Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, and the Making of a Nation is one of the inaugural books in the multi-press collaborative series First Peoples, New Directions in Indigenous Studies. In a guest post for the First Peoples blog, author Malinda Maynor Lowery (Lumbee) writes about how she continues to navigate the effects of colonialism in her ongoing work in her Lumbee community and in her scholarship.
My book, Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South, has been called on to do several kinds of work since its release. Some of it, I feel, genuinely approaches a decolonizing purpose–an affirmation of inherent sovereignty–while some of it reinforces agendas set forth by the colonizer, thus yielding that sovereignty. To paraphrase scholar Kevin Bruyneel (The Third Space of Sovereignty), indigenous peoples claim a retained sovereignty while American law and policy possess a “colonial ambivalence” toward sovereignty that continually compromises our ability to express it. Colonialism thrives on the supposedly fixed boundaries between written and oral, indigenous and European, sovereign and dependent, colonized and colonizer. Indeed, our scholarship often resides within these boundaries as well and strengthens colonialism; but I hope that I can put this book to work in a way that will cross, expose, and disable those boundaries rather than strengthen them.
Read the full article, “Troubles Decolonizing a Colonial History,” over at the First Peoples Blog.