The Legal Fiction of Lake Matchimanitou Indian School

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The history of the conquest of the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere, and especially those of North America, is well documented in the academic language of historians, political scientists, sociologists, and lawyers, but these histories end with the final dispossession of lands from Indians and Indian tribes. Despite more than five centuries of conquest, Indians and Indian tribes struggle on in the modern era, mostly surrounded by non-Indians, many of them politically and socially hostile. The stories of the conflicts that arise from the continuing interaction between Indians and non-Indians are usually told from the perspective of the non-Indians. Rarely are the voices of Indians heard. As more and more Indians and Indian tribes succeed, the outcry from non-Indians demanding becomes louder.

This Article is the fictional narrative of a grade school founded by an Indian tribe for the purpose of educating Indian students in an all-Indian setting with an all-Indian faculty. When the school becomes first a modest, then a spectacular, success, non-Indians slowly and insidiously take over the school for their own purposes, educating non-Indian students. The story is an allegory of the conquest of the Western Hemisphere by Euro-Americans.


Work published when author not on Michigan Law faculty.