The Legal Universe: Observations on the Foundations of American Law
It communicates the tenuous ground of settler sovereignty in two main ways: usurpation and reinterpretation. Specifically, usurpation is a defiant orientation to the mediums and infrastructures that legitimize the contract of recognition. View all notes Although Simpson documents border defiance wherein people take over state infrastructure in contesting hegemonic border making as a prominent kind of usurpation, there are many examples throughout history showing how usurpation also involves seizing official channels of governance and using them to desecrate the contract of recognition.
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View all notes For example, in , hundreds of Oglala Lakota and members of the American Indian Movement forewent meeting with Bureau of Indian Affairs officials after law enforcement prohibited entry. The emphasis on the census, however, refuses dominant state-sanctioned classifications of legal status. Even though the nation-state bears a disproportionate interpretive authority, treaties and precedents still remind that, just as Indigenous peoples are bound to a contract of recognition with the nation-state, so too is the nation-state bound to contracts and treaties that recognize Indigenous nation sovereignty.
For a discussion of the problem of legibility and desecration see Linda Diane Horwitz and Catherine H. Michael G. Lacy and Mary E.
View all notes As will be demonstrated below, the Geneva campaign gears reinterpretation toward refusal—that is, toward desecration—by interpreting international law in a way that disavows Canada, the United States, and the League of Nations as naturalized sources of recognition and that centers Haudenosaunee theories of law and politics. Within this impossibility, refusal emerges as a viable tactic by demanding recognition in ways that also subvert the givenness of the nation-state form.
The Geneva campaign desecrated the legitimacy of Canada and the United States as sources of recognition by usurping the judicial procedures underway in North America and embarking on an international campaign. Even though Indigenous relations with settler states always have been international because of the use of treaties, both Canada and the United States spent much of the nineteenth century crafting settler sovereignty. Both were known for corruption and bureaucratic disarray. View all notes For example, as mentioned above, after enforcing the Indian Act in Grand River in the early twentieth century, Canada began restructuring tribal governance, ousting hereditary chiefs like Deskaheh and seizing wampum.
Edward Rogers and David B. Smith Toronto: Dundurn Press, , — However, instead of going back to Canada, Deskaheh and his lawyer George P. Decker decided to appeal to a higher authority than either nation-state: the League of Nations. The League was an obvious choice because international forums have longbeen used to contest disputes between nations as well as to establish legitimacy for political actors.
View all notes Here, Chief Deskaheh explicitly states that the Haudenosaunee refuse to domesticate their dispute to Canadian legal channels and will seize the realm of international law instead. After leaving Britain, the campaign garnered a wider international audience. Digital copy retrieved with permission from Six Nations Public Library.
Box B IV, Box B Berman Collection, Charles B. The procedures for interpreting and upholding international law were not any more egalitarian than those guiding domestic Canadian or US law. However, the Geneva campaign seized a moment wherein decolonizing nations were taking and, most importantly, modifying the language of statehood from international law to assert their independence from colonial rule.
By , the League of Nations was a key player in this struggle as some decolonizing nations, such as Ethiopia, successfully gained recognition as nation-states, while others, such as the Six Nations and Azerbaijan were rejected. The decentering of Anglo-European norms of sovereignty disturbed the European community of nations. As natural law waned, international law was imagined in the nineteenth century as providing a common language to mediate between sovereignties.
View all notes The Hague Conferences, the Permanent International Court, and the League of Nations were intended to institutionalize this common language and, thus, provide a foundation for an international contract of recognition.
Vine Deloria Jr. Symposium – 2017
Ulmen New York: Telos Press, Schmitt, Nomos. In addition to presenting the League of the Six Nations as commensurate to other nation-states in international law, the Geneva campaign argued that Indigenous nation sovereignty precedes Anglo-European notions of sovereignty.
In demanding recognition, the campaign also refused to participate in League forums according to League rules. Even though the campaign expressly addressed the League and petitioned for membership, Deskaheh realized early on that its forums and procedures worked against him. Howard R. View all notes Even after the League banned the pamphlet Deskaheh refused to stop its circulation. For instance, the Delegation sent a letter of support to the Secretary-General in September and Iranian representative Arfa-ed-Dowleh followed up numerous times, demanding that Deskaheh be allowed to speak directly to the Council.
The campaign legitimizes both its demand for recognition and its usurpation of hegemonic legal procedures by reinterpreting the terms of the contract of recognition. As Vine Deloria, Jr. Patricia J. View all notes However, the campaign reinterprets legal and political texts only to subvert the nation-state as the source of interpretive authority. Like many early twentieth-century disputes over jurisdiction, the Geneva campaign uses treaties and case law as evidence for prior sovereignty.
View all notes Although citing treaties and other official records of settler sovereignty inevitably subjects Indigenous rhetors to the tenets of the contract of recognition, Simpson notes that they always gesture beyond settler sovereignty: Regardless of intent, regardless of interpretation, [treaties] represent agreement and recognition; they are forms of covenant-making that bind.
And that is where consent is bound with recognition, and refusal both symptomatic of interpretive truth itself and a mechanism for other possibilities. In that case the State of Georgia, successor of a British colony, had based her claim to sovereignty over the Cherokees on the terms of British Crown charters granted to a company of British colonizers. The Dominion of Canada, like the Government at Washington, nevertheless, adopted a policy since about the year , when their own man-power had made it prudent, to construe the obligation to protect against aggression into a paternalistic right to govern aborigines in their home affairs, with a view of ultimate coersed [ sic ] absorption into the body politic of European settlements.
View all notes The beads were made into belts and used as recording devices for enshrining significant acts in public memories. Francis Jennings and William N. View all notes In the Great Lakes and Eastern Woodlands regions during the 17th and 18th centuries, wampum were central to treaty negotiations between Indigenous nations and between settlers and Indigenous nations because they had the performative function of formalizing agreements and making them binding through the ritualized act of reading the memories recorded therein.
In many ways, wampum usurp official channels of recognition because they are tactile and oral instead of visual like written contracts.
Thus, instead of sealing an agreement with a signature, reading wampum captures the relationship and, most of all, enables it to be renewed again and again. Because they still served the vitally important function of renewing covenants and relationships, wampum were still important even though they were no longer used in treaties.
View all notes Due to their importance, Canada stole them in one of the Grand River raids in Deskaheh and Decker wanted the wampum to represent prior recognition of Haudenosaunee independence as well as a renewal of the promises exchanged between settlers and the council. During the time period, there was an ongoing dispute between the hereditary council of chiefs, the elected council, Canadian Indian Affairs, and various museums over stolen wampum.
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In fact, Deskaheh was under investigation by Indian Affairs for supposedly bringing the Geneva the original Haldimand Treaty and a silver peace pipe. Edwards, Nov. Public Archives of Canada. Daphne marked it as to-read Apr 27, Melissa marked it as to-read Oct 01, Jaime Morse marked it as to-read Jun 25, Abbie Gellatly marked it as to-read Jun 30, Kari Fabeck marked it as to-read Oct 14, JR marked it as to-read Dec 23, Erin Dodge marked it as to-read Dec 26, Sarah Ertle marked it as to-read Apr 28, Desiree marked it as to-read Aug 04, Bridget is currently reading it Oct 14, BlancaElena87 marked it as to-read Oct 26, Tim marked it as to-read Jan 14, Lindsay marked it as to-read Jan 18, Lottie marked it as to-read Mar 22, Lisa Williams marked it as to-read Jul 24, Cian marked it as to-read Sep 05, Kristen marked it as to-read Sep 18, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.
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