Buying America from the Indians
Johnson v. McIntosh and the History of Native Land Rights
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
Buying America from the Indians offers a comprehensive historical and legal overview of Native land rights since the European "discovery" of the New World. Watson sets the case in rich historical context. After tracing Anglo-American views of Native land rights to their European roots, Blake A. Watson explains how speculative ventures in Native lands affected not only Indian peoples themselves but the causes and outcomes of the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and ratification of the Articles of Confederation. He then focuses on the transactions at issue in Johnson between the Illinois and Piankeshaw Indians, who sold their homelands, and the future shareholders of the United Illinois and Wabash Land Companies.
The final chapters highlight the historical legacy of Johnson v. McIntosh on federal policy with regard to Indian lands. Taught to first-year law students as the root of title for real property in the United States, the case has also been condemned by the United Nations and others as a Eurocentric justification for the subjugation of North American indigenous peoples. Watson argues that the United States should formally repudiate the discovery doctrine set forth in Johnson v. McIntosh.
The thorough backstory andanalysis in this book will deepen our understanding of one of the most important cases in both federal Indian law and American property law.