AdvisorMarston, Sallie A.
Committee ChairMarston, Sallie A.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation examines 'sovereignty' as not only a theoretical abstraction of power relations within finite territories, but also as a very alive practice, a daily defense of inherent rights based on Indigenous philosophical notions of power and space. I examine the perspectives of Indigenous practitioners who either through their conversations and/or life ways cultivate an original conception of sovereignty, specifically the governance of the Gwich'in people, a nation of 15 villages in the Arctic Circle. As an Indigenous nation living within legal structures of a settler state, they offer an alternative understanding of collective political power, rooted outside the western European paradigm but simultaneously confronting those ambits. I argue that rather than an alternative narrative of resistance towards secession or segregation, the Gwich'in Nation provide a viable, pro-active and realized form of co-existent sovereignty. This sovereignty is a form of political collective identity and a relationship with the environment and non-human actors, as well as other governments, that is productive, creative and focused as much on future generations as drawing from tradition.
Degree ProgramGraduate College