Thursday, April 22, 2010


From April 19 through April 30, 2010, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will be in session.

Statements (interventions) submitted to the Permanent Forum are available here. And, this service is provided by doCip (Indigenous Peoples' Center for Documentation, Research and Information.)

Access to the UNPFII is quite difficult for the common Indigenous peoples--from regional and national meetings (where agendas are established and set)to transnational meetings (where hemispheric understandings are shaped) to the annual UNPFII session (where Indigenous delegates shape the 'voice' of Indigenous communities.

The politics of access continue to incise and sculpt the disparities and unbalance reflected in Indigenous self-determination movements, and at times gloss over how much at odds community-level analysis differs from elites' articulations of 'crisis.' While 'self-determination' and 'sovereignty' continue to be defined through normative Western political-science frameworks within U.N. realms, the lack of will by Indigenous delegates to challenge 'sovereignty' as an artifact of Western thought and to determine frameworks that disrupt normative sovereignty is nowhere to be seen in this year's opening statements.

Indigenous communities defending themselves against intensified violence and the use of violence by states, nations and nations-within-nations (the Indigenous polity) is hyperperipheralized, again.

The use of normative sovereignty to evade the ways in which 'sovereignty' is used daily as an umbrella to glaze over the ways in which--locally, regionally, nationally, and globally--Indigenous polities are not innocent of their enmeshments with the state, and not innocent of the use of this legal platform to exert violence against their own--is marginalized. And, this is crucial because most indigenous peoples experience violence intimately, in their closest environs--where the Indigenous polity of the household, community center, council, is entangled with the violence of the state.

Indigenous communities challenging deep militarization--at the bordered peripheries of the 'core', are increasingly pushing back on the tightening of the fist around the throat of their communities by oligarchical polities and challenging this across entire regions (comprised of both non-Indigenous and Indigenous leadership). The communiites experiencing physical, economic, and penetrating psychological violence as a result of violent dispossessions, displacements, and persecutions through the apparatus of the state working with and through the nation-within-the-nation sort of violence absolutely threaten the ideation that Indigenous sovereignty is utopic and unscathed. The voices from below are indicators that 'Indigenous sovereignty' and its discontents--must be allowed open debate, and put up for scrutiny if true self-determination and autonomy will ever gain traction among the common people--who are at best skeptical of the UNPFII larger impact on the Indigenous peoples from below.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Restoring Lipan Apache Women's Laws, Lands, and Strength in El Calaboz Rancheria at the Texas-Mexico Border

Published in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 2010, vol. 35, no. 3, The University of Chicago.
Comparative Perspectives Symposium: Indigenous Feminisms

Abstract: Ndé gową goshjaa (Lipan Apache families or clan relations) produce a significant portion of indigenous alliances and resistances to imperialism, colonization, industrialization, and militarization in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in south Texas. The visibility of Ndé isdzáné (Lipan Apache women) in the Lower Rio Grande Valley changed radically after the passage of the Secure Fence Act in 2006. In this essay, I speak from my position as one of the cofounders of the Lipan Apache Women Defense and as the third‐born daughter of vocal and consistent leaders of the reemergent Ndé isdzáné in the traditional territories of the Ndé. My analysis is not meant to substitute for the important analysis of local matrilineal leaders, nor is it meant to be static. Rather, as an Ndé isdzáné scholar, I must allow the space to make and to know the people, politics, histories, events, and meanings as they continue to unfold. I believe that Ndé isdzáné, as a basis for Ndé activism (which includes supportive brothers) and as a category of analysis, furthers the work of feminism in U.S., North American, indigenous, and global indigenous human rights defense work. Investigating the histories of our indigenous foremothers—respecting and acknowledging community‐based rights, wishes, and aspirations—challenges Ndé women and our allies to reflect on the rights work of contemporary indigenous women in militarized and state‐occupied policing zones and their roles and challenges as political actors in extreme struggles against economic enslavement, dispossession, land theft, vital resource deprivation, environmental destruction, detention, rape, racialized sexism, indentured servitude, and casta.