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"A Travesty of a Mockery of a Sham":* the Federal Trust Duty and Indian Self-Determination

Paul E. Frye, Natural Resources Development and Environmental Regulation in Indian Country (1999)

This paper examines the general topic of the federal trust responsibility in the era of tribal self-determination. This paper discusses the origin of the federal trust responsibility, reviews the development of the concept of tribal self-determination, summarizes the modern case law in both areas, synthesizes these cases and developments, and, finally, concludes that

•the trust responsibility is now, as it has been historically, rarely honored in matters of significance by the executive branch;

•tribal self-determination is illusory under federal Indian law;

•judicial enforcement of the trust responsibility, however ineffective, should be unaffected by current expressions of favor for tribal self-determination.