Letters to the Editor

Tribes should cede authority over fireworks

Recent articles in the Herald urge the empowerment of Tribal governments to assume domestic-violence criminal jurisdiction over non-Tribal residents.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision Oliphant v. Suquamish Tribe 1978 was a landmark de facto “treaty right,” affirming clearly defined legal status for non-Tribal persons.

I am in total agreement that domestic violence offenders should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Every July 4 and at various times throughout the year, non-Tribal residents of the Port Madison Reservation are subjected to intense domestic tranquility violence. These high-explosive fireworks rattle windows, terrify domestic pets, and may well cause hearing damage to young children.

Tribal governments exercise their sovereign authority over the sale and discharge of these dangerous explosive devices.

Tribal leaders speak so eloquently of government-to-government relationships, so I suggest they enter into an agreement in which the non-Tribal community will cede its immunity pertaining only to physical domestic violence and the Tribe will cede to county or state governments its sovereign immunity pertaining only to the sale of high-explosive pyrotechnics.

It’s a two-way street. That is equality. That is justice.

Richard C. Yerk


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