Terms and Definitions
for the Constitution of the White Earth Nation
Acknowledged Communities: Chapter 6, Article 4 states communities shall be established by petition, population, historic or totemic associations and ratified by a citizens in a referendum. Article 3 states each community shall be entitled to one elected Representative to serve on the LEgislative Council.
Amendment: a formal change to the White Earth Constitution. Chapter 20 established the process for amending the Constitution, which calls for a referendum vote and requires 2/3 majority of votes cast in that referendum to approve the amendment.
Artistic Irony: Literature, stories, academic and historical narratives, and creative, literary art, painting, sculpture, and other forms of art may be critical and demonstrate or express mockery, satire, and humor, in a way that may not please some citizens, politicians, teachers, and others. The nature of irony, or the political and creative practice of expressing one thing to mean another, and to be critical of others by irony is protected by the Constitution. The protection of artistic irony is an extension of the right of free speech.
Banishment: Some native governments allow banishment from reservations for various reasons, felonies and other crimes. The Constitution of the White Earth Nation protects citizens from banishment.
Certiorari: The word means a legal writ or written order by one court to review the decisions of another court, or a lower court, in other words, an appeal of a court decision.
Citizenship Eligibility: Chapter 2, Article 1 establishes that citizens of the White Earth Nation shall be descendants of Anishinaabeg families and related by linear descent to enrolled members of the White Earth Nation.
Citizens Rights and Duties (White Earth Bill of Rights): Chapters 2 and 3 of the White Earth Constitution. These are the basic rights that all White Earth citizens have and its purpose is to protect the people from the government. Chapters 2 and 3 contain 21 articles with over 26 distinct rights that protect the citizens of the White Earth Nation.
Checks and balances: a system set by the White Earth Constitution in which the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government have the power to check each other to maintain a “balance” of power. This includes the impeachment authority of the Legislative Council, the veto authority of the President, and the power of the White Earth Courts to review the constitutionality of actions by the legislative and executive branches.
Communities Represented in the Legislative Council: each community will have one representative in the Legislative Council. (Chapter 6, Article 3) These communities will be established according to population and “historic or totemic associations.” (Chapter 6, Article 4) Establishing or changing these communities shall be done by petition and ratified by a simple majority of eligible citizen voters in a general referendum. (Chapter 6, Article 4)
Double Jeopardy: Double jeopardy is forbidden by the White Earth Constitution at Chapter 3, Article 13. Double jeopardy is what would happen if someone were to be charged with a crime and be found innocent, and then be charged with that crime a second time.
Executive branch: one of the three branches of government with the duty of implementing and enforcing laws. The structure and authority of the executive branch are established in chapters 10 and 11 of the White Earth Constitution. The President is the head of the executive branch, is elected at large by voters of the White Earth Nation (Chapter 6, Article 5), and is the official elected representative of the White Earth Nation (Chapter 11, Article 1).
Habeas Corpus: The practice of habeas corpus is a legal action by which a person is allowed to petition a court for the protection of rights, a review by the court, a mandate, in other words, a writ or an order to bring a person to a court to determine the cause and authority of detention or incarceration.
Impeachment: a Constitutional “check” the Legislative Council has on all elected officials of the executive and legislative branches and all judges of the judicial branch. It involves an accusation against that official and may result in removal from office. Impeachment authority and procedures are defined in Chapter 6, Articles 13 and 14; Chapter 16, Articles 1 and 12; and Chapter 18, Articles 1 – 5.
Inalienable Rights: rights that cannot be taken away, and no one can give these rights away. Examples are human rights and the freedom of religion.
Judicial Branch: one of the three branches of the White Earth government with the purpose of interpreting laws and resolving disputes. The form and authority of the judicial branch is established in Chapters 10, 14, 15 and 16.
Judicial review: a power the White Earth Courts to review the constitutionality of acts passed by the Legislative Council or actions by the president. This authority is found at Chapter 14, Article 2 and Chapter 15.
Legislative Branch: one of the three branches of government with the purpose of proposing and passing laws, codes, ordinances, resolutions and statutes of the White Earth Nation. This authority is found in Chapter 10 and Chapter 12, Article 1.
Linear Descent: direct descent. A linear or straight line of genealogy: the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc of a person. Anyone who is a linear descendant of an enrollee is eligible for citizenship within the White Earth Nation. Chapter 2, Article 1.
Override: means to “overrule” and refers to the aspect of the “checks and balances” system at Chapter 11, Article 7, in which the Legislative Council can override a presidential veto by a two-thirds vote.
Quorum: the number of members required to be present for business to be legally conducted. Chapter 17, Article 14 establishes a quorum for the legislative Council at a simple majority of 51% of the elected members.
Reciprocal Altruism: These two words mean to return or give back as a mutual, humanitarian act, for the benefit of others, and in the unselfish compassionate interests of others. Reciprocal is to share a mutual obligation, and altruistic is to be unselfish, benevolent, and compassionate.
Referendum: the procedure that allows voters to vote directly on issues instead of going through the “indirect” process of having legislators vote for those issues. Chapter 19 of the White Earth Constitution establishes the process for referendum.
Representative government: also known as an “indirect democracy” or a republic. This is when the people elect “representatives” to make laws for their benefit. Chapter 6, Article 1 of the White Earth Constitution establishes this representative form of government for the White Earth Nation.
Representatives of the Legislative Council: shall come from the communities of the White Earth Nation. Each community will have one representative elected from that community to serve on the Legislative Council. White Earth citizens living outside the reservation will have two representatives to serve on the Legislative Council. These representatives will be elected at large. Chapter 6, Articles 3 and 7.
Reserved power: powers that are “reserved” for the citizens are identified in Chapter 12, Article 9 of the White Earth Constitution as, “The powers of government not specifically expressed or entrusted to the Legislative Council shall be reserved to the citizens of the White Earth Nation.”
Separation of powers: the philosophy of a balanced government in which each of the three branches (executive, legislative and judicial) have their own powers. Chapter 10 of the White Earth Constitution gives the legislative branch the sole power to make the law, the executive branch the sole power to implement the law, and the judicial the sole power to judge the law.
Survivance: Survivance means more than the ordinary act of survival. Survivance is an active sense of native presence over absence, or a sense of presence in native stories over an absence of natives in histories. Survivance is a renunciation, or rejection, of political and cultural dominance, and the unbearable sentiments of tragedy and victimry. Survivance is native courage, spirit, and native traditions.
Totemic Associations: The Anishinaabeg and many other native cultures created a tradition of totems or clans, the names of animals, birds, and other creatures, as sources of wisdom, personal values, inspiration, and the union of native families, or traditional totemic associations.
Veto: to reject a bill from the Legislative Council. This is the “check” that the president has on the powers of the legislative branch of government and is defined in Chapter 11, Articles 5 and 6.
Writ of Mandamus: A writ or formal legal written order in the name of a court issued to order a person or another court to carry out a statutory duty.