The Sovereignty of Everything, the Power of Nothing


Tribal sovereignty is arguably the most important, unifying concept across Indian Country. It is about more than political boundaries; it defines nothing less than our living, collective power which is generated as traditions are respectfully developed, sustained, and transformed to confront new conditions. We as Native peoples have been too lax with these words, allowing their power to be misused and even turned against our own relatives.

Words matter. And sovereignty is a word so strong and generous that it can be stretched to fancy-up just about any idea, from the profound to the frivolous. Yet, even as we dilute and diminish it through overuse, we know that it is our individual and collective sovereignty as citizens of Tribal nations that unites and protects us. It is both a weapon and a shield wielded on behalf of our lands and peoples.

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Copyright © 2015 Indian Country Today. This article first appeared in Indian Country Today Media Network (May 2015).

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