Tribal Sovereignty Lesson Plan
  1. A Seat at the Drum: Choose one or more segments to watch from A Seat at the Drum. Below are questions and ideas that students should watch for when they view the program or view the video segments on this web site. Students will need to take notes.


What to watch for:

On the DVD

On this web site

Background for Teachers: Mark Macarro is Chairman of the Pechanga Band in California. He says, "In 1995 our enrollment spiked to 60. The following year it spiked to, I think, 160. And then the year after that, which I believe was 1997, over 430 submitted applications. What is significant there is that in July 1995, our tribe opened a casino." One of powers of a sovereign nation is the power to decide who belongs and who doesn't.
Questions for Students: What are the other powers that the Pechanga have been able to exercise? How important is a strong tribal economy to sovereignty? Should the few tribes that have successful casinos help out members of the other tribes that may not?

Chapter Nine
"Economic Development"

Economic Development


Background for Teachers: Tribes are supposed to be sovereign nations, yet they are also dependant on the federal government for various social programs. The number of members on tribal rolls can increase the amount of support the tribe gets from the government. Yet many tribes are resisting the influx of people who want to join.
Questions for Students: What do you think should be the process of defining membership?

Chapter Five
"Politics of Identity"

Voting Rights


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