Steve Russell: Nationhood, citizenship and our sovereignty

"Citizenship is a tricky word in Indian country. It’s “citizenship” rather than “membership” if an Indian nation is not a club and you can’t join it.

“Nation” or “tribe” is another semantic issue that conceals as much politics as citizenship. I dislike “nation” because we don’t have all the attributes of a nation and most of us are ill equipped to take on nationhood. Others dislike “tribe” because of the anthropological baggage that connotes primitive peoples lacking sophistication or agency in the community of nations.

The problem is we are not states. We did not ratify the U..S Constitution and we dare not unless it is amended to account for us in a fuller manner than it does."

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Steve Russell: Citizenship and Nations (Indian Country Today 3/20)

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