Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
NA Diaspora Conference Paper Herman C. Hudson Conference 2009

NA Diaspora Conference Paper Herman C. Hudson Conference 2009

Ratings: (0)|Views: 2 |Likes:
Herman C. Hudson Conference 2009
Herman C. Hudson Conference 2009

More info:

Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Cierra Olivia Thomas-Williams on May 06, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOC, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





Diaspora has become a powerful theoretical and ideological lens through which scholarsof the American academy connect members of disparate groups. It has been described by PaulGilroy in
The Black Atlantic
as a “condition of modernity,” (attached to a process) whereas BrentHayes Edwards in
The Practice of Diaspora
theorizes it as a methodological “practice,” which“can be articulated (or brought together) only in forms that are provisional, negotiated, [and]asymmetrical.”
But what is it exactly that constitutes the articulation (or bringing together) of diasporic communities? And does this practice extend to social groups that can be said to alsoconstitute sovereign nations? Rachel Buff’s
 Immigration and the Political Economy of Home
and Renya K. Ramirez’s
 Native Hubs
together offer a glimpse at what such articulations (or connections) might look like in (some of) America’s contemporary indigenous communities.Buff and Ramirez each find utility in diaspora studies and read together they provide insightsinto the ways in which Indian Country might contain diasporic communities of its own. This project considers their contributions to these complex discourses as a means to enter intodialogue with contemporary pressing issues in Indian Country and Native American andIndigenous Studies (NAIS).Before engaging directly in a discussion of how Native American and Indigenous peoplesdefine nation status and their citizenship within these nations, it is important to set parameters or at least provide a basic framework for understanding what diaspora means in the context of this project. I want to avoid making definitive disclaimers as to what diaspora is, because it is not my purpose to make claims of truth and foreclose alternatives. It is productive to instead to examinediaspora in terms of the discourses it has produced to understand how Edward’s diasporic“practices” articulate through communities. In her essay “Defining Diaspora, Refining aDiscourse,” Kim D. Butler argues that for a community to be considered in diasporic terms itThomas-Williams 1
must address at the minimum four things: “1) Reason for, and conditions of, the dispersal, 2)Relationship to the homeland, 3) Relationship to the hostlands, [and] 4) Interrelationships withincommunities of the diaspora.”
- tools for comparative research - Using Butler’s generalguideline, diasporic “systems of meaning and representation” can be said to intersect withdiscourses produced in Native American and Indigenous Studies about nationhood andcitizenship.The nation-state is seemingly a formulation
antithetical to diaspora
, which begins inmany ways with a rejection of full membership to the national polity – this is what necessitatescoalition building through diasporic communities. Vine Deloria, Jr. defines nationhood as a“process of decision making that is free and uninhibited within the community, a community infact that is almost insulated from external factors as it considers its possible options.” While thenation is an idea “distinct from the old Indian culture and traditions”; he argues, however, thatnationhood “is the only form of political participation that the Unites States government wouldrecognize and deal with.”
Indigenous populations distinct from one another existed on thecontinent that came to be called America long before the formulation of the federal U.S.government. It does no one any good to pretend that indigenous people were passive and peaceful all the time: there was slavery (Dels project) and inter-tribal warfare. But to borrowlanguage from Anna Tsing in
, the “scale” of power in slavery and inter-tribal warfarewas balanced very differently than upon colonization. In other words, the stakes in control of thesocial, material, and cultural processes of a community were very different pre-colonization than post. Indigenous populations of America have struggled for sovereignty and autonomy from theUnited States since
inception, California Indians have a special place in this history.Thomas-Williams 2
This struggle for the self determination or sovereignty of indigenous people plays outwithin
the borders of the American host land
initially indigenous home land
—andmanifests through the establishment of nationhood separate or sovereign from America and itsother nations within. Nationhood relies upon some sense of a physical border between two or, inthis case, more nations. Mary Pat Brady argues borders function as “the producer of a constantreenactment of historical divisions, conquest, and control.” However, as Deloria, Jr.demonstrates, the establishment of national borders also functions as a form of indigenoussurvival and resistance and these indigenous resistances are central to Native American andIndigenous studies. For American Indians in California, insulation from “external factors” isnearly impossible due to the continual encroachment upon indigenous lands, the termination of tribal lands to allow for the incorporation of those sacred lands into the larger geography of California – (“perhaps this is what as a condition of modernity.”)
conditions of dispersal are the conditions of citizenship in NAIS
(larger paper does historical look at the making and unmaking, or recognition and termination, of California tribes, for the purposes of this talk I am focusing on more contemporary issues.)Citizenship itself is multilayered in America as “natural” residents become citizens by birth.Simultaneously, Americans also have membership as citizens within state and local polities all of which entails rights, privileges, and obligations specific to those polities, but these also connotedefinitive land boundaries and borders relating directly to the polities at hand. For indigenous people, historically citizenship entailed a lengthy judicial process that for some, like CaliforniaIndians, ended in the termination of the (U.S. official) “boundaries and borders” of their sacredlands and their sovereignty as indigenous people. Vine Deloria, Jr. in
 Exiled in the Land of the Free
writes that in 1870 under the fourteenth amendment of the Federal Constitution, IndiansThomas-Williams 3

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->