Civil Rights versus Sovereignty: Native American Women in Life and Land Struggles
This essay explores conflicts between civil rights and sovereignty in the liberation struggles of American indigenous peoples. Understanding these conflicts is crucial in locating the position of native women in relation to both patriarchal tribal structures and to the United States, which I define here as an advanced colonial/capitalist state. An overview of the historical legal disenfranchisement of native peoples and two contemporary court cases involving women's loss of tribal status demonstrate that it is insufficient to view the U.S. solely as an advanced capitalist state. To fully comprehend the struggles of native peoples, and specifically native women, we must also understand the U.S. as an advanced colonial state, because territorial colonization remains integral to the relationship between the state and native peoples.