Joel West Williams has posted “The Five Civilized Tribes’ Treaty Rights to Water Quality and Mechanisms of Enforcement” on SSRN.
Here is the abstract:
This thesis focuses on the treaty rights to water quality of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole tribes (collectively referred to as the “Five Civilized Tribes”). Although each tribe is an independent, sovereign nation, the tribes share a collective history as the largest and most dominant tribes in what is now the southeastern United States and the eventual forced removal from their respective ancestral homelands to lands in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) in the 1830s. The legal mechanism for accomplishing this forced relocation was “removal treaties” between the United States and each of the five tribal governments, which the United States pursued under the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Although these treaties had tragic consequences, the United States made promises and vested legal rights (in the new homelands) in exchange for these tribes vacating their ancestral homelands. This thesis will examine whether the property rights in their new tribal homelands in Indian Territory include enforceable rights to water quality.