This lecture examines the concept of the “non-state” nation as an indigenous response to international state borders that challenge native sovereignty and traditional geographies. Native nations like the Gwich’in in the Arctic and the Tohono O’odham in Arizona Sonora assert their sacred spaces and nationhood through cultural practices, governance, and environmental management. In their efforts, they also redefine their identities as citizens of the U.S., Canada and Mexico — and significantly, of their nation. This discussion will look at the innovative response by these native nations based on fieldwork in the Yukon River and Arizonan Sonoran desert. Jen McCormack is the visiting assistant professor and scholar-in-residence at Colorado College’s Hulbert Center for Southwest Studies for fall 2015. A political geographer, McCormack also has done governance work in Indian Country for more than six years with the Native Nations Institute.
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