Colonial possessions: Alyosha Goldstein, ‘The Jurisprudence of Domestic Dependence’, Darkmatter Journal, 2016


Excerpt: Settler colonialism in the United States today is an assemblage of claims to place, possession, and permanence. Yet the dynamics of these claims are not simply the culmination of unchallenged and uninterrupted indigenous dispossession under US empire and settler-colonial governance. Rather, such claims pointedly seek to undo the contemporary particularity of indigenous sovereignty through an affirmation of privatisation, domestication, and heteronormativity. During the 1970s, United States policymakers responded to escalating Native American juridical and social movement demands with legislation that shifted the emphasis of federal Indian law, the distinct legal doctrine partially based on historical treaties and encompassing federally-recognised tribes in the United States. These demands gained international media attention with the tribal fishing rights protests in Washington State beginning in 1964, the occupation of Alcatraz Island by the Indians of All Tribes in 1969, the return of Blue Lake to the Taos Pueblo won in 1970, the Trail of Broken Treaties cross-country march in 1972, and the bloody counterinsurgency waged against the American Indian Movement at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota in 1973. In this context, legislation such as the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 reasserted forms of tribal authority and jurisdiction, even if neither fundamentally unsettled the plenary power of the US Congress.

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