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Given that this interpretive work involves words and ideas, and not physical puzzle pieces, we as Native scholars face an interesting challenge: How do we take the vast historical record of ideas and arguments developed centuries ago by intellectuals of the Christian, European world, and by intellectuals of the dominating American society, and interpret that record from our own perspective, for the benefit of our nations and peoples? In my view, our challenge is not a matter of gaining a better understanding of “the law.” If we frame our task in such a limiting manner, we might find ourselves operating on the basis of an unconscious belief that the system of domination which the United States has been forcibly imposing on our nations and peoples for generations is a valid system of “law.” Such an approach would fail to provide us with our own view-from-the-shore vantage point, from which to challenge the ideas and arguments called “U.S. law” and “U.S. federal Indian law.”


Steven T. Newcomb, "Johnson v. M’Intosh and the Missing Cover of the Jigsaw Puzzle," Doctrine of Discovery Project (12 April 2023), https://doctrineofdiscovery.org/blog/canopy-series-jigsaw/.

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