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The Intent to Reserve Indian Water Rights: A Policy of Implications

This paper examines Indian water law and the influence of economics in relation to United States reservation policy. Under federal Indian law the quantification and uses of "paper" water must be determined by congressional intent. When the United States established reservations it reserved an implied right of sufficient water to fulfill the purposes of the reservation. The purposes of the reservation, therefore, become important questions and issues raised by Courts, lawyers, and scholars.

The basis of this paper is that congressional intent to create Indian reservations included a need to eliminate Indian interference for economic reasons. To help understand economic motive I utilize Thorstein Veblen's social- action / economic theories on The Leisure Class and Instinctive Workmanship. Working within these economic paradigms Indian tribes should have options to quantify water without the P.I.A. Standard and should be able to use water consistent with economic benefits.


Preston Parker Van Camp


Rob Williams





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