"In 1959, the Supreme Court ushered in a new era of Indian law, which recognizes Indian tribes as permanent governments within the federal constitutional system and, on the whole, honors old promises to the Indians. Drawing together historical sources such as the records of treaty negotiations with the Indians, classic political theory on the nature of sovereignty, and anthropological studies of societal change, Wilkinson evaluates the Court's work in Indian law over the past twenty five years and considers the effects of time on law."--Back cov. Preface -- Introduction -- 1. The challenge of the modern era -- The field of indian law: barriers to unitary doctrine -- Setting rights within the reservations: the laws of the nineteenth century -- Indian law at the beginning of the modern era -- 2. Insulation against time -- Protection against de facto termination -- Protection against encroachment due to nonuser -- Protection against modern statutes -- 3. The elevation of tribalism -- The nomenclature of sovereignty -- Unity of recognition -- The right to change -- The permanency of tribal existence -- The higher sovereign -- 4. Territorial jurisprudence -- Unity of territory -- The tribes, the states, and the constitution -- The nexus with legitimate tribal interests -- Majority within a minority: the quandary of political representation -- Conclusion -- Appendix. Supreme Court cases during the modern era, 1959-1986 -- Notes -- Index.