The “Commerce Clause” of the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3) describes an “enumerated” power. The clause states that the United States Congress shall have power “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States and with the Indian Tribes.”
Among my people, The buffalo was the center of physical and spiritual discourse. Tatanka was our primary resource as well as our source of economy, not to mention our relative. In other Indian cultures, the central resource may be different—salmon, corn, caribou—but the principle of sustaining life and relationship is the same. In lieu of this way of life, we now have the dollar bill. With that said, Indian tribes are presently realizing the potential of their trade and commerce through forest resources, seafood, land management, Indian gaming and tourism. At the beginning of United States economic vitality was the fur trade, tobacco products, and the whaling industry—all of which owe a debt of gratitude to the cultures which existed here in this land for thousands of years previous to colonization. The recognition of American Indian contributions to economic vitality of the US is embedded in the Trade and Commerce Clause of the Constitution.
In this image, the Indian is riding a blue horse and carrying a stick representing value. The horse’s saddlebags are inscribed with words describing our current sources of commerce: Tobacco, Coffee, Casinos, Timber, Tourism and Seafood.
Robert “Running Fisher” Upham
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