Native Studies Keywords explores selected concepts in Native studies and the words commonly used to describe them, words whose meanings have been insufficiently examined. This edited volume focuses on
the following eight concepts: sovereignty, land, indigeneity, nation, blood, tradition, colonialism, and indigenous knowledge. Each section includes three or four essays and provides definitions,
meanings, and significance to the concept, lending a historical, social, and political context.
The book consists of 17 analyses of terms as they appear not in the social science literature but in the literature of postmodernism. This being the case, the book will be most valuable in the humanities, where it will be a fundamental resource for those who generate theories and concepts.
Take sovereignty, for example. The word has served as the battle cry for social justice in
Indian Country. But what is the meaning of sovereignty? Native peoples with diverse political beliefs all might say they support sovereignty—without understanding fully the meaning and implications
packed in the word.
The field of Native studies is filled with many such words whose meanings are presumed, rather than articulated or debated. Consequently, the foundational terms within
Native studies always have multiple and conflicting meanings. These terms carry the colonial baggage that has accrued from centuries of contested words.
Native Studies Keywords is a
genealogical project that looks at the history of words that claim to have no history. It is the first book to examine the foundational concepts of Native American studies, offering multiple
perspectives and opening a critical new conversation.