Today, Oct. 9, is Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the United States. In connection with the holiday, we present a selection of recent Just Security articles analyzing Indigenous issues at the intersection of law, policy, climate, justice, and more.
Series on Native Sovereignty in U.S Supreme Court Cases
- On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Reflections on Tribal Sovereignty in Haaland v. Brackeen by Amanda L. White Eagle:
Today, on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Indigenous people grapple with colonialism, history, and trauma. A future that truly honors Indigenous people and Tribal Nations must be rooted in sovereignty and begin from a place of self-determination – including jurisdiction over a sovereign Tribe’s own members. Tribal sovereignty has a storied history with a complex legal relationship with the United States. Contemporaneous indigeneity allows Indigenous people and allies to see that history while simultaneously recognizing and celebrating the exercise of tribal sovereignty. The intersection of the past and present provide education, resilience, and hope.
The assimilationist project failed once before. But in Denezpi and other cases challenging Native sovereignty, modern-day proponents seek to revive it under the guise of concerns over individual rights. This particular case is framed around double jeopardy, but that should not be allowed to obscure its deeper purpose: as part of a long line of efforts to chip away at the sovereignty of Native nations.
A nation’s sovereignty and security are inherently bound up with the right to control its territory. There are few greater threats to national security than the arbitrary loss of territory – and there are few sovereigns whose national security is more precarious than Native nations, sovereigns within a sovereign that have seen their rights eroded time and again.
Climate and Indigenous Issues
Climate change disproportionately impacts Tribal Nations in the United States and Indigenous communities worldwide, and Indigenous activists have been at the forefront of worldwide climate leadership — even as their efforts face repression.
- Broader Lessons About Resilience from Maui’s Fires by Daniel P. Aldrich
- Will Canada Stand Up for Indigenous Rights or Continue Supporting Big Oil? by Whitney Gravelle, Lindsay Bailey, Tamara Morgenthau and Marco Simons
- Treaty Negotiations with Pacific Island Nations Must Address Accountability Gaps by Shannon Marcoux
- In Addressing Climate Change, Business as Usual Is Climate Injustice by Nikhil Deb and Nadia Genshaft-Volz
Intersectional Writing on Justice and National Security
Professor Aziz Rana, in National Security Law and the Originalist Myth – published in connection with the Oxford University Press/Just Security volume Race and National Security (Professor Matiangai V. S. Sirleaf, ed.) – writes:
Ultimately, any genuine project of national security reform requires more than reviving a fictive eighteenth century of checks and balances. It instead entails treating foreign interventionism as only one expression of a broader colonial imagination and infrastructure, present since the framing and never adequately uprooted. Alongside challenging the state’s international police power, such a reformist approach includes ending the colonial status of all the existing territorial dependencies – in line with the genuine political desires of local and self-determining communities. It also revolves around everything from sharing sovereignty with Native peoples and land return to reparations, decriminalizing the border, transformative and structural reforms to intelligence and policing apparatuses, and providing judicial avenues for the remedy of past colonial crimes as well as contemporary national security ones.
A growing number of our authors explore national security through a lens that grapples with the consequences of settler-colonialism, past and present, in the United States and elsewhere. While these themes cut through various Just Security articles, recommended starting points include:
- Lieber at Sand Creek: A New Critical Reinterpretation of the Laws of War by John Fabian Witt, engaging with Settler Empire and the United States: Francis Lieber on the Laws of War by Helen M. Kinsella
- Racing National Security Symposium, edited by Matiangai Sirleaf