Book sheds light on racial bias in courts | News, Sports, Jobs


M. L. Berg, Minot

One of the main tenets of critical race theory is that racism is embedded in the fabric of American society and its institutions. It is surely a truism. If not, why was federal legislation necessary to guarantee the civil rights of minorities in areas such as education and housing?

The fact that even the Supreme Court of the United States is not immune in this regard is made clear in a book written by Walter Echo-Hawk. Walter Echo-Hawk is an author and lawyer who has advocated for decades to secure the legal rights of Native Americans. He himself is a member of the Pawnee tribe. I might mention that the novelist James Fenimore Cooper met a Pawnee chief who was visiting Washington, DC to negotiate with President James Monroe in 1822. Cooper was so impressed with the Pawnee chief that he made him the hero from the fifth and last, from his tales of leather stockings; this fifth tale is called La Prairie. (The Last of the Mohicans is the second of Cooper’s leather stocking tales.)

Echo-Hawk’s book is titled In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided. These cases extend from the end of the 18th century, at the beginning of our Republic, until the middle of the 20th century. What many of them have in common is a racist view that is detrimental to Native American rights.

It is Echo-Hawk’s hope that by discussing these issues, people will realize that changes need to be made. In the case of the Supreme Court, he writes that “the Court must find a theory other than conquest, colonization or racial superiority to justify its decisions” (page 6).

In the same way, the point of considering critical race theory in the first place should be to inspire people to make changes, so as to establish equality in a racially mixed society.



Today’s breaking news and more to your inbox






About Leslie Schwartz

Check Also

Reader’s View: Critical race theory used to stoke fears – Reuters

The author of the September 14 letter, “Focus on the basics to improve school test …