In the past sixty-odd years, Indigenous nations and tribal groups have increasingly expanded their authority and advanced their communities’ interests in the realm of environmental protection. Multiple Sovereigns and Transient Resources: Contested Ecosystems and Expanding Tribal Jurisdiction in the Great Lakes Region seeks to understand some of the ways in which tribes and inter-tribal groups in the Lake Superior region have extended their influence over, engagement with, and impacts on environmental management and resource regulation. In particular, this dissertation investigates how tribes have mobilized jurisdictional authority to demand a seat at the table in regulatory discussions that impact their reservations and the treaty-ceded territories in the region. In so doing, this dissertation builds an empirical record of some of the strategies and mechanisms that tribes have used to advance their environmental interests in practical terms. This empirical record forms the basis of a more sustained critical engagement with the concept of jurisdiction. Intervening in legal geography, political ecology, and Indigenous legal scholarship, this dissertation argues that contests over environmental jurisdiction are not just disputes about static administrative units within fixed governmental hierarchies, but also enroll the authority to interpret and define the law and its normative orders. Through interviews, participant observation, archival review, and doctrinal legal analysis, I demonstrate how jurisdiction is practiced and produced through the day to day acts of permitting, rule-making, enforcing regulatory standards, litigating conflicts, building infrastructures, degrading and restoring habitats, and negotiating between governmental entities. Tracing the jurisdictional expansions of the Indigenous “third sovereign” illuminates the particular ontologies that ground state and federal environmental regulatory practices, but also provides a set of alternatives for thinking about resource protection in an integrated, dynamic, and co-dependent ecosystem.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.October 2018. Major: Geography. Advisors: Bruce Braun, George Henderson. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 329 pages.
Multiple Sovereigns and Transient Resources: Contested Ecosystems and Expanding Tribal Jurisdiction in the Great Lakes Region.
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