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A few years ago, some students at my school formed a group to discuss Native American issues. One of their posters featured a multiple-choice question. I do not recall the exact words of either the question or the answers, but a paraphrase will do. The question was, "how many sovereign governments are there in the United States?" The first answer was one. The second answer was fifty-one. The third answer was fifty-two or fifty-three or thereabouts, adding Puerto Rico and such to the list. The fourth answer–the right answer–was a number in the high three digits, or fifty-some plus the number of American Indian tribes. The point was that Indian tribes, the first occupants of this land, must be included in the tally of sovereign governments that now share jurisdiction in that land.

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