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The Johnson County, Kansas codes officer, charged with the personal service of citations for the unlawful sale of fireworks on Shawnee Reserve 206, probably should have mailed them, as had been done in the past. On the other hand, Jim Oyler, Jr., who was fortunate to escape prosecution after pushing an official around and breaking his cell phone a year and a half earlier, probably should have shown restraint. Tensions run high on Lot 206, however, and restraint has seldom been the watchword. Jim Oyler, Jr., when confronting the officer on the roadway leading into the 94-acre parcel, asserted the sovereign jurisdiction of the United Tribe of Shawnee Indians (UTOSI) over the area, charged the officer with violating it, and closed the gate to Lot 206, thus preventing the official from leaving. Rattled, the officer radioed for back up. Jim Oyler, Sr., the irascible, but often-realistic principal chief of the UTOSI, came upon the escalating scene, recognized the potential for real trouble, and moved to defuse it. He was starting to open the gate when the back-up unit's speeding squad car crashed into it, sending the seventy-year-old chief flying through the air. Oyler, Sr. was bruised, but unbowed. It was just another day in the political, legal, verbal, and sometimes physical war that has waged for a quarter century between the self-proclaimed little tribe on its restricted Indian land base in the midst of one of the wealthiest urban counties in the United States and the organized entities of local, state, and federal government that are increasingly unamused by Oyler's incessant intransigence. A functional description of Indian sovereignty comes from Williams v. Lee, where the Court viewed it as "the right of reservation Indians to make their own laws and be ruled by them." In another sense, sovereignty is the power to initiate and insulate the internal laws. This articles seeks to detail and untangle the struggle of the United Tribe of Shawnee Indians in their claim to sovereignty from the late 1860's to the present day in the context of a mix of treaties, Public Laws and competing claims of state and local authorities.

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University of Missouri Kansas City Law Review





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