Introduction: Symposium on Cultural Sovereignty
14 Pages Posted: 9 May 2009 Last revised: 16 Jun 2011
Date Written: 2002
Sovereignty is a vital concept to Native people. The concept of cultural sovereignty may seem a bit ambiguous to legal scholars who are trained to see Native sovereignty as a function of federal Indian law doctrine. Native peoples' cultural and spiritual values are abstracted from this concept, and the Supreme Court frames the content of Native sovereignty according to Western jurisprudential ideals. Cultural sovereignty requires us to frame the content of Native sovereignty through a Native jurisprudential lens. We started with the premise that it is up to Native people to articulate the affirmative content of their inherent sovereignty. We sought to examine the spiritual and traditional content of Native sovereignty, as well as its contemporary expression. The third part offers perspectives on the strategies necessary to reclaim political and cultural sovereignty for Native peoples. Today, politicians attempt to convince the Native Hawaiians that they are not a kingdom, but merely a group of Native people that should be content with recognition by the federal government. It is my hope that the many perspectives offered by the authors to this Symposium will inspire further dialogue on the content of Native sovereignty.
Keywords: Native people, cultural sovereignty, political sovereignty
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