2017- Beyond a Zero-Sum Federal Trust Responsibility: Lessons from Federal Indian Energy Policy

“The federal government’s trust relationship with federally recognized Indian tribes is a product of the last two centuries of
Federal Indian Law and federal-tribal relations. For approximately
the last 50 years, the federal government has sought to promote
tribal self-determination as a means to carry out its trust
responsibilities to Indian tribes; but the shadows of prior federal
policies, based largely on notions of tribal incompetence and federal
paternalism, remain. Perhaps no other policy arena better
demonstrates the history, evolution, and promise for reform of the
federal trust relationship than Federal Indian energy policy, or the
range of federal statutes and regulations devoted to the management
of the development of tribal energy resources. This article provides
a detailed review of Federal Indian energy policy and proposes a
new path for reform that would allow for broader tribal authority
and, potentially, a new conception of the federal trust responsibility.”