‘Mind the Gap’: Journeys in Indigenous Sovereignty and Nationhood

Kirwan, Padraig. 2015. ‘Mind the Gap’: Journeys in Indigenous Sovereignty and Nationhood. Comparative American Studies, 13(1-2), pp. 42-57. ISSN 1477-5700 [Article]

No full text available

Abstract or Description

Sovereignty. Self-determination. Autonomy. Nation. Native American studies is currently being shaped dramatically by this particular set of terms, and the prevailing discourse aims to interrogate not only various senses of tribal self-determination, but also earlier formulations of cultural, spiritual, political, and artistic autonomy. Indeed, the publication of myriad nuanced and substantial works of scholarship focusing on the subject of sovereignty alone is testament to the critical role that definitions of indigenous self-determination and authority play within the field today. Inevitably, perhaps, it is also the case that the definition of the terms mentioned above, and the application of those terms to any particular set of circumstances in Indian Country, is not entirely a straightforward affair. Nor, given the seriousness of the matter in hand, should it be. On the contrary, the values that a state of sovereignty affords a Native individual or tribe is a complex and multifaceted matter, and should be understood as such. For that reason, while it is vital to prioritize the benefits of tribal independence, it is also necessary to take note of the diverse nature of a range of issues that inform current conversations about indigenous homelands, tribal self-government, and various forms of Native sovereignty. The purpose of this essay is to consider that diversity in situ, and to raise some important questions about the possibility — and effectiveness — of signalling our international support for indigenous communities as they seek to enact and express various forms of sovereignty and nationhood.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


24 June 2015Published Online
14 November 2014Accepted

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

29 Nov 2015 20:50

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 17:01

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



Edit Record Edit Record (login required)