In this fiftieth Cleveland-Marshall lecture I want us to look at some present day examples of Felix Cohen's contention that our treatment of Indians - Indian law itself - acts as a barometer, a miner's canary for society. I want to do this by first looking in detail at the Wisconsin Indian Fishing Rights question and then very briefly at several recent Supreme Court cases in the field of Indian Law particularly the Smith and Duro cases. I believe they do not bode well for any of us. In this brief time I have tried to cover too much but it was my only chance at you, my only time at bat in this land of the Cleveland Indian. I hope, today, you have learned a little something about the principles of the field we call Indian law. I have tried to present the Native American as a living, twentieth century soul with great needs, unparalleled opportunities and unequalled adversity, and I have further suggested that the collective fate of all of us is interwoven. The experience of the Native American suggests that we must constantly check for poisonous gas in our democratic Republic.
Indian Law and the Miner's Canary: The Signs of Poison Gas,
39 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol39/iss4/3