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Copyright (c) 2012 Berkeley La Raza Law Journal 
Berkeley La Raza Law Journal

CULTURE, KNOWLEDGE, LAW, AND COMMUNITY: LINES OF TRIBE

2012

Berkeley La Raza Law Journal

22 Berkeley La Raza L.J. 77

Author

Christine Zuni Cruz*

Excerpt



I. Introduction

A. Lines of Tribe
 
It is important to begin by explaining why I take the title of my essay from the statement in President Barack Obama's 2009 Inaugural Address: "the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve." During the address, his words affected me and they remained with me long afterward. President Obama may very well have meant what he said in a metaphoric or figurative sense; I have certainly been provided with many interpretations and assurances by most that a literal meaning was not his intent and that he instead spoke in a good way of the beneficial melting of divisions between us.

It serves my purposes, however, to complicate the statement's usage and to choose not to lose the opportunity to consider it in a literal sense given the history of our country, and not only our country, but the whole of the American continent. That is to say that there is a belief that the dissolution of the lines of tribe 2, in fact, can result in good and in peace. It is the chilling language and metaphor of colonists. I am familiar with the history of the good that white reformers thought would come from detribalization of Indigenous Peoples in the United States. Detribalization efforts severely weakened the lucky, but destroyed and disappeared others, and, in doing so, opened vast tracts of lands for, yes, the peaceful settlement by others. We have seen the lines of tribe dissolve, and not in a poetic sense, ...
 
 
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