Rethinking the Tribal Sovereignty Doctrine: Cultural Sovereignty and the Collective Future of Indian Nations
33 Pages Posted: 9 May 2009 Last revised: 9 Jun 2011
Date Written: 2001
This article calls for a reappraisal of the tribal sovereignty doctrine, one which looks within - to the "cultural sovereignty" of Indian Nations - for the core of its meaning rather than to an externally defined notion of tribal "political sovereignty." Part I of the article examines the limitations of the political sovereignty doctrine as it has been applied to Indian nations. In Part II, the article attempts to construct a doctrine of cultural sovereignty, premised on the central components of sovereignty as it is exercised and understood within tribal communities. Part III of the article suggests that cultural sovereignty is a process of reclaiming culture and of building nations. Using the metaphor of "repatriation," we discuss the key features of that process. Part IV concludes the article by offering a vision of what the future of Indian nations might be under a reconceptualized and integrated notion of political and cultural sovereignty.
Keywords: cultural sovereignty, political sovereignty, tribal sovereignty
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