Politics on the Boundaries: U.S - Indigenous Relations and the Third Space of Sovereignty


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The claim of Politics on the Boundaries: U.S. –Indigenous Relations and the Third Space of Sovereignty is that the imposition of American colonial rule and the indigenous struggle against it must be understood as a conflict over boundaries, as conflict that has defined U.S.—indigenous relations since the time of the American Civil War. The imposition of colonial rule denotes the effort to the United States to narrowly bound the location of indigenous political status in space and time, seeking to limit the ability of indigenous people to define their own identity and develop economically and politically on their rights and resources from the liberal democratic settler-state while also challenging the imposition of colonial rule on their lives. This indigenous resistance engenders what I call a political system, but rather on these very boundaries, exposing the incoherence of American colonial rule. The work completed for the Gill Fellowship was three chapters (Chapters 3-5) of the manuscript, which address, in order, Chapter 3: the federal government’s 1871 decision to cease treaty-making with tribes; Chapter 4: the response of indigenous people to the prospect of becoming U.S. citizens in the early 20th century; and Chapter 5: the unique claims of indigenous politics in the 1960s, which I analyze through the contemporaneous writing of pre-eminent Native American studies scholar Vine Deloria Jr.

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