Civil right laws against discrimination also protect Native American Indians

by Henry Guzman Villalobos

Native Americans are the peoples who were on the present-day North American continent before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. There were hundreds of different tribes native to North and South America.

Historically we have called the Indigenous peoples Indians by mistake – Columbus thought he had reached the Continent of India. At present, we use the term American Indian because that is the term used in the U.S. Constitution.

The U.S. Constitution specifically refers to Indian tribes where it says that “Congress shall have the power to regulate Commerce with foreign nations, among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.”

Today there are over five hundred and fifty Native American nations that have tribal governments that are recognized by the United States in a government to government relationship. There are approximately 300 federal Indigenous reservations in the United States. On a Native American reservation the tribal government performs many of the same functions that state governments do. There are tribal court systems, departments of justice and police forces on most reservations, and casinos on some reservations, etc.

Native American reservations are usually lands that the tribes kept when they entered into treaties with the federal government. Some Indigenous reservations are land bases that are larger than some states. The Dine (Navajo) Reservation is approximately 14,000,000 acres of land. Today some Native American nations (Aztec) do not have a land base nor federal recognition.

Native Americans (American Indians) are also a racial group who sometimes face discrimination the same as Mexican Americans, and African Americans. All of the civil rights laws that protect people from discrimination because of race or color or national origin also protect Native American Indians.

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 was the first such act, and other acts are the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L.88-352, 78 Stat. 241, July 2, 1964) and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 signed on April 11, 1968, by President Lyndon Johnson.

Not long ago, the Department of Justice sued a school district in Utah for not having a high school in the remote community of Navajo Mountain. This lawsuit was the first time the Civil Rights Division had ever enforced the education statutes on behalf of Native Americans. This great lawsuit was originally filed by Native American Indian students and their parents. The Dine Nation and the United States joined in the lawsuit to support the students and their parents.

United States Code Annotated Title 25 Indians, Chapter 31 – Native American Languages Act, Sec. 2901. Findings, The Congress finds that – (1) “...the status of the cultures and languages of Native Americans is unique and the United States has the responsibility to act together with Native Americans to ensure the survival of these unique cultures and languages.”

The President of Aztecs of North America, Inc., has 29 years knowledge of American Indian law, federal law, and International law.
Villalobos (Aztec-Yaqui) is President and CEO, Aztecs of North America, Inc., A California Non-Profit Corporation, P.O. Box 325, Hayward, California 94543-0325 U.S.A., Voice: (510) 582-3880, E-Mail:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.