaults on Indigenous self-determination have garnered often little national media attention. Many of the lower court rulings in DOLLAR GENERAL CORP. vs. MISSISSIPPI BAND OF CHOCTAW INDIANS received scant national press coverage.

Since the U.S Supreme Court decided to hear this case, many YGSNA members, including Mary Kathryn Nagle, founding Executive Director of Yale University’s Indigenous Performing Arts Program (YIPAP), Professor Ned Blackhawk, and History doctoral student Andrew Bard Epstein, have worked to draw increased attention to this legal challenge of a tribe’s civil jurisdiction. Nagle not only co-wrote an amicus brief in support on behalf of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center but also has continued to publicize and write nationally about the case. Professor Blackhawk participated in a historians’ amicus brief on behalf of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw and also authored an op-ed in the New York Times  on “The Struggle for Justice on Tribal Lands.” Epstein wrote an article for The Nation laying out the details of the case.

Many of these pieces have been posted onto various tribal advocacy websites as well as reprinted in various forms. The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony of Nevada, for example, in its December 31st newsletter, The Camp News, reprinted Epstein’s article from The Nation.