Wilkins and Lightfoot (2008) provide a detailed analysis of various governmental and kinship systems in Indigenous populations and groups. The researchers sought to investigate the relevance and implications of the IRA for the development of oaths of office and the adoption of constitutions and various institutional arrangements in tribal communities. According to Wilkins and Lightfoot (2008), oaths of office can be readily traced to the earliest years of the human history, when they served an effective way of holding a promise; however, the modern oath of office demonstrates a distinctly Anglo-Saxon character.
Tribal communities used to adopt oaths of office for a variety of reasons, either to adjust their institutional arrangements to the needs and norms of the Western mentality or to cope with the ecclesiastical influences from different Western-based faiths (Wilkins & Lightfoot, 2008).
In their article, Wilkins and Lightfoot (2008) provide a brief description of indigenous oaths of office. They develop an extensive typology of oaths of office in tribal communities. Wilkins and Lightfoot (2008) write that tribal communities developed oaths of office to support the U.S. Constitution, their office duties, and meet the interests of their community/ tribe. The types of oaths described by Wilkins and Lightfoot (2008) include federal allegiance, native self-determination, and federal deference. The authors support a hypothesis that the IRA caused profound influences on the development and content of oaths of office in tribal communities (Wilkins & Lightfoot, 2008).
Numerous forced played the major role in the development and implementation of pre-IRA constitutions, including missionaries and Indian students coming back from boarding schools (Wilkins & Lightfoot, 2008). In many aspects, the relationship between the United States and native communities is far more complex than previously assumed (Wilkins & Lightfoot, 2008). The future research must focus on the analysis of forces that led Indigenous communities in the U.S. to adopt different types of oaths of office.