Sovereignty is a contested term in Native American and Indigenous Studies, but as political scientist David Wilkins has asserted, tribal sovereignty is not the same as Western concepts of sovereignty. It exists as a “spiritual, moral, and cultural force” that propels a tribal community towards political economic and cultural integrity and “mature relationships” with itself, with other groups, and with the environment. The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) exemplifies this definition and shows how tribal sovereignty applies to the complex process of decolonization among Lake Superior Ojibwe.
In this excerpt from Choosing the Jesus Way, Angela Tarango tells the story of Charlie Lee, an American Indian convert to Christianity who embraced both the Indian and Pentecostal parts of his life.
The Indians fought to right the relationship they had with the North Carolina settlers and colonial government. They had been insulted, abused, enslaved, and cheated by traders. They lost land. And their complaints fell on deaf ears.
Tracy Devine Guzman gives a book talk about Native and National in Brazil: Indigeneity after Independence, at Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida.
As Sherman points out, whether gaming can be a viable means of asserting and defending tribal sovereignty in the long term remains under debate. What does seem clear, however, is that Mashantucket Pequots’ recognition by the federal government produced new political, cultural, and economic dilemmas as well as important new possibilities for revitalizing and sustaining the tribal nation.
Rethinking how the representation of indigenous needs and interests works in local, national, and international politics, and reconfiguring the problematic relationship between indigeneity and dominant sovereignty, means more than Native peoples’ being inserted, or even inserting themselves, into existing political structures and institutions—however crucial and challenging that feat continues to be. At the very least, it must also mean rethinking sovereignty in collaboration with indigenous peoples and not for them.
That reaction to Indians’ pursuit of wealth has a lot to teach us, not only about common conceptions of Indians but also about dilemmas inherent in Indian/non-Indian relations and in America’s economy because of that economy’s foundation in lands and resources appropriated from indigenous peoples.
We are honored and delighted to share the news of some of our most recent award-winning books. Hope you’ll join us in congratulating these fine authors. And you may want to consider using some of these books in your classroom or kitchen. Click the cover images or book titles to go to the book page …
I was back in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the lowland agro-industrial capital of Bolivia for the months of July and August 2012 in order to understand a new political conflict that had exploded between the government of Evo Morales and lowland Indigenous groups in 2011.
Along with the growth of tribal bureaucracies, this turn toward tribal capitalism has given Indians new reasons to articulate, ponder, and debate some of the basic principles that guide or should guide their economic affairs—to consider in particular whether economic aims and relations in Indian communities do or should differ from those that predominate in the United States.
In this second of two interviews, Fabricant discusses the ways in which indigeneity has been mobilized as well as some of the causes of the widespread disillusionment with the nation’s first Indigenous president, Evo Morales.
November is American Indian Heritage Month. Here are some of UNC Press’ recent books on American Indian culture, traditions, history, and modern society.
One of the most vivid memories of my experience in the museum world—and one that has shaped both my understanding of collaboration and the significance of objects to Indigenous communities—took place in 1995 at the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS). As an exhibit researcher working on Families, an exhibition funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities focusing on Minnesota families that opened at MHS in 1995, one of my responsibilities was to locate a Native American family to be featured in the exhibition.
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Mobility is a central trope in the book because it informed my thinking about indigeneity and movement building in Bolivia. I realized that in order to effectively capture the Landless Peasant Movement’s ( Movimiento Sin Tierra/MST) organizational strategies, I would have to be in constant motion. I traveled with MST activists on the back of agricultural trucks for nearly 20 hours from the city to their communities, lived in two MST agro-ecological communities, traversed regional spaces, as well as national and international spaces of organizing. The life of an organizer is in constant motion and, as an ethnographer, I too had to be constantly traveling.