Search In Books Blog
Book Details

From The University of Minnesota Press
Like a Loaded Weapon
The Rehnquist Court, Indian Rights, and the Legal History of Racism in America
By Robert A. Williams , Jr.
312 pp. / 5 7?8 x 9 / 2005 / Indigenous Americas Series
Buy This Book
Related Interest

Robert A. Williams, Jr. boldly exposes the ongoing legal force of the racist language directed at Indians in American society. Fueled by well-known negative racial stereotypes of Indian

"Impressive. This is a highly recommended work that provides a thorough analysis of the legal history of Indian rights in the United States."
Multicultural Review

"In his new book, Like a Loaded Weapon, Robert A. Williams, Jr. calls for a revolution. Not a violent revolution, nor even one that involves taking to the streets, but an immediate and transformative political event nonetheless. The Supreme Court must lead the way by overtly turning over two centuries of discriminatory legal rhetoric that perpetuates discrimination in fact."
Cultural Survival Quarterly

"Williams' book is of a rare breed for academic writing: thoroughly researched, meticulously sourced, intelligently argued, and passionate to the point of anger."
Law and Politics Book Review

"Williams’s analysis of the language of Indian law makes this book a valuable addition to both history and law classes. He offers specific proposals for Indian law advocates. It should be required reading for Supreme Court justices. "
— Western Historical Quarterly
savagery and cultural inferiority, this language, Williams contends, has functioned "like a loaded weapon" in the Supreme Court's Indian law decisions.

Beginning with Chief Justice John Marshall's foundational opinions in the early nineteenth century and continuing today in the judgments of the Rehnquist Court, Williams shows how undeniably racist language and precedent are still used in Indian law to justify the denial of important rights of property, self-government, and cultural survival to Indians. Building on the insights of Malcolm X, Thurgood Marshall, and Frantz Fanon, Williams argues that racist language has been employed by the courts to legalize a uniquely American form of racial dictatorship over Indian tribes by the U.S. government.

Williams concludes with a revolutionary proposal for reimagining the rights of American Indians in international law, as well as strategies for compelling the current Supreme Court to confront the racist origins of Indian law and for challenging bigoted ways of talking, thinking, and writing about American Indians.

About Robert A. Williams , Jr.

Robert A. Williams, Jr. is professor of law and American Indian studies at the James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona. A member of the Lumbee Indian Tribe, he is author of The American Indian in Western Legal Thought: The Discourses of Conquest and coauthor of Federal Indian Law.